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AIPMT NEET 2016: SC ropes in MCI to talk whether states can make exceptions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Medical Council of India to respond to a batch of applications by various state governments and associations of private medical colleges seeking to hold their own separate examinations for admission to undergraduate medical courses.

The court sought the response as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and others sought a relook at the order making NEET mandatory for admission to undergraduate medical courses as they contended that their admission processes were governed by their respective state level laws and rules.

As the Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu's Vellore sought that they be permitted to continue with their own entrance examination, conducted since 1993, as their focus was taking Christian students, the bench of Justice Anil R Dave, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked why were they reluctant of taking "Christian" students who have succeeded in National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).

These are all classifications - SC/ST, minorities etc, the court said pointing out that it was always open for the CMC to have Christian students after the conduct of NEET, as senior counsel L Nageshwar Rao, appearing for CMC, pointed to the preference for students from the Christian community.

Asking why the college should be forced to take students from NEET, Nageshwar Rao said it intended to "only accrete Christian (students)" who will serve Christian charitable institutions.

However, the apparently unimpressed court said that NEET would save students from appearing in innumerable examinations and parents from spending money for buying forms for different exams.

But stressing the point that their right to have their own entrance exams for admitting students was a part of their right to run minority institutions, Nageshwar Rao said: "Right to admit students was a part of the right to run the minority institutions."

Appearing for CMC Ludhiana, counsel RD Narain Rao said that the Punjab government had appointed a committee for the entrance test and the institution was exempted.

Senior counsel KK Venugopal appearing for an association of private medical colleges said that Karnataka had its own statutory regime for the conduct of entrance examinations, and thus NEET should not be thrust on them.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Gujarat said that examds in Gujarat were being conducted in Gujarati language also.

The hearing by the three judge special bench came on a spate of applications by different states and association seeking exemption from NEET and permission to conduct their own entrance examinations.

Various states, including the associations of private medical colleges are aggrieved by the top court's 29 April order reiterating that admission to undergraduate medical courses will be only through the NEET to be conducted by the Central Board of School Education (CBSE).

The first phase of NEET was conducted on Sunday. The second phase will be held on 24 July.

Hearing will continue on 5 May.

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