The order passed Monday by an apex court bench of Justice Anil Dave and Justice Dipak Misra pulled up the state government for arbitrarily cancelling admissions already granted to students to post-graduate medical courses through National Entrance Eligibility Test (NEET).
The students had approached the apex court for relief in what is being referred to as the 'post-graduate entrance scam'. While underlining the chaotic, almost cynical manner in which the state government cancelled the admissions, the apex court noted: "The present litigation exposits a sad, sad scenario.
It is sad because a chaos has crept in the lives of some students and it is further sad as the State of Goa and its functionaries have allowed ingress of systemic anarchy throwing propriety to the winds possibly harbouring the attitude of utter indifference and nurturing an incurable propensity to pave the path of deviancy."
It also quoted Shakespeare's "Othello" to describe the accentuation of levels of chaos in government administration in Goa. "Shakespeare in 'Othello' has written 'Chaos is come again'," the order reads.
The order has become fodder for the opposition that has asked for the health minister's resignation and a lokayukta probe in denial of admission to meritorious students and allowing others to grab seats through the back door. "There has to be a lokayukta probe. The health minister, chief minister and the advocate general have denied genuine students admissions to the PG course.
What were the exact reasons, who were the students favoured and for what consideration. Only a criminal probe will reveal this," Congress spokesperson Sudip Tamhankar said Tuesday, demanding that the state government should pay costs incurred by the young medical students who had to knock the apex court's doors against an "obviously draconian order".
Regardless of political opportunism, the SC order itself appears to indict Goa on counts of abuse of power and indulging in subterfuges using the 19th century British prime minister's quote for justification. "It is the sacrosanct duty of the government to follow the law and the pronouncements of the court and not to take recourse to such subterfuges.
The government should have reminded itself of the saying of Benjamin Disraeli: 'I repeat - that all power is a trust - that we are accountable for its exercise - that, from the people and for the people, all springs, and all must exist'."
The court also said that by passing the illegal order, the government's action amounted to "crucifixion of the fate of the candidates protected by this court's verdict.
Such an action is absolutely impermissible". "This is perhaps the harshest judgment ever delivered against the Goa government.
It is a matter of shame for the chief minister, who has been talking about good governance from the rooftops," NCP chief spokesperson Trajano D'Mello told IANS.
In his first reaction to the issue after the SC judgment, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar blamed the Medical Council of India (MCI) for the controversy.
"Unnecessary complication arises because of the MCI," Parrikar said at an official function.