The Supreme Court's judgment against the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) has left Punjab in a catch-22 situation. There is no clarity on whether the state will conduct its own medical entrance test or consider the NEET merit for admissions for the upcoming session in medical colleges of the state.
The apex court had on Thursday quashed the Medical Council of India's (MCI) notification about holding a common entrance test for admission to MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges. In a 2-1 verdict, the SC held that the NEET violated the rights of states and private institutions.
The state government had decided to fill all undergraduate and postgraduate (PG) seats as per the NEET merit. The counselling for PG courses started on July 17 and some provisional/regular admissions have been made. No admission for MBBS seats has been done so far as the counselling will begin on July 23. Punjab's dilemma stems from the fact that the SC has ruled that admissions already done as per the NEET merit would be valid.
Officials of the state department of medical education and research admitted that the verdict had put them in a fix. The department has also sought the opinion of legal experts in this regard.
"I wouldn't like to comment on the issue at present as we have sought legal opinion," said Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, medical education and research.
Dr SS Gill, vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said they were not sure right now how to go about things. "Any decision regarding this matter will be taken at the level of the principal secretary," said Dr Gill.
He said the decision should be taken at the earliest since as per the SC guidelines, the admission process has to end before September 30.
Sources in the department of medical education and research revealed that the state government was exploring the possibility of filling seats in the state on the basis of the NEET merit.
Around 14,500 students across the state had appeared in the NEET for undergraduate courses on May 5.