Government to seek review of Supreme Court order on common medical entrance test

Government to seek review of Supreme Court order on common medical entrance test

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the government will seek a review of the Supreme Court verdict quashing the Medical Council of India's (MCI) decision to hold a common entrance test for medical colleges.

"I've had meetings with my officers and I have told them to study the judgement. Once we do that, we'll decide on future course of action. A legal recourse is the only way," Mr Azad told NDTV.

The minister also said that the Supreme Court's decision is a big setback for the students. "We wanted to clean up a number of things. Few thousand boys get selected in more than one college or in more than one state. Ultimately, they join only one college in one state, the other seats remain vacant. So, it's a loss of human resource," Mr Azad said.

Over seven lakh students took the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) this year for under-graduate courses conducted by the CBSE on behalf of the MCI.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the NEET cannot continue because the MCI is not empowered to hold it. Out of the three judges who heard the case, two said that the council is not empowered to conduct the exam. One disagreed.

There is another cloud over the Supreme Court judgement with allegations that a website leaked it. "It has shocked the public confidence in the judicial system, and it has to be probed. If the judgement was leaked then I am of the view it should be recalled and heard by a constitution bench because one of the judges," said Raju Ramachandran, senior lawyer, Supreme Court.

Justice Kabir who delivered this judgement yesterday, on his last day in office as Chief Justice, says he is shocked. "This is rather surprising. But it's entirely sick in the way it was kept in my chamber itself," he said.

The top court's judgement has been a bonanza for private medical colleges who will now have the right to conduct their own entrance exams. Critics point out that in many of these institutions, admissions are sold instead of being based on merit.

Without a common entrance exam, they argue, the colleges will have a free run to sell seats.

But the managements of private colleges, many of who had fought the common entrance exam, deny malpractices and say they must have the right to determine their own admission processes including exams. 

Students, meanwhile, worry that they will now have to spend much more on travelling to different places for the multiple entrance exams.

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