The Allahabad High Court Tuesday quashed the UP Government’s decision to admit students to AYUSH undergraduate courses in different colleges of the state through a merit list prepared on the basis of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). The AYUSH course includes within its ambit Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy.
“In view of the aforesaid discussions, it is apparently clear that the State Government while taking the impugned decision has not taken into account various relevant factors which makes the impugned decision vulnerable and not in conformity with the requirement of constitutional principles of reasonableness and fairness in the State actions enunciated under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Further, the impugned decision has clearly resulted in depriving the petitioners and various other like candidates/students from exercising their right to participate in selection for admission to various AYUSH Under Graduate Courses,” Justice D.K. Upadhyaya observed, while directing the State to conduct a Common Entrance Test for admissions to the AYUSH undergraduate courses, and complete the process of admission by 30 September.
The Court was hearing a Petition challenging the Government Order issued on 10 July, contending that the G.O. placed at a disadvantage several students who had not appeared for NEET for the reason that they did not intended to take admissions in the medical colleges offering under-graduate courses in Allopathic system of medicine.
The Petitioners submitted that neither the CBSE advertisement for conducting NEET, nor the Information Bulletin for the purpose notified that the admission to AYUSH undergraduate courses would be conducted through the merit list based on NEET. They further pointed out that the State had also failed to communicate its intention to conduct the admissions on the basis of NEET, and that the G.O. was issued long after the declaration of results of the all-India examination.
At the outset, the Court clarified that it was concerned with the manner and the background of the impugned decision, and not the number of students who stand deprived of their right of participation in the selection process.
“Admission to any course of study including vocational courses or a course leading to award of degree in Indian Systems of Medicine may not be a right vested in any student or candidate, however, in case any admission process is intimated or taken recourse to by the authorities of the State Government, then it becomes right of all eligible candidates to participate in the same,” it thereafter observed.
Justice Upadhyaya further refused to accept the contention that it would be difficult to conduct the Common Entrance Test by the cut-off date as prescribed under the Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standards of Education in Indian Medicine) Regulations, 2016.
To this end, it made reference to the Combined Pre-AYUSH Test (CPAT) 2016 conducted by Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi, noting that the entire process had taken 46 days. It pointed out that the Court was providing the State with a period of 65 days to complete the process, a feat which seemed achievable in light of the precedent set by CPAT.
Besides, it also suggested that the period for registration of online applications can be reduced by 10 days, observing, “In any case, if the State Government has the will to conduct Common Entrance Test, in my opinion, it does not lack resources to get it completed and make admission based on such test before the cutoff date i.e. before 30.09.2017.”