NEET row exposes untidy mindset of parivartankars

By Prabhakar Timble
03 September 2013 08:16 IST

“The present litigation exposits a sad scenario……….it is further sad because the State of Goa and its functionaries have allowed ingress of systematic anarchy throwing propriety to the winds possibly harboring the attitude of utter indifference and nurturing an incurable propensity to deviancy”. These observations of the Supreme Court (Aneesh D. Lawande v/s State of Goa) tears open the mindset of the government and all its instrumentalities laying nude that the State suffers from a chronic disorder deriving pleasure through the abuse of power and perverse executive decisions.

No sooner the NEET judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court on 18th July; the Goa government directed the Dean of Goa Medical College to cancel the admissions given to students admitted as per NEET merit rankings. The Supreme Court calls this as “infantile wisdom and depraved sense of egocentric knowledge and further castigates that this is absence of common sense of an uncommon degree”.  It was quite apparent for any person using common sense that the government is acting wicked and obstinate. The top law officer and the political head of the Executive probably thought otherwise. It was clear that the agenda was to benefit defined individuals by creating a chaotic situation for the students who were registered as per the NEET rankings.

Impermissible & Capricious

Any government policy should not be with individuals or a group of specific persons in mind. Policies and executive orders formulated to benefit or eject individuals are impermissible.  The strictures of the Supreme Court are a strong reminder to the government that the power is a trust and the same has to be exercised with accountability.

Though the Supreme Court has resolved the crisis, the students cannot get complete justice in respect of the freedom of choice of post-graduate courses. Admissions for the PG programmes involve two rounds of counseling. The second round of counseling provides an opportunity for changing the course options depending on the vacancies from the all-India quota and also from the State quota due to cancellation of registrations. These options are closed due to the litigation and the recording in the court verdict that the vacancies would be filled from the internal aggregate marks merit list. This was felt necessary to provide opportunity to the students already registered from the internal marks merit list in view of the bungling by the state government. The interim order of the Goa High Court on a petition from those who failed to qualify under NEET but were eligible under the internal merit of aggregate marks created this anomaly. No motives can be attributed to the High Court as it amounts to contempt, but what motivated the interim order is beyond comprehension. The Supreme Court has also rightly observed that the Goa High Court should not have entertained the petition and facilitated the chaos when the matter was sub-judice before the Supreme Court.

Annoying trends

The Goa government and its legal officers should draw the lesson from the sharp strictures.  The “entry toll” imposed by the government actually amounts to an inter-state entry tax. The pith and substance of such taxation shows it to be a colorable exercise of power which is constitutionally impermissible. The government many times plays with the retirement age of certain posts to benefit or harm certain individuals. There has been a public outcry on transfers of government officers and particularly primary school teachers flouting the fundamental norms. In matters of land acquisition, there are instances of the new government issuing fresh notifications keeping out the chunk of land belonging to specific sections or groups, thereby giving the benefit of not acquiring certain lands. For every new project, the government proposes fresh land acquisition creating avoidable tension despite the fact that the government has huge areas of already acquired land lying completely idle and unutilized.  The memories of the government creating hurdles for elections to the Mayor of the City Corporation of Panaji are fresh. The clumsy and inept handling of the appointment of the State Information Commission for the third time in succession shows the disrespect and contempt with which the law is held by the government and its top legal brass. It is maddening that the government forces the citizens to knock the Courts for justice and restoration of respect to law by dealing in the most brazen fashion.

According to the Supreme Court, the somersault by the Goa government in the matter of PG admissions to medicine is “perplexing and shows lack of prudence and recourse to subterfuge”. The judgement is an additional commentary on the mindset of the ‘parivartan’ council of governors. It is also an indicator that the top legal advisors and ‘respectable’ legal officers who are professionally bound to defend law and guide the government to conduct its affairs within the parameters of law are throwing the law to the winds. The citizens are left to the mercy of the Courts and the unaffordable fees of the lawyers. The legal luminaries for the government are anyway paid through public exchequer, which kitty comes from the citizens themselves. It is an irony that the citizens pay for the best legal brains to defend the impermissible, perverse and unconstitutional acts of the government.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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