Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Participating in the discussion on the judgment and its impact on the CET system for admission to professional colleges, in the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Somashekar said the Government had lost three months in the matter. The all-party meeting on the issue convened for Wednesday should have been held immediately after the judgment was pronounced. The matter was as important as the Cauvery river waters dispute and H.Nagappa abduction.
Although the Chief Minister, S.M.Krishna, had said three months ago that the CET system would be safeguarded despite the judgment, no action had been taken.
Mr. Somashekar said the Government could have taken the initiative to take a delegation of chief ministers of various States to the Prime Minister seeking a constitutional amendment to safeguard the interests of meritorious and poor students. Instead, the Government entered into negotiations with the managements of private professional colleges to the neglect of interest of students.
The MLA criticised the manner in which the Government defended its case before the Supreme Court. The court went by the arguments of private managements and did not get the viewpoint of the Government, the students and their parents. That was how the 1993 judgment in the Unnikrishnan vs. the State of Andhra Pradesh case was struck down. The court came to the conclusion that only candidates from affluent families were securing free seats and those from the poor or middle-class families were getting payment seats. The Government failed to impress upon the court that even candidates from poor families had secured free seats under the earlier system.
Mr. Somashekar expressed his concern over an advertisement issued by the association of private unaided medical colleges in a newspaper announcing its own mode of selection of students. He wondered as to what purpose would be served by holding the CET, the dates for which had been announced. The Government had not notified the percentage of seats in professional courses to be filled through the CET. Although the Supreme Court judgment favoured the private college managements, it gave scope to the Government to regulate education. The Government should assert its powers and lay down guidelines for admission. It should treat those private medical colleges, which were depending on government hospitals for clinical facilities, as aided institutions. The medical college at Davangere was one of them. He alleged that the Government was unwilling to act against the private managements for its own reasons. In the case of the private engineering colleges, the Government allowed them a 15 per cent management quota (earlier 5 per cent) although the Supreme Court had said that "it could be up to 15 per cent". The medical colleges were fixing exorbitant fees. A private medical college in Kolar had fixed Rs. 21 lakh as the fees for the postgraduate course in general medicine. The students had to give an undertaking. Only those with black money could afford to pay such a hefty fee.
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