The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eye on ‘careers’, HC treads caution path

Cuttack, March 18: In a test case about the power of the state to regulate admissions in professional educational institutions, Orissa High Court has opted to proceed with caution when a writ petition sought a stay on the provisions of an ordinance promulgated by the state government recently.

The court followed the lead of state counsel J.M. Mohanty who said the “career of many students will be in jeopardy” if the stay is granted at this stage as “various students had purchased the brochures and filled up forms for appearing in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).”

Orissa Management Colleges Association (OMCA) had filed the petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Orissa Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Ordinance, 2007, which was enforced on March 2.

Senior advocate Gangadhar Rath, the arguing counsel for OMCA, had asked for a stay on the provisions of the ordinance on the ground that they violated the provisions of the Constitution and directions given in several judgments of the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the legislature “lacks competence” to legislate on “coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific technical institutions”, the petitioner counsel had argued.

The two-judge bench of Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly and Justice N. Prusty made it clear that “at present, the examination may be held and result may be published, but the admission on the basis of the result under section 9 (reservation of seats) of the said ordinance may not be made without leave of the court”.

“This, however, shall not prevent the government from admitting the students in their own institutions on the basis of the aforesaid result,” the court further clarified in its order on Friday.

The high court, however, said that “considering the question of larger public interest, we are not inclined to exercise our jurisdiction for staying the examination” and assured to “try to decide the controversy raised in the writ petition before June 30, 2007”, the date scheduled for publication of JEE results.

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