NEET 2017: Providing relief to students who applied for health, science courses for 2017-18, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court recently reworked the newly introduced clause of NEET UG-2017. This move by the HC bench consisting of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice Sunil Kotwal came after several students filed a case challenging the clause which made it mandatory for an applicant to have passed SSC or equivalent examination from an institute situated in Maharashtra besides possessing a domicile certificate. The students who challenged the decision have a domicile certificate of Maharashtra but they have completed their secondary education from outside the state.
The High Court was quoted saying, “In our view, such eleventh hour change of criteria is unjust, unreasonable and affects the rights of further study so contemplated. These rights just cannot be taken away by the state or respective authority by implementing such condition though they have power and authority to bring in and amend the policy decision. The government and other authorities need to take steps to bring such policy after giving appropriate due public notice to the concerned students, so that before joining the course or Class X within or outside the state of Maharashtra, they would be in a position to take effective decisions in advance.”
The bench added, “We are inclined to grant relief to petitioners and direct for acceptance of the application forms filed by such petitioners without insistence for SSC or equivalent examination certificate from an institution situated in the state… Such restrictive rule cannot be made applicable retrospectively to take away the accrued rights of students.”
While talking about the validity of the clause, Justice Kotwal said, “It is made clear that in view of the above, we are inclined to observe that the state government, Director of Medical and Education Research, commissioner, Common Entrance Cell, Mumbai, and Medical Council of India to take note of the situation and the order so that apart from the petitioners, all other similarly situated students would be benefited and they also will be in a position to apply, accordingly.”