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TN Govt clears air on CET, says all students must take test

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 28 (UNI) In a volte face, the Tamil Nadu Government today announced all students aspiring for admission to professional courses for the academic year 2006 have to take the Common Entrance Test (CET) scheduled for May 13 and 14.

Going back on its decision to do away with the CET in respect of state board students, the government said the test was applicable to all students including those belonging to the state board. The pattern will be similar to those held in previous years.

An official release here said the government had instructed the Anna University to conduct the CET. With the dates for test fixed as May 13 and 14, counselling and commencement of classes will be on schedule, it said.

Whiel the government issued an order on June nine last year to abolish the CET for the year 2005, it came out with a special law this year to do away with the CET in respect of state board students.

However, both the Government order and the legislation could not stand the scrutiny of law.

Madras High Court refused to uphold last year's government order on legal grounds and in the absence of stay on the operation of the order by the Supreme Court, the government had no option but to hold CET for academic year 2005.

This year too, the high court, in its order dated February 27, 2006, held the state had no legal competence to bring in an act to abolish CET only in respect of state board students and directed it to start the process of holding the test for students of all the boards.

The government came out with a legislation in a bid to introduce a new admission system to professional courses, under which the Plus Two examination conducted by the state board could itself serve as an entrance test for getting admission to professional courses. But this was not acceptable to the courts. Last year, the situation was even worse as the government came out with an order abolishing CET after Anna University conducted the entrance test and released the rank list.

In the backdrop of series of agitations by the Pattali Makkal Katchi and demands from the DMK, the main opposition party, the government cancelled the CET and decided to provide admission to students based on Plus Two marks. The affected students petitioned the court and obtained relief.

The CET was in vogue in the state for more than two decades, since it was introduced by former chief minister M G Ramachandran in the 1980s.

While there was not much competition for engineering seats with the mushrooming of colleges, the competition had been stiff for medical seats. Of about six lakh students, only about 1,200 get selected for Medicine.

The government moved the Supreme Court with a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the high court order. But the Apex Court, yesterday, refused to stay the operation of order while posting the case to April 13 for further hearing. In this backdrop, the government, to avoid anxiety among students and parents on admission policy for the academic year 2006 and taking note of the pendency of the SLP, has finalised a tentative programme for holding CET for this year.

''The system to be followed eventually in admissions to professional courses will be determined on the basis of the decision of the Supreme Court,'' it said adding pending finality, the government decided on the tentative programme for CET this year The decision should come as a relief to the Plus Two students who had completed their examinations last week, but were in great dilemma on whether to prepare for CET in the absence of a clear picture.

The government sought to do away with the CET in respect of state board students as it considered that admission to professional courses based on Plus Two marks would help place rural students on a real equal footing with those who had better access to special coaching facilities in urban areas.


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