The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it supported the Medical Council of India's proposal to have a common entrance test (CET) for admission to post graduate medical courses and that it wanted to notify it within a week.

Solicitor-General (SG) Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Centre, also told a Bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice H.L. Gokhale that for the proposed MBBS CET the draft rules and regulations would be submitted to the court and the response of all States would be sought.

When Mr. Subramaniam sought the court's nod for issuing the notification, Justice Raveendran said: “We do not want to be party to the policy decision. How can we approve a proposal which is not before us. We must know what the proposal is. You first place the proposal before us, then we shall see.”

Justice Gokhale cautioned the Centre: “Now Tamil Nadu is opposing the CET for MBBS. A number of other States will also oppose. Students are now volatile, you have to understand this. Go step by step. Do it for PG first. Otherwise there are chances that you [Centre] may land in some other problem.” Referring to the Centre's plea for allowing notification of the PG CET, Justice Gokhale, in a lighter vein, said: “The court has contributed to many problems. We don't want to add one more problem.”

Justice Raveendran told Mr. Subramaniam: “If you notify the CET for MBBS without hearing the States, they will challenge it. We will be glad if some consensus is developed after the State governments respond to the notices. We cannot put a seal of approval without hearing the States, as one State government [Tamil Nadu] ad already opposed the system. Let us not rush it through. The proper way is to seek the response of the States and then notify it.”

To which, the SG said: “We will notify the CET for PG within a week and place on record the draft rules for MBBS CET.”

Counsel Harish Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu strongly opposed the CET both for MBBS and PG courses and said the State had enacted law abolishing CET for professional courses. Earlier, Mr. Subramaniam explained the steps being taken for arriving at a consensus and said it had received support from doctors, private and government medical colleges. Justice Raveendran was quick to point out “unfortunately, doctors don't make laws.”

Mr. Subramaniam said the CET was intended to improve the quality of medical education and medical services in the country.

Senior counsel Amrender Saran, appearing for the MCI, said new rules and regulations for the CET had been put in place and they had been approved by the government. There would be centralised counselling after the CET and at the end of the course there would an exit test for doctors. The Bench directed the matter to be listed after a week.