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SC gives NEET green light for all aspiring medical students [UPDATE-2: READ DETAILS & JUDGMENT]

The Supreme Court on Thursday said students aspiring for admission to under-graduate medical courses will have to appear in the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) as it declined pleas for exemption by Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

A bench of Justice Anil R Dave, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice AK Goel gave its nod to two-phase holding of the NEET by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on 1 May and 24 July, the declaration of results on 17 August this year, and counselling and admissions later.

The court also made it clear that by its 11 April order, recalling its 18 July, 2013 order, the 21 December, 2010 notification making NEET mandatory for admission in undergraduate and post graduate courses stood restored.

By its 18 July, 2013 order, the apex court in a split verdict of 2-1 had held that NEET was flawed both procedurally and substantially. While then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Vikramajit Sen (since both retired) had junked the NEET, Justice Dave disagreed with the majority view.

Appearing for one of the parties seeking to be heard, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan said: “I can’t say that the dissenting judge was pushing his case” and the recall of does not mean that it has been set aside.

The 11 April order, by which 18 July, 2013 order was recalled, was passed by the five judge constitution bench of Justice Dave, Justice Goel, Justice AK Sikri, Justice RK Agrawal, and Justice R Banumathi.

The CBSE had divided it into NEET-I and NEET-II, which Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand informing the court that about 6.5 lakh students would be taking entrance exam in NEET-I and another 2.5 lakh in NEET-II

“We don’t agree with the submission” that it was “not proper to hold NEET”, said the bench, declining plea by three states that they have their own statutory regime for holding their separate entrance examinations.

However, the order passed on Thursday today made it clear that not accepting of the plea by Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would not affect their petitions challenging the 2010 notification of NEET

Similarly the court rejected the plea by the associations of private medical colleges from Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh that they be allowed to admit students on the basis of exams conducted by them. The CMC Vellore too urged the court it may be allowed to admit students’ in undergraduate medical courses on the strength of entrance test conducted by it.

Senior counsel PP Rao, L Nagashwar Rao and Harin Rawal appearing for the Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana respectively, argued that the medical admissions in their states were done on the basis of qualifying or entrance examinations conducted as per their statutory regime.

They told the court that their their regime had the sanction of article 371(d) of the constitution and had received the president’s assent, and contended that unless the court hold their statutory regime as void, they could not be asked to follow the NEET route for admission in undergraduate and post graduate medical courses.

Appearing for Tamil Nadu, Nagashwar Rao said that since 2007, the admission in medical course in the state were on the basis of the qualifying marks obtained by the aspirants. He said that if NEET was thrust on them suddenly at this stage, they many not succeed in the competitions at all as all India competition requires a lot of preparation.

The bench held in its judgment:

In view of the submissions made on behalf of the respondents, we record that NEET shall be held as stated by the respondents. We further clarify that notwithstanding any order passed by any Court earlier with regard to not holding NEET, this order shall operate. Therefore, no further order is required to be passed at this stage.

It may be mentioned here that some learned counselrepresenting those who are not parties to this petitionhave made submissions that in view of the judgment passedin Christian Medical College, Vellore & Ors. Vs. Union ofIndia & Ors., reported in (2014) 2 SCC 305, it would notbe proper to hold NEET and this order should not affectpending matters.

We do not agree with the first submission for thereason that the said judgment has already been recalledon 11th April, 2016 and therefore, the Notifications dated21st December, 2010 are in operation as on today.

Itmayhoweverbeclarifiedthatbythisorderhearing of the petitions which are pending before thisCourt will not be affected.The petition be now listed in due course.

The counsel for the respondents had submitted, according to the judgment:

“1. AIPMT 2016 to be held on 1 st May, 2016 shall be phase I of NEET.

2. Phase II of NEET for the left out candidates shall be held on 24th July, 2016 by inviting applications with fee.

3. Combined result of both the Tests shall be declared on 17th August, 2016.4. CBSE will provide All India Rank. Admitting Authorities will invite applications for Counselling and merit list shall be drawn based on All India Rank.5. All associated with conduct of Exam including Central Govt., State Govt., institutions, Police etc. will extend all necessary support to CBSE and permit security measures like
use of electronic and communication devices Jammers etc. for timely and fair conduct of the NEET.

6. Any difficulty with regard to implementation of orders of this Court the
stake holders may approach this Hon'ble Court."The learned counsel have also given the details with regard to the time when the result would be declared and
counselling would take place.

The court approved the CBSE schedule for holding NEET exams on May 1, 2016, and July 24, 2016, the declaration of results on August 17 this year, and counselling and admissions later.

Read NEET judgment (PDF)

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