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High Court declines to stay K.T. Thomas panel directive

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, JUNE 10 . The Kerala High Court today declined to stay the K.T. Thomas Committee's directive to self-financing medical college managements to extend the date of receipt of applications for the common entrance test and also to postpone the examination scheduled for June 13.

Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair, while admitting a writ petition filed by the Association of Kerala Self-financing Medical, Dental, Ayurveda and Siddha Colleges, issued notice to the State Government and the Committee. While issuing the directive, the Committee had pointed out that college managements had unilaterally proposed very high fees in their prospectus while inviting applications for the seats. The Committee had fixed a tuition fee of Rs.1.13 lakhs for MBBS course and Rs.76,000 for BDS course a year.

The Committee had said in its order that when its directives were published, a lot of students who felt that they could afford to pay the fee had approached the managements for getting application forms. But, the managements had rejected their applications. It was in the background that the Committee issued the directive, which came on complaints filed by some students.

The Committee had said the Supreme Court had directed that the entrance examination should be conducted under the supervision of the Committee. The Committee was of the view that the last date indicated by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for publishing the result of the examination did not intend to be used for violating the spirit of the Supreme Court directive that the Committee should ensure fairness and transparency of the entrance test conducted by the Association. Therefore, the Committee had asked the Association to receive applications till July 20, 2004.

According to the petitioner, the Committee had no power to issue such a directive. Besides, the change of dates for the examination could be made only at the risk of losing recognition of the institutions because the Dental Council and the Medical Council had already fixed a date for the examinations. In fact, there was no Supreme Court directive to the Committee on postponement of the examinations, the petitioner said.

When the petition came up, the Advocate General, M. Ratna Singh, submitted that the Government agreed with the directive of the Committee.

The court also admitted a writ petition filed by three students seeking to implement the Committee's directive for postponing the date of receiving applications. The court also asked all the respondents in the writ petitions to file counter-affidavits in response to the writ petitions. The two writ petitions had been posted to June 18 for further hearing.

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