Supreme Court agrees to review 2013 order scrapping NEET

Review paves way for implementation of the test; private colleges not covered by NEET to be affected the most


On 18 July 2013, the Supreme Court had held that the Medical Council of India’s notification to hold a common test for medical courses was invalid. Photo: Mint
On 18 July 2013, the Supreme Court had held that the Medical Council of India’s notification to hold a common test for medical courses was invalid. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to revisit its 2013 judgment scrapping the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses.

The court’s previous order had allowed private colleges to conduct their own examination.

A review will pave the way for the implementation of NEET until further orders. This move will affect private medical colleges which were not covered by the test.

The order was unanimously passed by a five-judge constitutional bench headed by justice Anil R. Dave. The bench said that it would hear afresh the case challenging the validity of the common entrance test.

“Suffice it is to mention that the majority view has not taken into consideration some binding precedents and more particularly, we find that there was no discussion among the members of the bench before pronouncement of the judgment,” the apex court said. “We, therefore, allow these review petitions and recall the judgment dated July 18, 2013 and direct that the matters be heard afresh. The review petitions stand disposed of as allowed,” it added.

However, the bench said that it was not giving detailed reasons for reconsideration of the court’s three-year-old verdict so the matter could be heard afresh without prejudice.

On 18 July 2013, a three-judge bench of the apex court had held that the Medical Council of India (MCI)’s notification to hold a common entrance exam for medical courses like MBBS, BDS and other post-graduate courses was invalid.

In the verdict, justice Dave had given a dissenting verdict, while justice Vikramjit Sen (since retired) had shared the views and findings of then chief justice Altamas Kabir on the common entrance test.

The judgment had held that the notification was against the framework of the constitution and, therefore, liable to be quashed. The decision was challenged by the Medical Council of India (MCI) through a review petition.

The apex court had ruled that MCI did not have jurisdiction to enforce the common entrance test on private medical colleges.

“It is great that the case is being reconsidered under today’s review order passed by the Supreme Court. If the court is able to devise a uniform mechanism which is transparent and does not prejudice the right of the minority groups, it would be a welcome step,” said K.K Aggarwal, president of Heartcare Foundation, an NGO working in the field of medical ethics.

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