In a majority 2-1 verdict, the SC held that the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) violated the rights of state and private institutions.
But Justice AR Dave, who disagreed with Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Vikramjit Sen, approved of the MCI’s plea that the MCI’s policy was “legal” and would put an end to the corrupt practice of undeserving students getting admission by paying huge capitation fees or making donations.
Reacting to the verdict, MCI counsel Nidhesh Gupta said, “The SC has virtually legalised capitation fee and profiteering because it suggests candidates with less merit can be taken in.”
Meanwhile, CJI Kabir was caught unawares when informed that an article by SC advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan — uploaded on a website two hours before the verdict — had leaked the judgment and even mentioned that Justice Dave’s would be the dissenting vote.
The article talked about “gossip” within court circles that the appeals by private colleges against the NEET would be allowed.
When questioned about the ‘leak’, Justice Kabir said he was surprised and shocked. “What can I say about it?” he said.
The outgoing CJI was on his way to his farewell party when media persons questioned him.
About the verdict, MCI counsel Nidhesh Gupta further added: “The judgment records that merit is not marks alone, and human sympathies are equally important. This means an educational institution can reject a candidate with higher marks and take a candidate with less marks if the latter conforms to its beliefs.”