Cabinet clears Ordinance to defer NEET

The second round of NEET was to be held on July 24. File Photo used for representational purpose only.  

Facing pressure from the State governments, the Union Cabinet on Friday cleared an ordinance bypassing the Supreme Court’s decision to hold the >National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) , a common test for admission to medical and dental courses, this year.

Nearly 6.5 lakh candidates are to appear for the second round of the test, which is to be held on July 24.

Health Minister J.P. Nadda will meet President Pranab Mukherjee to brief him on the ordinance that, once it comes into effect, will override the >Supreme Court’s May 9 order and allow the State boards to hold their own entrance tests this year.

Sources in the Health Ministry maintain that the exception is only for this academic session. “From next year, students will have a common entrance test nationwide,” a senior official said.

The decision comes days after the State Health Ministers met Mr. Nadda and told him that the NEET would be unfair to students of the State boards.

NEET Phase II will still be held for Central government and private medical colleges. And the States will be allowed to conduct their own entrance exams for this academic session. The ordinance, if promulgated, will apply to State government seats, depending on which State has how many seats in the State quota.

On April 28, the Supreme Court allowed the NEET to be held in two phases, with the All India Pre-Medical Test considered the first phase. The decision meant that the State-level tests, already held or scheduled for later, were void.

The decision was taken in response to a public interest litigation petition filed by NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust to reduce corruption in the admission process.

Soon after the Cabinet’s decision, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to bring in an ordinance because it would send out the message that “the government is with those who have black or untaxed money.”

Meanwhile, Sankalp Charitable Trust has said it will challenge the ordinance as soon as it is notified.

Amit Kumar, lawyer for the NGO, said the government could not circumvent the Supreme Court’s order through an ordinance. “There are multiple grounds on which we will challenge the ordinance... During the hearing of the case, the Centre had told the court that it had no difficulty in holding the NEET. Now, it cannot make a U-turn and allow the State boards to be out of the ambit of the single common entrance test,” he told PTI.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 11:12:13 AM |

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