SC clears common medical entrance test NEET, approves Centre’s schedule

The Supreme Court on Thursday paved the way for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to be conducted this year for admissions to medical courses, both in government and private colleges, across the country.

The Supreme Court also approved the NEET schedule for this year, proposed by the Central government, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Medical Council of India (MCI).

As per the proposal, NEET will be conducted in two phases this year.

The first phase of NEET will be conducted on May 1 instead of the scheduled AIPMT; second phase will be held on July 24.

As per the proposal, 6.5 lakh candidates can appear in the first phase of NEET while 2.5 lakh candidates can sit for the test in the second phase.

A joint result will be announced on August 17 and the entire admission procedure will be completed by September 30.

The court had earlier in the day reserved its order on whether All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) or NEET will be conducted this year for admissions to MBBS and MD courses.

The apex court had earlier this month paved the way for holding the NEET, a single common entrance test for medical courses including MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges, when it scrapped its 2013 order to stop the the single common entrance test.

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice AR Dave was unanimous in saying that the 2013, 2:1 verdict of the three-judge bench, which had paved the way for private colleges to conduct their own examinations, “needs reconsideration” as “the majority view has not taken into consideration some binding precedents”.

“Suffice to mention that the majority view has not taken into consideration some binding precedents and more particularly, we find that there was no discussion among the members of the Bench before pronouncement of the judgement. We, therefore, allow these review petitions and recall the judgment dated 18 July 2013 and direct that the matters be heard afresh. The review petitions stand disposed of as allowed,” the bench had said.

Justice Dave in the 2013 verdict had given a dissenting verdict, while Justice Vikramjit Sen (since retired) had shared the views and findings of then CJI Kabir on the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

The verdict, delivered on the day when CJI Kabir demitted office, had created a buzz in the apex court corridors as an advocate posted on a social networking site about the outcome in advance.

Interestingly, Justice Dave had then too, in his dissenting judgement, said the three judges of the bench “had no discussion on the subject due to paucity of time” which is normally done.


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