The Supreme Court refused to amend its day-old order on Friday and reiterated the common entrance test (NEET) for all medical colleges would take place in two phases despite the Centre’s U-turn on holding the exam.
A day after additional solicitor general Pinky Anand submitted that the human resource development ministry was prepared to conduct the test this year in accordance with the April 11 SC order reviving the NEET, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi rushed to justice AR Dave’s court on Friday morning with a request to reconsider the order.
Rohatgi argued the direction would put at stake the future of hundreds of thousands of students who had prepared for entrance tests organised by the states and private medical colleges. He said medical aspirants taking the NEET on July 24 would have more time to prepare than those sitting for the first phase on Sunday. Rohatgi suggested having one exam on July 24 and asked the bench to re-hear the stakeholders before May 1.
In the afternoon, the bench declined to pass any order. It even refused to give a decision on the validity of entrance exams already conducted or scheduled by the states and private colleges. That put a question mark on the selection criterion for admission to medical colleges.
Medical Council of India (MCI) counsel Gaurav Sharma, however, said the NEET regulation clearly expressed that students would get admitted to all medical colleges on the basis of marks secured in the common entrance test. “Admissions have to be in accordance with the NEET notification,” he said.
Rohatgi asked the court to put off the uniform exam this year. The bench noted it was also concerned about the future of “young doctors” and indicated a change if the chief justice allowed a special hearing of the case. However, on reassembling for the post-lunch session, it dismissed the request.
Rohatgi argued the NEET exam, to be conducted in English and Hindi, would adversely affect students from non-northern states.
Thursday’s order came after the Centre’s counsel and the MCI gave a joint undertaking to conduct the NEET in two phases. The top court clarified that its order directing the government to hold the NEET would not affect the case pending before it to decide the validity of the test.