The Supreme Court on Friday clarified that students who appeared for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-I) on May 1 would not be permitted to appear for the second phase of the common entrance exam on July 24.
“Those students who had appeared in NEET Phase-I shall not be permitted to appear in NEET Phase-II, but students who could not appear for NEET Phase-I may appear in NEET Phase-II,” a three-judge Bench, led by Justice Anil R. Dave, said in a short order released late in the evening.
The Bench further added that common exams for admission to MBBS or BDS studies conducted by any private college or association or any private/deemed university would not be permitted. In short, all of them will have to go along NEET 2016-17.
The court said it would decide on the fate of students who had appeared or are due to appear for examinations conducted by States as per their State laws on May 9, after hearing Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar.
But during the hearing, court gave prima facie support to Medical Council of India’s (MCI) position that State governments should be allowed to conduct their own competitive exams for medical admissions in State government colleges alongside NEET as a “special case” for this year alone.
It, however, agreed to wait for a final word from the Centre, which will hold talks with several States over the weekend to resolve the issue of having States’ exams along with NEET.
The court’s refusal to provide NEET-I students a second chance came following MCI statement which cited that it was a “misconceived” argument that students who appeared in NEET-I were caught off guard by the apex court’s revival of NEET on April 28.
MCI counsel and senior advocate Vikas Singh asserted that the AIPMT syllabus was out since January 2016 and the NEET had merely replaced AIPMT on May 1 in name and not in syllabus. Secondly, Mr. Singh said AIPMT was considered a “gateway” to prestigious medical schools in the country, and it was highly unlikely that students would have taken it lightly.