Gujarat: New domicile rule causes heartburn, parents of medical aspirants threaten to move High Court




The Gujarat government had amended a rule ahead of the NEET, making state domicile mandatory for admission to MBBS, BDS and other medical courses in the state. The rule impacts 4,050 sanctioned seats for MBBS in 24 government, grant-in-aid and self-financed colleges.

With the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) results for the admissions to medical and dental colleges released earlier this week, a large number of students who have been studying in Gujarat since class VIII are finding themselves at the receiving end of a new state government rule that has made them ineligible for admission to medical courses in the state.

The Gujarat government had amended a rule ahead of the NEET, making state domicile mandatory for admission to MBBS, BDS and other medical education courses in the state. The rule impacts 4,050 sanctioned seats for MBBS in 24 government, grant-in-aid and self-financed colleges.

On Wednesday, parents of the affected students submitted a representation to the state government, calling for reconsidering the amendment.

“The recently amended admission rules have led to a sudden change in the policy and has severely affected the career of not one but many other students who have studied in Gujarat for their secondary and higher secondary education. The requirement of having a domicile for a period of 10 years in the state of Gujarat would seriously hamper the future of many students whose parents have chosen to come and serve in Gujarat,” the representation submitted by the parents to the state government states. They also said that they would challenge the rule in the Gujarat High Court if the government failed to reverse its decision.

Sources said that the state government has already filed a caveat in the High Court, requesting the court not to pass any order that might include a stay on the admission process without hearing them.

This could be in response to a lesson learnt by the state government in 2017 when students challenged the government’s amendment that made it mandatory for candidates to have completed class X and XII from Gujarat. Till 2016, this was only till class XII. Though the matter is still pending in the High Court, the court allowed candidates who had completed class XII from Gujarat but not class X to register for counselling. However, the court has not yet struck out the rule, and therefore it is applicable to candidates, this year too.

The state government has justified its decision on the latest domicile rule, saying it was amended in response to the demand raised by parents. The parents’ body has been demanding that a candidate should be eligible for medical seats only if he/she has lived in Gujarat for at least 10 years. The outfit has also filed a similar caveat in the High Court, making them a party in the case.

“Previous year too, there was this demand from the parents’ body. They have presented data of admission rules of several other states where such a rule of a domicile exists. So, their demand was if other states can then why not Gujarat give admission to candidates who have lived in the state for at least 10 years,” a senior source in the Admission Committee for Professional Undergraduate Medical Educational Courses (ACPUGMEC), the nodal agency conducting admissions in Gujarat, said.

Another reason cited by the government is “misuse of lenient admission rules by coaching centres” across the country and especially from Gujarat. They have been blamed for luring candidates from other states, stating that the admission process is simple in Gujarat and assuring them admissions.

While this rule will not only bar students from other states but those staying in Gujarat for even a day less than 10 years for applying to MBBS seats in the state. A Gujarati student who has been, for instance, studying outside till class IX will also be affected by the new rule.

Health Commissioner Jayanti Ravi, who is also the chairman of Admission Committee for Professional Undergraduate Medical Educational Courses (ACPUGMEC), said, “It is a decision of the state government and I have nothing to say on it… There are no chances of re-considering this decision at the moment.” Parents who chose to take up jobs in Gujarat and have settled here since years now have been ruing that it is not justified on the part of the state government to suddenly bring in such an amendment. They have complained that the amendment was notified on May 4,2018 hardly two days before the exam.

Apart from the domicile rule, the government this year allowed overseas citizens of India (OCI) to apply under the general category. Earlier, they could only apply under the NRI category. “Last year, there were candidates who by birth were citizens of other countries, but originally Indians and also studying in Gujarat or any other state for 10-12 years but were forced to pay high fees under the NRI seats. Based on this demand, this has been changed,” a senior official said.


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