All you need to know about the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test

As NEET comes into effect, the validity of other exams — conducted by the State or a private medical college — has come under question.

April 13, 2016 03:27 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the green signal for the CBSE to hold National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) 2016-17 in two phases and approved the Medical Council of India's schedule for the common entrance exams for undergraduate medical and dental courses starting on May 1.

A Bench of Justices Anil R. Dave, S.K. Singh and A.K. Goel revived NEET across all States despite strong protests from several States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, among other States that it was too late.

What’s the uproar over NEET?

State governments believed that NEET infringed upon their right to keep education a State subject. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Several points of contention have been raised — the important ones being its viability and the impact on students from different educational backgrounds.

When the exam was first introduced in 2012, several States, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, > Kerala and Tamil Nadu, opposed it. These State governments believed that it > infringed upon their right to keep education a State subject.

Following the objection, the Supreme Court, in a 2013 judgment, held that NEET would deprive State-run universities and medical colleges of their right to admit students as per their own procedures and declared the test unconstitutional.

Many private colleges in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had filed petitions in various High Courts, seeking exemption from using the exam as one of the criteria for admissions.

A common exam sounds like a good idea, so why oppose something that standardises the procedure?

Students in Tamil Nadu who seek admission to MBBS course are admitted on the basis of their 12th standard final examination marks. A similar criterion is followed in Kerala as well. These States believe that there’s a huge difference, in terms of content, in the State and Central Board’s syllabus.

Last month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister > Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi , urging him to direct the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to > withdraw the review petition filed in the Supreme Court.

The Chief Minister said the NEET “would adversely affect the interests of students in the State, in particular those from weaker sections and from rural areas and as it infringes upon the State’s right to determine the admission policies to medical educational institutions.”

Around one lakh students appear for these entrance examinations every year. Photo: K Murali Kumar

Who’s in favour of the new structure?

The MCI is of the opinion that the NEET would avoid multiple entrance tests and minimise corruption and irregularities in admissions to medical courses.

The IMA has welcomed the apex court’s decision, saying it will help safeguard the sanctity of the medical profession.

The MCI wants it, some States don’t. What is the latest on the issue? What is the way forward?

The apex court has said its 2013 judgment — that made NEET invalid — requires re-consideration but has remained non-committal on the specifics. It said: “We do not propose to state reasons in detail at this stage so it may not prejudicially affect the hearing”

The Health Ministry has said that it will hold NEET for PG medical course admission this November. Photo: Sudhakara Jain

Following the order, the Health Ministry has said that it will hold NEET for PG medical course admission this November. Reports suggest that the Ministry is also considering postponing entrance exams for undergraduate courses, scheduled for May 1, by two months.

How have the States responded to the recent order? And how many private colleges will be affected by the ruling?

Maharashtra: The State has requested the Indian Medical Council not to conduct the admissions to medical and dental courses through NEET and instead continue with MH-CET this year. Medical Education Minister Vinod Tawde said: “Since the NEET is based on CBSE syllabus, the government will have to upgrade its HSC syllabus and then Maharashtra can join the NEET from 2017.”

Tamil Nadu: The government is expected to move court again, opposing the recent order. Nearly 80 private colleges conduct their own medical entrance exams for admissions.

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