New Delhi: The Supreme Court today cleared the decks for holding of National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), a single common entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses, in two phases for the academic year 2016-17 in which around 6.5 lakh candidates are likely to appear.
The apex court approved the schedule put before it by the Centre, CBSE and the Medical Medical Council of India (MCI) for treating All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for May 1 as NEET-1 and 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.
The order would imply that all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under the NEET and those examinations which have already taken place or slated to be conducted separately stands scrapped.
The order, ending all uncertainity, was pronounced after rejecting the opposition for holding NEET by states including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Association of Karnataka Medical Colleges besides minority institutions like CMC Vellore which had contended that NEET cannot be imposed on them.
The apex court order also revives the Government's Decemeber 21, 2010 notification for holding single common entrance test through NEET with a clarification that any challenge on the issue would directly come before it and no High Court can interfere in it.
The court was of the view that since it has recalled its April 11 order, there was no hindrance in holding the single entrance test.
"In view of the submissions made on behalf of the respondents (Centre, CBSE, MCI), we record that NEET shall be held as stated by the respondents. We further clarify that notwithstanding any order passed by any Court earlier with regard to not holding NEET, this order shall operate. Therefore, no further order is required to be passed at this stage," a bench comprising Justices A R Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and A K Goel said.
While rejecting the contention that it would not be proper to hold NEET in view of the July 18, 2013 judgement which had scrapped the NEET, the bench said, "We do not agree with the first submission for the reason that the said judgement has already been recalled on April 11, 2016 and therefore, the notifications dated December 21, 2010 are in operation as on today."
"It may however be clarified that by this order hearing of the petitions which are pending before this Court will not be affected," the bench said.