New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the NEET ordinance, saying that the challenge to its validity on the ground that it violated the constitution’s article 14 on right to equality could be raised when the court opened after the summer break.
A vacation bench of Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, while declining to pass any interim order, said that anything at this stage would create further confusion.
“It will create further confusion,” the bench said noting that the exemption carved out by the ordinance was only for this year.
The court’s response came as senior counsel Vivek Tankha appearing for PIL petitioner Anand Rai told the court that Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 was brought to “reverse” the apex court’s April 28 judgment providing for one nation, one test for admission to medical courses at undergraduate level.
Telling the court that “ordinance was not in public interest” and would encourage “corruption”, he said that it would create more confusion amongst the students.
Tankha said that the private medical colleges too are now saying that they would take students for their colleges from the common entrance test being conducted by the state governments.
Opposing the plea for staying the ordinance, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that it was promulgated to accommodate states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, who have already held their state-level entrance examinations for admitting students in government medical colleges and fill the quota of government seats in private medical colleges.
He said that the seats that would be covered by the ordinance were just 5 to 10 percent of those at the undergraduate level and rest remain under the NEET.
However, Tankha contested Rohatgi’s submission, noting that even the private medical colleges are looking to take students from such tests to escape NEET.
The apex court by its April 28 order had said that besides the NEET-I on May 1 (that now been held), there would be NEET-II on July 24 to accommodate the students who had not opted for NEET as they were pursuing state level entrance examinations. The schedule for NEET-II was given by the Central Board of Secondary Education that conducts NEET exam.
The ordinance, amended the Indian Medical Council Act’s section 10D that provides for uniform entrance examination for undergraduate and post graduate medical courses across the country.
The May 24 amendment says “…notwithstanding any judgement or order of any court, the provision of this section shall not apply in relation to the uniform entrance examination at the undergraduate level for the academic year 2016-17 conducted in accordance with any regulations made under this Act in respect of state government seats (whether in government medical colleges or in private medical colleges) where such state has not opted for such examinations”.