New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the matter on the entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses till Thursday as the Health Ministry and the Medical Council of India (MCI) have been asked to respond to the state governments’ plea to hold separate exams this year.
The court sought the response as Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and others sought a relook at the order making NEET mandatory for admission to undergraduate medical courses as they contended that their admission processes were governed by their respective state level laws and rules.
As the Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu's Vellore sought that they be permitted to continue with their own entrance examination, conducted since 1993, as their focus was taking Christian students, the bench of Justice Anil R.Dave, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked why were they reluctant of taking "Christian" students who have succeeded in National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).
These are all classifications - SC/ST, minorities etc, the court said pointing out that it was always open for the CMC to have Christian students after the conduct of NEET, as senior counsel L. Nageshwar Rao, appearing for CMC, pointed to the preference for students from the Christian community.
Asking why the college should be forced to take students from NEET, Nageshwar Rao said it intended to "only accrete Christian (students)" who will serve Christian charitable institutions.
However, the apparently unimpressed court said that NEET would save students from appearing in innumerable examinations and parents from spending money for buying forms for different exams.
The Supreme Court had on Monday admitted the review petitions filed by Maharashtra and other states and also by some private medical colleges and agreed for a hearing on Tuesday May 3, 2016 at 02:00 pm.
The apex court on the same day also set up a three-member panel to oversee functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) with regard to the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET). The panel will be headed by former chief justice of India R M Lodha.
The top court on Monday also upheld the provisions of a Madhya Pradesh law which enables government to have 50 per cent shares in management seats in private dental colleges.
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde was personally present in Delhi when the state filed the review petition in the apex court.
"The students should concentrate on their studies while we fight their case in the Supreme Court", he said.
He also reiterated that the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test MHT CET 2015 will be held on May 5, 2016 as per announced time table.
Karnataka had also announced that the Karnataka Common Entrance Test ( KCET 2016) will be held on May 4 and May 5 as announced earlier.
The Supreme Court had on April 28 directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to hold a single entrance test in two phases. While it named the already scheduled All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT 2016) as NEET Phase - 1, it paved way for other test called NEET Phase - 2 for fesh students and those who are appearing in the CETs held in different states.
Over six lakh students sat for the NEET Phase - 1 held on May 1. The NEET Phase -2 is scheduled to be held on July 24, 2016.
As many as eight states opposed the Supreme Court ruling and want the exam to be cancelled and they be given time till 2018 to adapt the NEET.
The issue also marked its impact in the parliament with MPs cutting across party line demanding from the Supreme Court to review its earlier ruling and give states more time.
Meanwhile, a section of students scheduled to appear for the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) launched an agitation on Monday, demanding the state government to oppose the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses and move the Supreme Court, confused students in other states are banking on the SC hearing today for a positive outocme to end the crisis.
“States like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh are opposing the NEET and are going to hold their state level entrance exams. Some of them are also planning to move the SC. But our state government didn’t clarify its stand,” said a statement by the protesting students led by All India Democratic Students’ Organisation.
“We demand the state government immediately oppose the NEET and move the Supreme Court to save the future of thousands of students,” it said.