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NEET admissions in Kerala: private college seeks the help of SC to quash the Kerala Government’s nativity rules

Published On 23/05/2018

An unaided private self-financing medical college in Kerala named Kunhitharuvai Memorial Charitable Trust (KMCT) Medical College, filed a petition against Kerala Government’s nativity rules which restrict even the private medical colleges of the state from admitting candidates who are not of Kerala domicile or have not completed their schooling from Kerala

Petitioners' demand

The petition asserts that every private self-financing institution in the state must have the right to choose its candidates from an All over the India.  Since their only source of fund generation is the fees collected from students and do not rely on any state funding. The petition argues that numerous seats in the undergraduate medical courses offered by the private colleges are not filled due to this rule Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan and advocate Y Shiva Santosh, appearing on the behalf of the petitioners, argued, “The nativity criterion is violation of the Constitution’s Article 14 as it is manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational, and discriminatory and classifies unreasonably.”

What the nativity rules are all about

According to this rule, Kerala divides candidates in three categories, namely Keralite, Non-Keralite I and Non-Keralite II. The same is explained under Clause 6.1 of the Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical Entrance (KEAM) Prospectus.

Keralite category refers to candidates who are of Kerala origin.

Non-Keralite I category includes candidates who are not of Kerala origin but have completed Class 12 from Kerala and have one of the parents belonging to Government of India or Defense Service posted in Kerala or have completed Class 12 from Kerala and have one of the parents serving/having served the Government of Kerala for a minimum of two years or have been a resident of Kerala for at least 5 years including the Class 12 study period or have completed Classes 8 to 12 in Kerala.

Non-Keralite II category involves candidates who are neither of Kerala origin nor fulfil the nativity criteria of Non-Keralite I category. Candidates who come under this category are not permitted to apply for medical and allied courses, including MBBS or postgraduate medical courses in the state of Kerala, in either the private or government medical colleges.

The petition argues that numerous seats in the undergraduate medical courses offered by the private colleges are not filled due to this rule. According to the existing counselling practice under NEET UG, the examination governing admissions to MBBS, BDS, Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and other allied medical courses at undergraduate level, 15% of the seats in Government medical colleges and 50% of the seats, which include 15% NRI seats, in private medical colleges should be made available for admissions to candidates from across India.

As per the NEET 2017 data, in Kerala a total of 1044 MBBS seats are available for admissions in nine Government medical colleges and a total of 2050 seats are available in 18 self-financing medical colleges. However, out of the 18 private medical colleges in Kerala, only two which come under the category of ‘Government Controlled Self-financing Medical College’ and one which comes under the category of ‘Private Self-Financing Medical College’, are allowed to admit candidates from outside Kerala as per the general NEET counselling rules. Even in these, only 35% of the seats are available for the Management Quota in which non-Keralites can join, while the 15% NRI seats also require candidates to be of Kerala origin or adhering to the rules of the ‘Non-Keralite I’ category. The remaining 50% seats can only be filled by candidates from Kerala or those fulfilling the requirements of the ‘Non-Keralite I’ category.

To resolve this issue the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre, the State of Kerala and the Medical Council of India (MCI), on May 21, 2018, seeking their responses to the respective Petition.A vacation Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha asked the concerned bodies to submit their responses before the next hearing scheduled for May 28, 2018.