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President urged to seek review of SC judgment

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI JULY 23. The former Karnataka Chief Minister, M. Veerappa Moily, has urged the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to make a reference to the Supreme Court for the constitution of a larger bench to consider the October 2002 11-judge judgment of the apex court regarding the admission and fee structure pattern of higher education.

Mr. Moily, architect of the Common Entrance Test (CET) for medical, dental and engineering colleges in the State, said the judgment in the T.M.A. Pai case has "opened up a plethora of different interpretations by High Courts and governments'' resulting in uncertainty both in the policy of admission and fee structure.

In a 14-page memorandum submitted to the President on Tuesday evening, he said the interest of students and managements at large would be better served by restoring status quo under the Unnikrishnan judgment till a final view was taken by a larger bench of the Supreme Court.

He urged the President to make a reference under Article 143 of the Constitution to the apex court to constitute a 13-judge bench to consider the admission and fee structure pattern of higher education, including professional education, seeking their advice and opinion on two points.

One, to reconsider with modification the scheme evolved by the Unnikrishnan judgment for regulating admissions to professional and technical institutions throughout the country. Second, to evolve a scheme with regard to admissions and fees in technical and professional institutions, which would satisfy the requirements of equity, equality of opportunity, rationality and social justice, that can be applied to regulate institutions run in the public and private sectors.

Speaking to newspersons today, Mr. Moily said Mr. Kalam heard his request with concern and had appreciated the points stressed by him both in the petition and conveyed in person.

Mr. Moily said health and education were considered issues of public good and quoted from an UNDP publication about the risks leaving higher education to the free market. He said that having been responsible for introducing the CET as a "transparent and objective'' system which stood the test of time, he was concerned over the present situation. The efficacy of CET system, he said, had resulted in it being replicated by other States. He said even China had sent a team to study it.

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