(Last Updated On: May 6, 2016)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled out separate entrance tests this year by private medical colleges for admission to MBBS/BDS courses but said it would consider the states’ plea against implementation of NEET this year on the ground that students were caught unprepared.

The court had on April 28 made performance in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) the sole criteria for getting admission to government and private medical colleges and said the May 1 AIPMT would be considered as first phase of NEET. But this created confusion as by that time several states had already conducted entrance tests.
With a large number of private medical colleges and governments moving the SC seeking clarifications and modification of the April 28 order, a bench of Justices AR Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and Adarsh K Goel on Thursday said, “There is no question of permitting examinations by private colleges.” Tests conducted by states continue to be under the court’s consideration.

The court asked the Centre, CBSE and Medical Council of India to suggest ways to accommodate states, which pleaded that they had a statutory obligation to conduct entrance examination for medical colleges run by them. They also said students, particularly from rural areas, would not be able to compete for NEET as they had prepared for state examinations held in vernacular medium.

Various states, including J&K, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UP, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh told the bench that once they had conducted the entrance tests under the law, NEET could not have been imposed on them. Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam and lawyer Sunil Fernandes, appearing for J&K, said the state enjoyed special status and it had been allowed to hold separate entrance test.

The bench, however, said states were free to fix eligibility criteria for admitting students. The Centre, which had earlier supported the states, batted for NEET and told the bench that a common entrance test did not violate state laws. ” Who is to be admitted, what should be the eligibility criteria and reservation criteria are to be decided by the states,” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said.

He, however, suggested that many students, who had applied for AIPMT but did not appear, should be allowed to appear in the second phase. The SG also suggested holding a composite test on July 24 .

CBSE counsel Pinky Anand said it was difficult to hold a composite test as the number of students would be huge. Around 6.5 lakh students had taken the May 1 NEET. The court adjourned hearing in the case to Friday.

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