The Supreme Court Thursday fixed the timeline for conducting the common all-India medical entrance test for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses and clarified that its directive will supersede all other orders relating to medical admissions. With this clarification, the three-judge bench led by Justice Anil R Dave made it unequivocal that all other admission tests, already held or scheduled for later, for admission to government colleges, deemed universities, private medical colleges, minority and linguistic minority colleges, stand scrapped.
On Thursday, the bench, also comprising Justices Shiva Kirti Singh and Adarsh K Goel, approved the schedule placed before it by the Union Health Ministry, CBSE and the Medical Council of India (MCI).
According to the schedule, the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) scheduled for May 1 will be treated as first round of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET). However, those who have not applied for AIPMT will be given opportunity to appear in round two on July 24. The combined result will be declared on August 17, in order to complete the admission process by September 30 — a deadline set by the apex court in its previous orders.
Around 6.5 lakh students are likely to appear for the entrance exams. “We further clarify that notwithstanding any order passed by any Court earlier with regard to not holding NEET, this order shall operate. Therefore, no further order is required to be passed at this stage,” the bench said.
The court also rejected a submission made by counsel for some private medical colleges from Karnataka and other states that a batch of review petitions on validity of the common medical entrance test was already pending and hence the order on NEET must wait for a decision in those cases too. The counsel requested the court to clarify that the order to hold NEET would not impact the private colleges, which are parties in the review petitions, but the bench shot down the plea.
“We do not agree with the first submission for the reason that the said judgment has already been recalled on 11th April, 2016 and therefore, the notifications dated 21st December, 2010 are in operation as on today,” it said. While the 2010 notification had made NEET mandatory for admissions, the apex court in 2013 had declared it illegal, an order that was this month recalled.
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Thursday’s court order came on a PIL filed by NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust, which had sought directives for conducting NEET in the wake of a Constitution Bench judgment, which had a fortnight ago recalled the 2013 order against holding the NEET.
The 2013 judgment had courted controversy after reports emerged it had been allegedly leaked before the order was pronounced. Justice Dave, who recently authored the recall order, had in 2013 dissented from the majority view, pointing out there was no discussion among the bench before ruling against the validity of the common test.
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