Supreme Court grants permission, while deciding to examine NEET validity

The Supreme Court, while deciding to examine the validity of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET), has permitted private medical colleges to conduct their own entrance tests for admission to MBBS/postgraduate/dental courses but they should not declare the results until its further orders.

A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameswar, by an interim order, also allowed the Medical Council of India, the Dental Council of India, as well as the States and universities and other institutions to conduct their respective examinations for MBBS and other postgraduate courses on condition that they would not declare the results.

The MCI recently conducted the NEET even as the case was pending consideration by the Bench. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, several associations of private medical colleges, the Christian Medical College, Vellore, DD Medical College and DD Hospital, Tamil Nadu, and various individual colleges had filed petitions in High Courts and obtained an interim stay against NEET applicability to them.

Aggrieved, the MCI filed petitions seeking transfer of these cases to the Supreme Court to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. The Supreme Court, while staying all further proceedings, issued notice to the respondent colleges/States/associations seeking their response.

In the interim order passed on over 50 transfer petitions, the Bench said that while the main pending matters needed to be decided early, “the time taken in hearing the matters should be utilised in allowing the students to sit for their examinations which have been already notified. Accordingly, let all the transferred cases, as well as the writ petitions, be listed for final hearing and disposal on January 15, 16 and 17, 2013.”

‘Give wide publicity’

Such of those matters which had not been transferred from High Courts should be transferred to the Supreme Court, the Bench said. It asked the MCI, the DCI, the Union of India and the States to give wide publicity so that “students who are intending to sit for the entrance examinations may have knowledge of the same.”

Differing stands

In these cases, while the MCI said the NEET would avoid multiple entrance tests and minimise corruption and irregularities in admissions, private unaided colleges, religious and linguistic minorities alleged that the NEET interfered with their autonomy and right to admit students of their choice by conducting their own entrance tests without compromising on merit.