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End anomalous situation: Jayalalithaa

Wednesday 17 August 2005

Special Correspondent

Chief Minister wants education restored to the State List so that a State can determine its policy The powers of the State Government should be prescribed in the legislation to ensure that the college managements followed government regulations

CHENNAI:Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday urged the Centre to bring in a legislation in Parliament to end the "anomalous situation" created by the Supreme Court’s judgment on admissions to unaided private professional colleges.

"Such legislation had been under discussion for a long while and is definitely overdue," she said in a statement.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the powers of the State Government should be prescribed in the legislation to ensure that the college managements followed government regulations on determination of merit and reservation.

Major upheaval

As the principles outlined in the Supreme Court order "constituted a major upheaval in the admission policy framework followed by most States," her Government planned to immediately file a petition in the apex court seeking a review of the order.

In view of the "huge importance of this matter to every State and the inability to find an enduring solution," she wanted education to be restored to the State List of the Constitution so that a State could determine its policy.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said she had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, "bringing to his personal notice the serious implications" of the order and requesting immediate intervention.

She said that if the issues involved were not tackled with a clear vision of the future, "there will 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. My Government will not hesitate to take this step in the interests of people of Tamil Nadu, if the situation so warrants."

She said issues relating to admissions to unaided private professional colleges had turned complex following the judgment.

The order indicated that the State Government did not have any power any more to regulate admissions to these colleges, whether they were minority or non-minority.

"This would imply that the managements of these institutions have full freedom to settle their own admission policies. This is a total negation of the drive to establish an egalitarian society assisted by affirmative action."

Social revolution

The issue could not be viewed purely as a legal one but had to be accorded the status of a social revolution for establishing a society founded on the principle of equality with the goal of social uplift, Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

"The trend of unregulated privatised higher professional education leaving it at the mercy of market forces would appear to militate against the drive for a just society that we all wish to further. There is need to establish the principles of admission to unaided private professional colleges on firm lines securing for ourselves the goal of establishing a truly egalitarian society."

Referring to Tamil Nadu’s "long history of affirmative action intended to make available real opportunity to the socially backward classes," Ms. Jayalalithaa requested the Prime Minister to take urgent action to amend the Constitution to empower the States to determine the percentage of reservation they required.

See online : The Hindu

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