Only NEET valid: SC
States cannot hold separate medical tests
- Published 10.05.16
New Delhi, May 9: The Supreme Court today ruled that the CBSE-conducted common national test would be the only valid entrance exam for undergraduate medical courses across the country, clearing the air on a three-year-long dispute involving several states and private colleges.
The far-reaching order means exams scheduled by any private college or any state, including Bengal, will not be valid.
"It is clarified that only NEET would enable students to get admission to MBBS or BDS studies," the three-judge bench said.
The bench also said those who had appeared for the May 1 phase of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) could sit for NEET-2 - scheduled to be held on July 24 - provided they gave up their claim on the NEET-1 results.
Around 6.5 lakh students had appeared for NEET-1.
The bench of Justices A.R. Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and A.K. Goel also allowed the CBSE to reschedule NEET-2, if necessary.
The order came nearly a month after a five-judge Constitution bench had recalled a July 2013 judgment by a three-judge bench of the court that had declared the common test, introduced by the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India, unconstitutional.
Ahead of today's judgment, several states and private consortiums of colleges had argued that their own exams were either over or were in the process of being held and had sought NEET to be deferred till the next academic year.
But the bench said it didn't find "any merit" in the applications seeking a modification of its April 28 order directing the Centre to conduct a countrywide common entrance test for MBBS and dental courses for the 2016-17 academic year.
"Prima facie, we do not find any infirmity in the NEET regulation on the ground that it affects the rights of the states or the private institutions," the bench said, adding that special provisions for reservations of any category were not the subject matter of the NEET nor would the rights of minorities be in any manner affected by the common exam.
"NEET only provides for conducting (an) entrance test for eligibility for admission to the MBBS/BDS course. We thus do not find any merit in the applications seeking modification of (the) order dated 28th April, 2016," the bench said.
But the court made it clear that students who had applied for NEET-1 but couldn't appear or who appeared but couldn't "prepare fully" thinking there would be a "further opportunity to appear in other examinations" would be "permitted to appear in NEET-2". But that would be subject to seeking an option from the candidates concerned to "give up their candidature for NEET-1".
In other words, they cannot lay claim to their NEET-1 results in case their NEET-2 score fell short of expectations.
The court also said it would be open to the respondents - the CBSE and the Medical Council of India - to reschedule the date for NEET-2, if necessary.