SC seeks Centre, Kerala reply on plea against nativity criterion

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response from the Centre, Kerala and the MCI on a medical college plea seeking direction to provide for the option of filling up seats through central counselling. It also asked to quash a Kerala government decision fixing a nativity criterion for admission.

A bench, headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, asked the Central and state governments, the Medical Council of India and the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations to file their response and posted the matter for May 28.

The plea, filed by Kunhitharuvai Memorial Charitable Trust Medical College, sought that private self-financing institutions be enabled to access central counselling and fill up seats from an all-India pool of students from this academic year.

It also asked to strike down the Kerala government decision fixing a nativity criterion for admission in Under Graduate and Post Graduate courses, which it said is “discriminatory”.

The institution also said that due to the nativity criteria, it has to “fill its seats through state counselling and is unable to access central counselling which hinges on accessing and admitting an all-India pool of students”.

“This nativity criterion is violative of the Constitution’s Article 14 as it is manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational, discriminatory, and classifies unreasonably,” argued senior advocate Jayant Bhushan and advocate Y. Shiva Santosh, appearing for the medical college, which is an unaided minority institute.

“The reach of private unaided self-financing institutions some of which additionally enjoy the status of a minority institution under Article 30(1) of the Constitution suffers on account of being unable to take the option of centralised counselling and thereby admit students from an all-India pool, on account of the nativity criterion imposed by the state,” added the plea.

Kerala does not financially support the private self-financing institutions in any manner whatsoever and this sort of “nationalising” the seats by restricting the eligible candidates to a state quota and not allowing the colleges to access an all-India pool of students is “unreasonable state action”, it added.

It submitted that every private self-financing institution must have the right to choose its intake from an all-India pool of applications as they function from funds generated from fees alone and do not rely on state funding in any manner.

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