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Puducherry: 99.3% NEET scorer in legal trouble over nativity claim

According to admission norms, a student cannot claim nativity in more than one state in an academic year while applying for admission to medical colleges.

Puducherry: 99.3% NEET scorer in legal trouble over nativity claim
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NEW DELHI: A 21-year-old medical student of the prestigious JIPMER in Puducherry has found himself embroiled in a legal battle over his claim of nativity -- an issue that has triggered a wider debate and calls for proper observance of admission norms.

Najih Khalid scored 99.30 percentile in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) last year and bagged admission in the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) under the residency quota, but his admission was challenged soon after.

Another medical student, 18-year-old Saminathan S, alleged that Khalid had claimed nativity in Puducherry as well as Kerala and moved the Madras High Court in November last year seeking cancellation of his admission.

Khalid has denied any wrongdoing on his part.

According to admission norms, a student cannot claim nativity in more than one state in an academic year while applying for admission to medical colleges.

But many students take advantage of varying nativity norms in different states and apply for admission in multiple states to ''grab the best opportunity'', claimed an organisation fighting for the cause of students of the Union Territory of Puducherry.

''This nativity duplicity is quite frequent in many other states, particularly in bordering areas.... Students should be aware that it can lead to a disaster in their career,'' said M Narayanasamy, the president of the Puducherry UT All CENTAC Students Parents Association.

Petitioner Saminathan, who secured a seat in the Karaikal campus of JIPMER, which is considered secondary to the Puducherry centre, demanded that Khalid's admission be cancelled because he misled the authorities by filing a false affidavit.

Saminathan also demanded his transfer to the Puducherry campus on the seat currently occupied by Khalid.

The high court has issued notices to the Director of Medical Education (DME) of Puducherry, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Khalid and other parties concerned.

Though Khalid denied any wrongdoing, the report submitted by the DME confirmed that he had claimed nativity in Kerala as well in the 2022-23 academic session.

The high court then asked the DME of Puducherry to give its opinion. On January 24, 2023, during the hearing, the DME said the seats of the two students should be interchanged. The court expressed its anger and asked the lawyer appearing for the DME to file an affidavit.

On February 6, the DME in an affidavit told the court that the Union Health Ministry is empowered to take action in this case and it had been informed of the matter.

DGHS, in its affidavit, said the last date for admission was December 21. ''It is therefore prayed that this honourable court may be pleased to pass any order to fit in the circumstances of the case and thus render justice,'' it said in the affidavit.

The court has reserved its judgment.

The challenge before the authorities is that they can discharge Khalid but cannot fill the seat because admission schedules are over and they are mandated by the Supreme Court order.

Saminathan's advocate M Ravi argued that the authorities concerned took action against two candidates from a state government-run college and a private medical college for similar violations, but kept quiet about Khalid's case in JIPMER, which is run by the central government.

''The norm has to be respected and a message should go to all medical aspirants that they should not mislead the authorities about their nativity, else they will spoil their career," Ravi said.

He added, ''Dual nativity or residency has been a contentious issue in medical admissions since states have a percentage of share in seat allocation for local students in central government-run institutions.'' Due to different residency norms in different states, many candidates get eligible for nativity in more than one state.

For instance, to claim residency in Kerala, a candidate needs to complete the last five years of studies with the 12th examination from the state among other conditions.

However, in Puducherry, the proof of five years of residency from the parents of candidates is one of the conditions to get a residence certificate from the local authorities.

''Many candidates can claim residency in both states because their parents might stay in Puducherry but send their kids to study in Kerala or Andhra Pradesh since some geographical portions of the UT fall in these two states. This nativity duplicity is quite frequent in bordering areas of many other states,'' said M Narayanasamy of the NGO fighting for the cause of students of Puducherry.

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