The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Madras High Court order restraining the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) from publishing the results of the 2017 National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses.The decision is a welcome step for about 12 lakh students who had taken the exam on May 7 and are awaiting the results to gain admission to the courses. The Supreme Court had said the NEET results should be released by June 26.
Acting on a plea by the CBSE, a vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and Deepak Gupta stayed the May 24 interim order of the Madras High Court saying: “What indirectly this order is doing is that it is diluting the schedule fixed by the Supreme Court… The interim order is stayed and it is directed that the authorities concerned will proceed further with the declaration of result for NEET 2017 examination held on May 7,” the bench said.
Though the court gave the authorities the go-ahead to proceed with the announcement of results, counselling and admission as per the schedule already fixed by it, the bench reminded that it will be subject to the final decision of the court in the pending matter.
The court also took notice of the submission by additional solicitor-general Maninder Singh, who, appearing for the CBSE, said various high courts were accepting pleas related to NEET and “requested” the courts to desist from doing this. Singh requested that all such petitions be transferred to the apex court.
The CBSE had challenged the May 24 order, contending that it was against the spirit of the order passed by the apex court in which the NEET 2017 schedule was fixed.The Madras High Court had granted the interim stay on a batch of petitions which alleged that no uniform question paper was given to the candidates, and that there was a vast difference between the ones in English and Tamil and in the difficulty levels.
The apex court also issued notices to the respondents, who had filed the petition in the Madras High Court, on the pleas filed by the CBSE and others.Singh submitted that NEET 2017 was conducted in eight regional languages, besides English and Hindi, and that around 10.5 lakh aspirants took the test in Hindi/English while 1.3-1.5 lakh gave the exam in regional languages.
Though the English and Hindi papers were similar, questions were different for other languages, he said, and added that the difficulty level was the same in all the papers.