NEET: Legal recourse only option, Azad says

Legal recourse was the only option for a review on the Supreme Court judgement quashing the single entrance test for medical courses, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday. "We have to see if we can go for the review or whatever else is required to do," he said. 

"The review petition is likely to be filed by next week, subject to the legal opinion," director general of health services (DGHS) Jagdish Prasad said. The SC verdict would undo all efforts made by the ministry and the medical council to streamline undergraduate and post-graduate medical admissions in the country, he added. 

Azad said students across the country would now have to appear in different examinations and still not be sure of admission. More students would have gained admission through a common entrance test, he said, adding that many seats blocked by students who get admission in more than one college, go vacant. 

A three-judge bench had on Thursday struck down the NEET as unconstitutional by two-to-one majority and ruled that the Medical Council of India (MCI) had no power to issue notifications in 2010 to regulate admissions to 271 medical colleges — 138 run by the government and 133 under private management, offering 31,000 MBBS and BDS as well as 11,000 MD seats. 

Several academicians including the Dr SK Sarin, ex-chairman of MCI's board of governors, criticized the move saying it would discourage poor students from applying for admission in private colleges, many of which charge stiff capitation fees. 

"Applying for multiple examinations involves huge expenditure - cost of the admission form, money spent in travelling to examination centers - and there is also variation in the examination pattern. NEET aimed at reduce the trouble," he said. 

The former MCI chief pointed out that NEET was given a go-ahead by the apex court itself in December 2010 following which a gazette notification was issued for its implementation. "I hope that the SC decision is revoked," Sarin added. 

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