In order to safeguard students’ interests, the Supreme Court on Monday allowed private medical colleges and a consortium of colleges across the country to declare the results of entrance examinations they conducted and on that basis make admissions to postgraduate, MBBS and dental courses for 2013-14.

A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen, in a modified order, said the results of the entrance examinations had been withheld in view of the court’s December 13, 2012 interim order on 115 petitions challenging the validity of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) notified by the Medical Council of India. “While the matters were being heard, we had been informed by senior counsel appearing for Christian Medical College, Vellore, and the Karnataka Private Medical and Dental College that a large number of students… would lose a year if the bar on declaration of their results was not lifted.”

The Bench said: “We are also alive to the fact that it is the postgraduate students in medical colleges who take charge of treatment in hospitals. Without fresh entrants into the postgraduate courses, even for a year, the hospitals are likely to be adversely affected on account of lack of doctors.” The Bench said: “Apart from the above, students who aspire to gain entry into the medical colleges at the MBBS, BDS and the postgraduate levels have been caught in the legal tangle for no fault of theirs and are the victims of policy decisions. In order to safeguard their interests, as also the interest of the hospitals, we consider it just and equitable to lift the bar imposed by us on December 13, 2012 and allow the results of the examinations to be declared.”

The CJI, writing the order, said the challenge to the MCI notification gave rise to a wide range of submissions involving the competence of the Medical Council of India to introduce such a test which denudes the different medical colleges across the country of any control over their entrance examinations and admissions.

The CJI said the final judgment on the petitions questioning NEET validity would be pronounced on July 2 or 4.Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and several associations of private medical colleges, among others, had filed petitions in their respective High Courts and obtained an interim stay on NEET applicability to them. Aggrieved, the MCI filed transfer petitions and these cases stood transferred to the Supreme Court to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.