The prestigious Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district has this year decided to leave 99 out of its 100 MBBS seats vacant this year in a bid to seek rights to select NEET-qualified students through its own counselling. Currently, the committees set up by the centre and the state governments through centralised counselling.
The one student who has been admitted is a soldier’s son, who was nominated by the centre for MBBS.
The students are selected from all over the country, especially those with ‘exceptional social concern’. Many students are from a poor background from remote pockets of India. After their course, they return to their villages to sever these areas. “We accept NEET. As a minority institution we believe we have the right to choose among qualified candidates fulfilling our vision,” said Dr Anna Pulimood, the Principal, while speaking to NDTV.
The college says it caters to 180 mission hospitals in rural and remote areas across the country where on completion of the course, doctors are required to serve for two years on low salary.
Last year, the Supreme Court exempted the college and it had admitted students through its own counselling. CMC authorities say the top court is likely to give its verdict in October and if the court permits the remaining seats would be filled.
“The Council was perturbed by the position taken by the MCI and the Government of India to whittle down or obliterate the benefit of Article 30 (1) to a proven institution,” said senior advocate Krishna Srinivasan, while speaking to The Hindu.
Article 30(1) guarantees minorities, both religious and linguistic, the right “to establish and administer educational institutions” of their choice.
CMC Vellore is a self-funded institution and officials say it collects fees much lower than government medical colleges – an annual fee of Rs. 3000 for MBBS.