Can you open up NEET-2 to all, SC asks CBSE

The court also asked the Medical Council of India to give suggestions.

May 06, 2016 01:07 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to consider opening up phase two of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) to students who appeared for the common entrance exam on May 1.

A Bench led by Justice Anil R. Dave sought the CBSE’s response on whether it could accommodate at least 30 lakh candidates, if students who appeared on May 1 were allowed a second chance on July 24.

The court also asked the Medical Council of India to give suggestions.

The court’s query to the CBSE for a second chance to the students was triggered by submissions from Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, that the court’s April 28 order converting AIPMT to NEET, and making the latter a common entrance exam for both all-India and State rank lists, would have caught many students off guard.

Students would have treated AIPMT with less seriousness until the April 28 order, as it offered them only 15 per cent seats earmarked for the all-India quota. They would have instead concentrated more on the ongoing State entrance examinations.

The court, however, put its foot down on private medical colleges or their associations holding their own tests for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses.

Uncertainty on State tests

Uncertainty continued over whether the States could conduct their entrance examinations side by side with NEET. Many States are backed by statutory law in the matter. In Tamil Nadu’s case, a 2007 law did away with entrance exams for admissions to MBBS and BDS, and they are based on Class 12 marks. The court merely observed: “We have not stayed the relevant regulations of the States [to hold entrance exams]. But NEET is in operation.”

Senior advocate P.P. Rao, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, contended that NEET could not apply to the State in view of the protection and special status granted under Article 371 D of the Constitution. He also relied upon the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, to claim that the State could continue with the existing arrangement for admission to medical and dental colleges for 10 years. He said no student from Andhra Pradesh had appeared in the May 1 examination.

The Solicitor-General, however, said the States did not lose their power to prepare their own merit lists from the all-India NEET rank of successful candidates. He submitted that admissions would be done as per the criteria prevailing in States. The S-G also countered apprehensions raised by States like Gujarat and Maharashtra that NEET discriminated against vernacular students, stating that the objective of NEET was to maintain an “international standard.”

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