The Supreme Court is likely to clarify on Monday whether to exempt states from National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and allow them to hold the Common Entrance Test (CET) only for local government medical and dental colleges.
The top court is hearing petitions from various states and private medical colleges’ associations seeking a stay of the order that allowed NEET, a common entrance test for all the medical and dental colleges across the country, for this academic year.
Lakhs of students faced uncertainty after the top court made NEET, conducted by the Medical Council of India’s (MCI), mandatory from this year.
The SC will take a final view on the issue on Monday after hearing out the Centre’s views on CET.
Last week, a bench headed by justice AR Dave asked solicitor general Ranjit Kumar for placing the Centre’s viewpoint on the crucial issue by Monday. Kumar told the bench that a meeting of all the stakeholders would be convened before the government took a final call.
If this happens, private unaided colleges cannot admit students on CET scores and will have to depend on NEET for their intake.
The top court had on Friday clarified that students, who appeared in the first phase of NEET on May 1, for admission to medical and dental courses will not be allowed to participate in the second phase of the examination on July 24.
It, however, said students who filled the form for the first phase but did not appear for the paper will be given a chance to do so in the second. It reiterated that private colleges and deemed universities will not be allowed to hold their own entrance exams and NEET scores will be the basis for admissions.
MCI counsel Vikas Singh said the regulatory body had no objection to states having examinations for their own colleges. He, however, said the exemption should be for this year only.
The MCI – which is opposed to CET – softened its stand in the wake of students’ protest claiming they had prepared for state examinations to be held in vernacular languages. Several states said it will be difficult for students to take NEET paper that is only in two languages – Hindi and English.
On May 5, the Centre had favoured medical admission this year through NEET and said states must follow the mandate. It rejected their submission that students could likely face trouble answering questions since the paper will in Hindi and English, and not in a vernacular language.
MCI regulations require a medical aspirant to study English in Class 12, with a minimum 50% score, it said.
On April 29, the SC had cleared the decks for holding NEET for admission to medical and dental colleges putting a question mark on the validity of state and private entrance tests. 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-1.
On April 11, the SC recalled its 2013 judgement that had declared NEET “illegal” and “unconstitutional”, saying the verdict was delivered without a proper discussion between the bench members.
As per CBSE, 6.5 lakh students sat for NEET-1 and 2.5 lakh will take the paper on July 24. The combined results will be declared on August 17.
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