Bowing to pressure from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, the Centre has put on hold the decision by the Medical Council of India for conducting a common entrance test (CET) for MBBS courses from the next academic session.

The move has also been opposed by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

The decision comes just two days after the Medical Council of India (MCI) announced with much fanfare its decision to hold an all-India entrance test for admission to medical colleges for undergraduate courses from 2011-2012. The MCI was awaiting formal approval of the notification to this effect. Mr. Karunanidhi had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to “reconsider'' its move to conduct a national-level common entrance examination for MBBS courses and said that the State could not accept the move as it amounted to an “infringement by the Union government on the autonomy of States.” A copy of the letter was sent to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad

Mr. Karunanidhi wrote to the Prime Minister on Monday referring to the submission made by the Centre in the Supreme Court on the MCI recommendation to conduct a common entrance examination from next year. The Board of Governors of the MCI formally announced the decision the following day, saying that a notification would come in a day or two. According to Mr. Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu had scrapped the entrance examination for engineering and medical admissions in 2007-08 through legislation with the Presidential assent. This had been done to safeguard the interests of the socially and economically disadvantaged students from the rural areas. The move benefited many such students and also resulted in more doctors agreeing to work in rural areas.

Tamil Nadu had also implemented 69 per cent reservation for socially disadvantaged sections, which would be difficult to implement when there was a common entrance examination, Mr. Karunanidhi said in his letter.

Supreme Court moved

On Thursday, Tamil Nadu moved the Supreme Court seeking to implead itself in a pending matter on which the Centre submitted that the MCI would come out with a notification for the CET for admission to medical courses.

On the same day, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the AIADMK raised the matter in Parliament with the members demanding that the common entrance examinations for medical and engineering admissions be done away with, alleging infringement on the rights of the States.