New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the Medical Council of India’s (MCI’s) notification calling for common entrance tests for medicine, dentistry and postgraduate medical courses, saying that the organization didn’t have the right to do so.
Private medical colleges will now be able to conduct independent entrance exams in line with the majority verdict of the three-judge bench. The bench clarified that its decision does not affect those who have been granted admission.
The bench said MCI’s notification “violates the rights of state and private institutions”.
Disagreeing with the majority, justice A.R. Dave said the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) was “legal” and would eliminate discrepancies and corrupt practices that have crept into the admission process.
“If only one examination in the country is conducted and admissions are given on the basis of the result of the said examination, in my opinion, unscrupulous and money-minded businessmen operating in the field of education would be constrained to stop their corrupt practices and it would help a lot, not only to the deserving students but also to the nation in bringing down the level of corruption,” Dave said in his dissenting note.
The prevailing opinion of the bench, headed by outgoing Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, was that though the proposed common test seemed “attractive”, it is “fraught with difficulties” and would “perpetuate the divide between urban and rural students in the name of giving credit to merit”.
Union health secretary Keshav Desiraju said he would be able to comment only after reviewing the judgment.
The court’s decision came on 115 petitions challenging the MCI notification on NEET for admission to MBBS and postgraduate medical courses conducted in colleges across the country.
On 13 May, the court had lifted the bar on declaration of results of examinations that had already been conducted and said the admission process could go ahead.
In another decision affecting the medical fraternity, the Supreme Court denied reservations in appointment for faculty posts in specialty and super-specialty courses in medical colleges. Relying on a precedent which noted that there should be no compromise on merit, the five-judge constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice Kabir said, “The very concept of reservation implies mediocrity and we will have to take note of the caution indicated in Indra Sawhney’s case.”
Vidya Krishnan contributed to this story.