NEET row: SC to hear states’ plea for conducting own exams today

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 05, 2016 11:44 IST
The Supreme Court has made National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) mandatory for admission into all medical colleges from this year. (Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

The Supreme Court is likely to decide on Thursday whether state governments can continue with their entrance examinations to medical and dental colleges after the top court made Medical Council of India’s (MCI) National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) mandatory from this year.

MCI -- the statutory body that regulates medical profession and education in India – will respond to the applications by the states after which a bench headed by justice AR Dave is likely to give a verdict. The hearing is scheduled for 2pm.

The decision will, however, not affect the states’ petitions under which they have challenged the common entrance test’s validity.

Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are some of the states that have opposed holding NEET this year on the ground that their exams are pre-scheduled and students have already enroled themselves.

An MCI counsel told Hindustan Times that the apex body does not favour state exams.

“We have already argued before the court against it and our stand remains the same. Once the court has ruled on having NEET, the states have no say,” the lawyer said.

During a hearing on May 3, the bench voiced its concern over the multiple entrance exams, saying it must be tough for the children and their parents. “So many states conduct separate tests. They must be demanding separate fees. What about the parents and students? They have to move from one place to another,” the bench noted.

With states and private colleges advocating the need to have their own entrance exam, the bench also asked them whether they have a uniform fee structure.

On April 29, the SC had cleared the decks for holding NEET for admission to medical and dental colleges. The ruling came two days before the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was scheduled to conduct the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), which was rechristened as NEET.

As per CBSE, the second phase of NEET will be on July 24. It will give an opportunity to over 2.5 lakh students who could not take the first phase of the exam on May 1. The combined results will be declared on August 17.

The SC recalled its 2013 judgement that had declared NEET “illegal” and “unconstitutional” on 11 April, saying the verdict was delivered without a proper discussion between the bench members.

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