The Supreme Court will on Friday afternoon hear the Centre on whether states can be allowed to conduct separate Common Entrance Tests (CET) to medical colleges and if this year’s students will be admitted on the basis of these marks.
Students faced uncertainty after the top court made appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), conducted by the Medical Council of India (MCI), mandatory from this year.
The court’s decision hinges on the fact that students undergo multiple CETs across different states to secure a college admission.
A bench headed by Justice AR Dave is expected clarify which scores will be relevant for admission this year – CET or NEET after solicitor general Ranjit Kumar appears before court at 2 pm.
The bench had earlier clarified that private medical colleges cannot hold their own exams, upholding the Madhya Pradesh legislation that permitted states to conduct a CET to level the testing field. It also said state governments would be exempted from NEET for the 2016-17 academic year.
The court is hearing petitions from various states and private medical colleges associations seeking stay of the order that allowed NEET for this academic year.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which conducts NEET, will also appear in court with its response on whether 6.5 lakh students, who appeared for the first phase on May 1, can sit for the second phase on July 24. The bench had on Thursday asked the board to explore the possibility after complaints poured in that students did not have enough time to prepare for the first phase.
Kumar told the bench NEET-1 was for 15% seats. Those who did not appear or had applied but did not write the test could participate in NEET-2, he said, adding students would be competing for the remaining 85% of seats.
The solicitor general said the Centre favoured medical admission this year through NEET-2 and that states must follow the mandate. He rejected their submission that students could likely face trouble answering questions since the paper will in Hindi and English, and not in a vernacular language.
His contention was that MCI regulations required a medical aspirant to study English in class 12, with a minimum 50% score.
As per CBSE, the second phase of NEET will be on July 24. It will give an opportunity to over 2.5 lakh students who could not take the first phase of the exam. The combined results will be declared on August 17.
The SC recalled its 2013 judgement that had declared NEET “illegal” and “unconstitutional” on April 11, saying the verdict was delivered without a proper discussion between the bench members.
On April 29, the SC had cleared the decks for holding NEET for admission to medical and dental colleges. The ruling came two days before CBSE was scheduled to conduct the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), which was rechristened as NEET.