The Supreme Court today cleared the decks for holding National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for the academic year 2016-17. The apex court said it will be undertaken in two phases in which around 6.5 lakh candidates are likely to appear.
The apex court also approved the schedule put before it by the Centre, CBSE and Medical Council of India (MCI) for All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for 1 May, which will be treated as NEET-1.
Those who have not applied for AIPMT will be given opportunity to appear in NEET-II on 24 July. The combined result would be declared on 17 August.
The bench had earlier directed the MCI, the Centre and CBSE to meet and decide a time frame for NEET to take place from the next academic session and directed them to place the blueprint before the bench before Thursday.
The counsel who is representing the centre, MCI and CBSE then told the bench that they were willing to hold NEET from 2016-17 itself and will provide their time-schedule on Thursday in front of the bench.
In various medical examinations that are presently taking place all over the country for admissions in 400 medical colleges in different courses, lakhs of candidates apply for it. For the last three years, as the NEET got scrapped by the Supreme Court, various state and private colleges were conducting their own separate entrance examinations, resulting in increasing number of medical examinations every year.
Noting that the aim of the health ministry is to facilitate and enable the Medical Council of India (MCI) and CBSE to conduct the entrance exams in a manner and time which would not cause "distress" to students, health minister J P Nadda said that it has been making efforts in this direction for a long time.
"Health minister J P Nadda has welcomed the order of the Supreme Court in the matter of conducting the entrance examination for admission to MBBS and Post Graduate Medical Courses via NEET this year," an official statement said.
"It is a milestone judgement," he stated, adding, "despite the challenges to conduct the exam this year the ministry is geared up to work with the other partners and stakeholders to ensure that the entrance exams are successfully held".
The order, ending all uncertainity, was pronounced after rejecting the opposition for holding NEET by states including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Association of Karnataka Medical Colleges besides minority institutions like CMC Vellore which had contended that NEET cannot be imposed on them.
"The aim of the Health Ministry is to facilitate and enable MCI and CBSE to conduct the entrance exams in a manner and time that would not cause distress to the lakhs of students appearing for the NEET.
"The ministry has been making efforts in this direction since a long time. The present order of the Supreme Court, will significantly strengthen the efforts of the Ministry to achieve this aim," Nadda said.
The apex court order also revives the government's 21 Decemeber 2010 notification for holding single common entrance test through NEET with a clarification that any challenge on the issue would directly come before it and no high court can interfere in it.