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SC refuses urgent hearing of plea against NEET Ordinance


New Delhi : The Supreme Court today refused to accord urgent hearing and grant interim stay on the operation of recently-promulgated ordinance which allows states to continue with their separate entrance tests for MBBS and BDS courses for academic year 2016-17.

“Let us not create further confusion on medical entrance test and let there be some certainty for the students. Moreover, this (ordinance) is there for one year only,” a vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud said while declining urgent hearing of the plea filed by an Indore-based doctor on the issue.

“Let the matter come up for hearing after the (summer) vacation,” it said.

The court prima facie did not agree with the submission of senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for petitioner Anand Rai who also claims to be a whistle blower in the Vyapam scam, that the Government was not competent to nullify the judicial order by promulgating the ordinance.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, said the ordinance, which keeps state boards outside the purview of single medical entrance test NEET, is only for this academic year and the government was well within its right to come up with it.

He also objected to the plea for urgent hearing, saying it is not an “earth shattering” matter.

States like Tamil Nadu, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, which conduct separate tests in their respective vernacular languages, had demanded this be conatinued for the present academic session only by keeping interests of students in mind, Rohatgi said, adding that NEET question papers are either in English or in Hindi.

Yesterday, Rai had filed the plea seeking quashing of the ordinance, which got Presidential assent on May 24.

The plea had also sought a stay on the operation of the ordinance as an interim relief.

Referring to Centre’s stand to support the single-window National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to MBBS and dental courses, the plea said the government has now taken a “complete U-turn” which shows “mala fide and ill intent towards the process of admission of students who shall suffer the most”.

Meanwhile, NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust, which had earlier moved the apex court in support of NEET, today also filed a fresh plea challenging the ordinance.

The plea, moved through advocate Amit Kumar, said that the ordinance is “illegal” as it is inconsistent with the fundamental rights.

“The impugned Ordinance exempting the State Quota seats from the purview of NEET for academic session 2016-2017 are clearly interfering with the above order of this court and are nothing but transgression by the Executive on the exercise of judicial functions of this court,” the plea said.

“The Central Government practically sat as Appellate Court on the judgment and order passed by this court on May 9, and promulgated the impugned ordinances granting stay on the operation of judgment and order dated May 09, 2016 passed by this Court qua the State quota medical/dental seats for academic session 2016-2017,” it said.

Around 6.5 lakh students have already taken he exam for the first phase of NEET held on May 1. The next phase of the exam is scheduled for July 24.

The ordinance provided that students of state government boards will not have to sit for NEET on July 24 and they, however, will have to become part of the uniform entrance exam from the next academic session.

The exam will be applicable for those applying for central government and private management institutions under the management quota.

The apex court had on May 9 rejected pleas of state governments and minority institutions to allow them to hold separate entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses for 2016-17, saying only NEET provides for conducting such test for admission to these courses.

The top court had approved the schedule put before it by the Centre, CBSE and Medical Medical Council of India (MCI) for treating All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for May 1 as NEET-1.

It had said that those who have not applied for AIPMT will be given opportunity to appear in NEET-II on July 24 and the combined result would be declared on August 17, so that the admission process can be completed by September 30.

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