NEET ordinance ‘quite disturbing, without taste’, Supreme Court tells Centre

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The Supreme Court on Thursday termed the government’s move to issue an ordinance, which effectively diluted its order upholding the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) as the sole window of admissions to MBBS and BDS courses this year “quite disturbing and without taste”, but refused to stay the ordinance.
The ordinance, issued on May 24, 2016, allowed the States to conduct their own exams despite the Supreme Court order on May 9, 2016 that said only NEET would prevail.
The apex court said on Thursday that ordering a freeze on the ordinance at this stage would trigger chaos as lakhs of students across 17 States have already written exams.
“Prima facie, we find that the validity of the NEET ordinance is open to doubt. But, as 50 per cent of the States have already conducted their exams, we do not want to grant the petitioners any interim relief,” a three-judge Bench, led by Justice Anil R. Dave, observed in its order.
The court’s May 9 order was passed despite objections from several States and
private medical colleges that they have their own exams and many were underway or about to begin. The court simply had asked then to fall in line.
The Bench was hearing petitions filed by the Sankalp Charitable Trust and Vyapam scam whistleblower Anand Rai on how the government took the liberty, by issuing theordinance, of donning the role of an “appellate court of the Supreme Court”.
Sharan said if the court did not check this act of the government, successive governments would also indulge in bypassing court orders and rule of law would suffer.
“We find that even after our order on May 9, several States ignored us and continued with their own exams. This was not in good taste. We find that out of 36, 17 States have already held their own exams,” Justice Dave observed.
He submitted that the government could have “abolished” NEET if it had wanted to circumvent the May 9 order.
“We did not do that. Our ordinance only amends the NEET notification. This amendment to have State exams this year along with NEET has already been adopted by more than half the country… Who are these people here to come to court? If States or students have a grievance with our ordinance, they have to come to court. They have not come,” Rohatgi countered.
“Your ordinance was not warranted. All we wanted was to bring in uniformity,” Justice Dave responded.
“Everyday, even on May 9, exams were being held in various States.
In Tamil Nadu, admissions are over… These people come here eight weeks after the court order. My Lords should not act on their petitions,” Rohatgi urged.

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