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TN to file review petition on quota

August 16, 2005 16:37 IST

Tamil Nadu government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its seven judge bench order that states have no right to appropriate seats as their quota in professional private colleges as well as unaided and aided minority institutions, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, she said her government would not hesitate to "take over" administration of higher professional education to "firmly establish the principles of social justice."

She said the principles outlined in the apex court order constituted a "major upheaval" in the admission policy framework followed by most states.

"State governments have to ensure that there is no slackening in the drive to create an egalitarian society. My government proposes to immediately seek a review of the order by filing a review petition in the Supreme Court," she said.

"If we are unable to tackle the issues involved with lucidity and a clear vision of the future, there would be no choice for the state government but to take over the entire administration of higher professional education and even the necessary assets thereon so that the principles of social justice can be firmly established," she said.

She demanded that Parliament enact a law urgently to put an end to the "anomalous" situation that had been created by the order.

Jayalalithaa said the Centre should immediately review the position arising out of the order and address the issues by bringing forth the necessary legislation in Parliament.

She said she wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, bringing to his personal notice the "serious implications" of the order and requesting his urgent intervention on the issue.

"A simple reading of the order indicated that the state government did not have any more power to regulate the admissions into unaided private professional colleges, whether minority or non-minority, implying that the managements of these institutions had full freedom to settle their own admission policies," she said.

"This is a total negation of the drive to establish an egalitarian society assisted by affirmative action," she said.

This could not be viewed purely as a legal issue, she said.

The trend of unregulated privatised higher professional education at the "mercy of market forces", would appear to "militate against the drive for a just society", she said, adding that there was a need to establish the principles of admission into unaided private professional colleges on firm lines.

The order had done away with the practice of a government allocation in the seats in such colleges and the formulation of a policy to regulate admissions within this allocation, she said.

Jayalalithaa said the Constitution gave Parliament the powers to legislate on issues relating to co-ordination and determination of standards in institution of higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.

"It is high time that a law is brought forward urgently in Parliament putting an end to the anomalous situation that has been created. In this legislation, it is necessary to prescribe the power of the state governments to ensure that the managements of the unaided private professional colleges follow the regulations set forth by the state government on issues relating to determination of merit and reservation," she said.

Such legislation had been under discussion for a long while and was definitely 'overdue', she said, adding that it would also enable getting over the problems encountered in prescribing standards for admission.

"Given the huge importance of this matter to every state and the inability to find an enduring solution, it is high time that education was restored to the State List in the Constitution so that a state could determine its own policy with clarity," she said.

She also wanted a Constitutional Amendment to 'empower' the states to determine the percentage of reservation according to their requirements.

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