Supreme Court alludes another bench plea against NEET ordinance


Supreme Court on Monday alluded to another bench plea asking repealing of the promulgated ordinance which gives a way to the states to continue their separate entrance tests for MBBS and BDS courses, besides regular medical entrance exam NEET for academic year 2016-17.

“This plea will go to the bench, headed by Justice A R Dave, who is hearing the related matter”, a bench consisting Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud said. The plea was filed in the end of May by Indore-based doctor Anand Raoi who also claims to be the squealer in the Vyapam Scam. Besides asking quashing of the ordinance which got Presidential assent on May 24, the plea has also sought a stay on its operation as an interim relief.

Referring to Centre's stand to back the single-window National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions, the plea said the government has now taken a "complete U-turn" which shows "malafide and ill intent towards the procedure of admission of students who shall suffer the most". "The usual democratic legislative process involves the people's representatives in the two Houses openly acting out a law after full consideration and discussion, an ordinance seeks to evade this procedure, for it is drafted clandestinely in government chambers and is promulgated without an open discussion. Hence it becomes even more relevant that the ordinance-making power is not called up lightly but only when it’s absolutely necessary to do so, and the situation cannot be otherwise met effectively," it said.

"The present ordinance is an absolute contradictory stand by the respondent (Centre) within a span of 4 weeks, this is also a deferred stage as the examination itself is to be scheduled within the next 8 weeks as per the Schedule given by the Respondent Union itself and the discriminating ordinance further creates confusion amongst students." The ordinance keeps state boards out of the sphere of uniform medical entrance examination NEET for the present academic session.

The executive order is intended at "partially" overturning a Supreme Court order which said the NEET to be scheduled on July 24, the plea said. 6.5 lakh students have already taken the first phase of NEET test on May 1, while, the next phase of the exam will held on July 24.

The ordinance provided that students of state government boards will not have to go for NEET on July 24 and they will have to become part of the uniform entrance exam from the next academic session. The exam will be applicable for those applying for central government and private management institutions under the management quota.

The apex court had on May 9 casted off pleas of state governments and minority institutions to conduct separate entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses for 2016-17, saying only NEET can conduct such test for admission to these courses.

The top court had approved the schedule put before it by the Centre, CBSE and Medical Council of India (MCI) for treating All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for May 1 as NEET-1. It had said those who have not applied for AIPMT will be given opportunity to appear in NEET-II on July 24 and the combined result would be declared on August 17, so that the admission process can be completed by September 30.