After Council's counsel submitted that Centre had approved it in August 2010 itself

Even as the Centre opposed the Medical Council of India's notification for conducting a nationwide eligibility-cum-entrance test (CET) for the MBBS course from 2011-12, the Supreme Court on Monday said the MCI could take steps as was necessary to implement the notification dated December 21, 2010.

A Bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik, gave the nod to the MCI, taking note of the submissions made by MCI's senior counsel Amarendra Saran that the notification had been approved by the Centre as early as in August 2010.

Earlier, Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra submitted that the Centre had not approved the notification. Counsel A.D.N. Rao, appearing for the main petitioners Simran Jain and others, said the CET would help students who were now appearing in 28 different CETs across the country.

Counsel for Tamil Nadu Harish Kumar brought to the notice of the Bench that the State had already obtained an interim stay in the Madras High Court against implementation of the CET in Tamil Nadu as legislation had been put in place abolishing entrance test for admission to professional courses. D.D. Medical College and D.D. Hospital, through its Chairman T.D. Naidu, had also filed an impleading application in support of Tamil Nadu opposing the CET.

‘No Ministry nod to CET'

During the last hearing, Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam had informed the court that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had not granted approval to the MCI notification for conducting a CET as wider consultations with the States were required.

It was submitted in the last hearing on behalf of the Centre that on January 3, the Health Ministry had sent a letter to the MCI informing that no previous approval of the Central government was obtained and hence the notifications issued both for undergraduate and postgraduates were invalid.

‘The MCI was asked to withdraw the two notifications issued on December 21, 2010 and gazetted on December 27, 2010. However, the MCI had not responded to the Centre's letter and even as the Centre opposed the MCI's move the Bench asked the MCI to take steps to implement the notification.

During the resumed hearing on Monday, Justice Raveendran made it clear to the MCI counsel that “if you think you have the power exercise it. If you think you are subservient to the Centre, follow the advice. We don't want to keep this matter pending. If somebody challenges the notification, let them do it.”

More In: National | News