Supreme Court rider on medical seats

Admissions subject to final order on common entry test
The Supreme Court today said all admissions to under-graduate and post-graduate medical and dental seats would be subject to the final outcome of its impending order on the validity of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test introduced by the Medical Council of India.

“All admissions being made would be subject to the final outcome of the judgment to be passed by the other bench,” a vacation bench of Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Madan B. Lokur said.The court made the clarification while declining to entertain a petition by an NGO, Sankalp, seeking a directive that only students who got a minimum of 50 per cent marks in the NEET should be declared eligible for admission.

The NGO, through counsel Prashant Bhushan, submitted that such a direction was necessary as several states were admitting students with less than 50 per cent marks on the basis of parallel entrance tests conducted by them.He told the court that seats in states were being sold for huge amounts by private colleges, hence it was necessary that admissions be made only on the basis of minimum 50 per cent marks in the NEET. However, the vacation bench refrained from passing any order as a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir is handling the case and would pass a judgment on the validity of the NEET after the courts re-open on July 1.

Several states and private medical colleges have opposed the NEET on the ground that they had been conducting their own entrance exams every year in a foolproof manner, so the MCI could not make its test mandatory for all states. On May 13, in an interim order benefitting about 65,000 medical students, the Supreme Court had allowed states and private medical colleges to declare the results of the PG and UG entrance exams. However, the court had said that after the summer vacation it would examine the issue of the validity of the MCI’s decision to hold the NEET for MBBS and post-graduate courses in medicine as well as dental courses. A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Anil Dave and Vikramjit Sen had passed the interim order to avoid inconvenience to students and various teaching hospitals. By the order, the apex court modified its December 13, 2012, direction holding that the MCI, Dental Council of India (DCI), states, institutions and varsities were permitted to conduct the exams but asked to withhold the results till adjudication of the disputes.

The MCI’s December 27, 2010, notification mandating all colleges and states to comply with its decision to conduct the NEET was challenged in various courts across the country by private medical colleges, states and other institutions. Most of them argued that it was a serious infringement on the powers of the states and private institutions to conduct their own entrance tests. On January 15, the apex court transferred to itself a batch of 115 petitions on the issue but could not complete the hearing owing to the court’s summer vacation, which commenced on May 13.

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