SC turns down plea to stay NEET ordinance
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Centre’s ordinance allowing states to continue with their separate entrance tests for admission to MBBSBDS courses this year, saying it doesn’t want to create any confusion for the aspirants.
Thousands of candidates have faced uncertainty over the last one and a half months with the SC directing implementation of NEET at the eleventh hour when students were all set to appear in tests conducted by various states. The Centre brought an ordinance to exempt states from the single-window test. Admission to private medical colleges, however, will be through National Eligibility Entrance Test.
Taking a sympathetic view of aspirants facing uncertainty due to the legal battle, a bench of justices Prafulla C Pant and D Y Chandrachud turned down a plea to stay the ordinance, saying it would create further confusion for candidates who are to appear in state entrance examinations for medical courses. Paving the way for states to hold their tests, the Supreme Court said: “It will create further confusion for students. Let the students appear in examinations with some certainty.“
The bench said the validity of the ordinance would be examined after the summer vacation in the last week of June and refused to pass any interim order.
The court was hearing a petition alle ging that the ordinance was illegal and arbitrary and should be quashed as it frustrated the SC’s decision to implement NEET. The petition, filed by Vyapam scam whistleblower Anand Rai, said the ordinance was in complete contradiction with the Centre’s stand before the SC where the government had backed implementation of single test for ad mission in MBBSBDS courses in all medical colleges.
Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for Rai, told the bench the ordinance virtually reversed the order and the government could not upset the court’s order by executive decision.
“In light of the submissions made before the Supreme Court and now a complete U-turn from that stand by the Centre, the present ordinance shows mala fide and ill-intent towards the process of admission of students who shall suffer the most because of this see-saw of rule-making by the government,“ he said.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, ho wever, defended the Centre’s decision, saying the ordinance was needed as many states had already conducted the tests before the SC passed the order. He said the ordinance was also brought in to protect the interests of students who were to appear in state examinations in vernacular language and would have faced difficulty in NEET which is to be conducted in Hindi and English.
The court, after a brief hearing, agreed with the plea of AG and refused to stay the Centre’s decision, saying any interference at this stage would create more problems for students.