NEET: SC begins hearing, JK’s plea to come up tomorrow 

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Agencies

New Delhi, May 3: The Supreme Court today commenced the crucial hearing in the pleas of state governments, private medical colleges and minority institutions like CMC Vellore and Ludhiana seeking nod to hold pre-scheduled separate entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses which was opposed by Medical Council of India.

The apex court, which took note of the “peaceful” holding of the first phase of the a single common entrance test through NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test” on May 1, said “there was no urgency” in passing the order on the fresh pleas and would give the decision after hearing all the stake holders.

It asked the Centre and CBSE to give wide publicity about holding of the second phase of NEET on July 24 through press notes and internet so that those who were unable to take the May test can try their luck.

Before commencing the hearing, the top court asked the Centre and CBSE to provide it with the data about the number of candidates appearing in the first phase of the NEET from each state.

It also took note of the contention raised by various state governments about the language issue, i.e. use of vernacular languages by asking Gujarat Government to place before it the question papers of last two years.

Just before the hearing, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana cited special constitutional provisions to contend that only the state can have the say in holding examination for MBBS and BDS courses.

Jammu and Kashmir government cited constitutional provision of Article 370 read with Article 35 A and section 6 of the J&K constitution to contend that it is the state which is entitled to conduct the test and the students cannot be admitted to these courses from outside the state through NEET.

Further, on the educational aspect, only the state government has the legislative competence and Centre cannot interfere in it.

While a bench comprising Justices A R Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and A K Goel, was formulating modalities of the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the MCI, opposed the contention of vernacular language, saying that the MBBS and BDS course across the country is being taught in English.

A three member panel was set up on Monday to oversee the functioning of the MCI with regard to the NEET. The panel will be headed by former CJI RM Lodha.

Next Monday, a bench headed by Anil R Dave will give the hearing on the matter.

The apex court had on April 29, said that the entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17 will be held as per the schedule through the two-phased common entrance test NEET on May 1 and July 24.

On April 28, the court had rejected 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.

It had also revived the government’s December 21, 2010 notification for holding a 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.