SC rejects common medical entry exam

FP

Rejecting the one-nation-one-test proposal of previous human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, the Supreme Court Thursday held the all-India common entrance test for medical admissions as illegal and unconstitutional, saying it interfered with the rights of private, minority and linguistic institutions to admit students.

In a 2-1 split verdict on the validity of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), a bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said that the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India lacked legal authority to control admissions to MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses. This view was shared by Justice Vikramjit Sen.

"The right of the MCI and the DCI to prescribe such standards has been duly recognised by the courts. However, such right cannot be extended to controlling all admissions to the medical courses, being run by different medical institutions in the country. At best, a certain degree of control may be exercised in regard to aided institutions, where on account of the funds being provided by the government, it may have a say in the affairs of such institutions," the bench said as it quashed the four notifications issued by the MCI in 2010 and 2012 on NEET.

It said that neither the MCI Act nor the regulations had vested MCI with any authority to conduct examinations for NEET, thereby effectively taking away the right of medical colleges and institutions, including those run by religious and linguistic minorities, to make admissions on the basis of their own rules and procedures.

"The power to frame regulations for the conduct of professional examinations is a far cry from actually holding the examinations and the two cannot be equated...we also have no hesitation in holding that the MCI is not empowered under the Act to actually conduct the NEET," it said.

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