The Union Health Ministry on Friday opposed in the Supreme Court the Human Resource Development Ministry's move to introduce an all-India combined entrance examination for admission to engineering and medical courses from 2011-2012.

A Bench of Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik issued notice to the Health Ministry, seeking its submissions in writing within three weeks.

Senior counsel Altaf Ahmed, appearing for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which filed the application, said the combined examination would relieve students from taking multiple examinations. When Justice Raveendran asked whether there would be separate counselling for admissions, the Health Ministry counsel said that even if there was separate counselling for engineering and medical courses, there were certain practical and logistical difficulties in holding such an examination (combining the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental test). He said it would be premature to go ahead with such a combined test.

Justice Raveendran asked counsel, “Are there difficulties or is it a departmental fight between the Ministries. You put everything in writing.”

In its application, the CBSE said the All India Pre-Medical Test was conducted to fill 15 per cent seats in MBBS/BDS courses in the all-India quota and the AIEEE conducted for different category of engineering colleges.

The CBSE said the Centre held a meeting on October 10 with itself, the Delhi University and the Medical Council of India where the decision to hold a combined test was taken.

The CBSE sought the court's nod for this proposal. The Bench directed the matter to be listed after three weeks.