Students applying to unaided private medical colleges in Maharashtra this year will have to take the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET).
The Maharashtra Common Entrance Examination (MH-CET) will apply only for government and government-aided medical college admissions this year, the Bombay high court said.
A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Shalini Phansalkar on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by six medical aspirants, challenging the state government’s interpretation of the NEET ordinance following which it had made the single-window national eligibility test compulsory for admissions to both the MBBS and BDS courses at unaided private as well as deemed institutes across Maharashtra.
The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has decided to announce the first merit list for health science courses on Wednesday. This list was to be out on July 14 but was postponed following the HC order. “We don’t want any more delay and the first list will be announced on Wednesday morning,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, director of DMER.
The bench, however, allowed one of the prayers in the petition and annulled the state government’s decision to allot five extra marks to students belonging to ‘special categories’ such as sports quota, defence, NCC and so on.
The students had challenged the state’s interpretation of the NEET ordinance signed by the President on May 24. The state education minister had announced that unaided private medical colleges across Maharashtra will not be permitted to go ahead with their own pre-scheduled tests for admissions for the academic year 2016-17. The ordinance clarified that only state government seats in government medical colleges and state government seats in private institutions will be exempted from NEET for the current year—the admissions to such colleges are secured through the state’s own CET exams.
The students had claimed that since the admissions to unaided private medical colleges and allocation of their seats, regulation of fees and so on were to be carried out by the state government this year, seats in such colleges should be considered as government seats.
The state government had told the high court that while it stood by its interpretation, it had no objection to revoke its decision if the court agreed with the petitioners. Upholding the state’s interpretation, the HC bench observed that the “standards of higher education across the country needed to be improved, and a central, national-level exam like NEET will ensure merit-based admissions”.
First merit list today
With the HC giving its nod, the Directorate of Medical Education & Research has decided to announce the first merit list for health science courses on Wednesday. The list was to be out on July 14 but was postponed following the HC order.
While students and parents are still upset with the court’s decision to not allow admission to private colleges on basis of MH-CET marks, they were happy that the additional marks have been scrapped by the court.
“One extra mark can change the ranks by several numbers. This year, it was clear that several applicants submitted fake certificates to claim extra marks under the sports quota,” said Rajesh Jain, state coordinator for Parents’ Association of Medical Students.