Chennai: Coming down heavily on the Tamil Nadu government for "diluting" eligibility norms for admission to engineering colleges, the Madras High Court on Friday said it was perhaps being done to benefit private institutions instead of students from backward classes and the rural areas.
In his order on a petition filed by Higher Education Secretary to quash a notification by the All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) raising minimum marks for admission to the open category students to 50 per cent, Justice V Ramasubramanian said "the attempt at diluting the standards will eventually prove only to be injurious to poor students hailing from marginalized and socially backward sections of the society."
Referring to the large number of unfilled seats in self financing colleges, the Judge said "the vacancy position in self financing colleges is alarming, but it is no ground for the state to reduce the norms."
Stating that self financing engineering colleges have been resisting government control, he said "the state has no obligation to help these self-financing institutions to have all their seats filled up, and that too, by diluting the eligibility criteria."
Citing the Adam Smith demand-and-supply theory, the Judge said the fact that 32,537 seats remained vacant in the year 2010-11 in self-financing colleges should have resulted in reduction in fees.
"Simple law of demand and supply would mandate that these colleges reduce the fee charged, so as to attract more people and fill up the vacant seats. They do not do that. But, the state has come up with a proposal to reduce the eligibility criteria, defying the age old theory of economics," he said.
The petition claimed that the revised eligibility criteria, currently it is 45 per cent for BC students and 35 per cent for SC/ST students, would deprive reserved category candidates of securing admission in engineering colleges.
Pointing out that a Judge of the High Court had dismissed a petition by the government questioning the state`s propriety to challenge standards laid down by an expert body like the AICTE, the Judge said while the AICTE had been diluting the minimum requirement criterion since 1992, only to increase it last year, the state government had been reducing it from 70% to just pass between 1992 and 2010.