SC rebukes Centre on NEET ordinance, but refuses to Stay the same
New Delhi: Supreme Court said the validity of the Centre's ordinance allowing states to conduct separate entrance tests for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the 2016-17 academic year was "in doubt", but rejected a plea seeking a stay on it saying half the states have already conducted their tests.
It also dismissed the plea for centralised counselling of successful candidates of various entrance tests, saying "50 per cent states have conducted their tests."
“Prima facie, we find that the validity of the NEET ordinance is open to doubt. But, as 50 per cent of the States have already conducted their exams, we do not want to grant the petitioners any interim relief”, the Bench said while refusing to grant interim stay in the matter.
“We find that even after our order on May 9, several States ignored us and continued with their own exams. This was not in good taste. Your ordinance was not warranted. All we wanted was to bring in uniformity. We find that out of 36, 17 States have already held their own exams,..Your move to bring this ordinance despite our order was not proper. It was unwarranted. It should not have happened. When the court said ‘no’ to State exams, you disregard us and issue an ordinance for State exams… Did you not think about the confusion it would cause to the children? After all these are our children,” , Justice Dave said.
Attorney General countered the observations made by the Bench and said “Our ordinance only amends the NEET notification. This amendment to have State exams this year along with NEET has already been adopted by more than half the country… Who are these people here to come to court? If States or students have a grievance with our ordinance, they have to come to court. They have not come,” reports Livelaw.
The apex court was hearing pleas filed by Anand Rai, who claims to be a whistle blower in the Vyapam scam, and others challenging the ordinance saying the Centre was not competent to nullify the judicial order by promulgating the ordinance.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had earlier told the court that the ordinance, which keeps state boards outside the purview of single medical entrance test NEET, is only for this academic year and the government was well within its right to come up with it.
Rai in his plea had sought quashing of the ordinance, which got Presidential assent on May 24, and sought a stay on its operation as an interim relief.
The apex court had on May 9 rejected the pleas of state governments and minority institutions to allow them to hold separate entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses for 2016-17, saying only National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) provides for conducting test for admission to these courses.
The top court had approved the schedule put before it by the Centre, CBSE and Medical Medical Council of India (MCI) for treating All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for May one as NEET-1.
It had said that 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 is completed by September 30.