The All India Pre-medical and Pre-dental entrance exam for the academic year 2016-17 may not be held as scheduled on May 1.
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking a direction to hold the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) this year, which will be a joint medical entrance test for entry to all medical colleges in the country.
In its April 11 judgement, the Supreme Court had recalled its 2013 judgment that quashed NEET and made it possible for the Medical Council of India (MCI) to hold a common examination for all dental, undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses.
MCI, country’s top body responsible for regulating medical education, had sent a proposal to introduce the common test in the 2016-17 academic year to the Union health ministry.
“It could be possible to hold NEET this year if the time schedule fixed by the Supreme Court is extended. We have forwarded the proposal to the government, let the government take a call,” Dr Jayshree Mehta, president MCI, told HT.
Senior health ministry officials said the ball was now in the human resource development ( HRD ) ministry’s court.
“The onus of conducting the exam is on Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) that comes under HRD. We had written to them and if they agreed that it was possible then would have approached the apex Court for an extension,” said a senior health ministry official.
India has more than 400 medical colleges, including government and private; and currently only government institutions have a common medical entrance test. These colleges offer 31,000 undergraduate medical and dental seats (MBBS and BDS) and 11,000 PG (MD) seats.
However, the CBSE was planning to go ahead with the May 1 exam. “There were talks happening at the higher level but we weren’t conveyed anything. In such a scenario, we had no choice but to go ahead with the May 1 exam. However, if there’s a directive from the court or otherwise, we may reconsider,” said an HRD ministry official.
Wednesday’s petition has been filed by Sankalp Charitable Trust.
A plea was also made to stay the exam to be held for 15% by CBSE on 1st May. MCI’s senior advocate, Vikas Singh, informed the court that body was ready with a schedule to hold the test. However, CBSE counsel submitted he needed to take instructions on whether it was possible to hold the exam.
In the past, medical entrance exam has even been conducted in mid-August and the session began in end of September when the exam had to be postponed due to paper-leak.
The court will hear the matter Thursday.