Agreement on seat-sharing

Published : Sep 24, 2004 00:00 IST

THE Karnataka government and the managements of private professional colleges have reached an agreement on the sharing of seats, bringing to an end one of the most contentious and bitter seat-selection processes for the undergraduate courses in medical, dental and engineering colleges. The compromise, which was approved by the Supreme Court on September 3, will be applicable only for the 2004-05 academic year.

Under the compromise, seat-sharing in the medical and dental streams in private colleges will be in the 60:40 ratio. The government will allot 60 per cent of seats on the basis of the Common Entrance Test (CET) ranking and the managements the rest on the basis of the candidates' order of merit in either the CET or the test conducted by the Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges in Karnataka. In the engineering colleges, seats will be shared in the 75:25 ratio, and of the government's quota 10 per cent will be earmarked for students from outside Karnataka.

Earlier this year, the government, citing social obligations, went to the Supreme Court seeking a 75:25 seat-sharing formula, and also passed the Karnataka Selection of Candidates for Admission to Medical, Dental and Engineering Courses (Special Provisions) Act, 2004. The managements, especially those running medical and dental colleges, would not budge from the 50:50 formula.

Right up to August 19, the CET Cell allotted seats in the 75:25 ratio. The managements allotted seats on a 50:50 basis. The compromise will mean that 15 per cent of the candidates who had got admission via the government quota in the medical and dental streams will have to forfeit their seats. Ten per cent of students admitted to the management quota will also have to do so.

There will be a three-tier fee structure. For the medical stream, under the 60 per cent government quota the annual fees for 50 per cent of the students (from poor families) will be Rs.35,000, and the other 50 per cent will pay Rs.1.65 lakhs. For the management and Non-Resident Indian (NRI) quota seats, the fees will be Rs.3.7 lakhs.

In the dental stream, the fees for 50 per cent of seats under the government quota (of poor students) will be Rs.25,000; for the other 50 per cent it will be Rs.1.1 lakhs. Management quota students will pay Rs.2.75 lakhs.

For engineering courses, 30 per cent of all students (from poor families) will pay Rs.15,000, 35 per cent will pay Rs.50,000, non-Karnataka students will pay Rs.90,000, and those securing admission through the managements will pay Rs.1 lakh.

The compromise has raised some legal questions. Does the three-tier fee structure violate the T.M.A. Pai judgment, which ruled that the fee structure should be uniform?

The fee structure has also caused other problems. Said D. P. Nagaraj, director, R. V. Institutions: "When we (management) allotted dental seats we asked the candidates to give an undertaking that they would agree to a change in fees subject to a maximum of Rs.2.75 lakhs. Now, the government has fixed a fee of Rs.3.15 lakhs. Which student will now pay the difference?" Other managements are hoping to recover the amount by way of miscellaneous fees.

Fresh counselling and seat-selection at the CET Cell the fourth time that it will be undertaken is expected to start from September 10.

Ravi Sharma
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