NEET 2016: In what comes as a major relief to the students with Maharashtra domicile is that the Bombay High Court has refused to interfere in the domicile rules of the State for admissions to private medical and dental colleges. Division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and MS Sonak J, while hearing the bunch of petitions seeking a stay on the domicile rules of the Maharashtra took the decision not to interfere in the domicile rules brought under Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Fees) Act in August this year.
In literal terms, the meaning of the decision thus taken is that the private medical colleges would not be able to conduct a separate admission process. In other words, the Centralised Admission Process, which includes the domicile rule, will be the only admission process to be followed this year. The bench also rejected the arguments of the minority institutions that these rules (domicile) were not applicable to them.
Students from outside the state now only have the option of the 15% seats that were made available after the state government had amended its rules in September this year to include them in the ‘institutional quota’ which was only meant for NRI students earlier. Senior Counsel Vineet Naik, appearing for an association of private medical colleges, had argued that such colleges have a right to conduct their own admission process under the NEET.
Dismissing the arguments made by the petitioners, Acting Advocate General Rohit Deo said, “We are accountable to the students of Maharashtra not the petitioners. They are giving the impression that this 15% [quota] available for outside students is their right but the truth is that it is a shackle put on the state by the apex court on the state’s right to provide such restrictions!”
The copy of the order is yet to be uploaded, this matter will now be listed for final hearing in three weeks. A Domicile Certificate is a key document that enables its holder to prove that he/she is a resident of the State, either by birth or has been living in the State for more than 15 years, as in the case of Maharashtra.
More than 20,000 students had registered for the centralised admission process through NEET for admissions to 1,675 seats in deemed institutes in Maharashtra. The selection list was supposed to be published by September 3, but it was stayed by the High Court till it decides on those petitions.
The petitioners have challenged the rules that allow the benefit of reservation only to local students, questioning how such domicile rules could be applied in private unaided colleges.