By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : On December 6 the Supreme Court allowed
candidates aged 25 years and above to apply and appear
in the NEET-UG 2019 examination.
In its interim order the apex court directed the
National Testing Agency (NTA), set up to conduct the
NEET exams, to keep its portal open for a week to enable
candidates to apply for the exam. The court
impleaded NTA as a party in the case, asking it to file
its response in four weeks and posted the case for
SC damns govt for NEET order but refuses to stay
A three-judge Bench led by Justice S.A. Bobde observed
that “If they are allowed to appear in the examination,
they shall take the examination provisionally subject to
the final outcome of these matters (case)”.
The medical aspirants Jalaludheen T. and others had
approached the Supreme Court against a Medical Council
of India norm laying down upper age limits for applying
for NEET for MBBS and BDS courses.
The group of aspirants have challenged the Delhi High
Court’s May 11 judgement dismissing the pleas
challenging the MCI notification of January 22, 2018,
laying down the upper age limit of 25 years and 30 years
for general and reserved categories, respectively.
The students have argued that the limitation of 25 years
was “completely arbitrary”.
They said lifting the upper age limits' criterion would
usher in more competitiveness, talent and would be
ultimately for the betterment of the medical
professions. They said the country needed more doctors.
However, the High Court had earlier struck down a clause
in the January 22 notification, which barred candidates
who have studied in open school or students who have had
Biology or Biotechnology as an additional subject or
those who had taken more than two years to complete
their 11th and 12th or those who had studied privately
from appearing in NEET.
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On July 14 the three judge Supreme Court
bench hearing the
Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) case criticised the
NEET ordinance calling it "disturbing,
unwarranted and not proper" but refused to stay it in
the interest of the students.
The bench, comprising
Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, Justice A R Dave and Justice
Adarsh K Goel said that staying
ordinance at this stage would trigger chaos as lakhs of
students across 17 States have already written exams in
their respective States.
The ordinance, called
the Indian Medical Council
(Amendment) Ordinance 2016
issued by the government on May 24, 2016
allowed States to conduct their own common entrance
exams for admission to MBBS and BDS seats in government
colleges despite the Supreme Court order on
May 9, 2016
that only NEET would prevail.
"Prime facie, we found that the validity of
the ordinance is in doubt. Since 50% of the states (17)
had already held their examinations, we do not grant any
relief," the bench said.
The court said it favoured a single common entrance
test for all medical colleges in order to bring
uniformity in the examination in the interest of
students and for maintaining a minimum standard.
In a strong comment on medical colleges admitting
students after taking money, Justice Dave said, "What to
talk about the middle class. It is even impossible for
upper middle class candidates to get admission in
medical colleges. Think of it..if you and I have to be
treated by a doctor who paid Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore
NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust and Anand Rai, who
claimed to be Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam
whistleblower, sought a stay on the May 24 ordinance
that allowed states to conduct their own exams for
academic session 2016-17.
Opposing the prayer Attorney General Mukul
Rohatgi submitted that the NEET was mooted in the
Medical Council of India regulations as part of the
subordinate legislation and the government had power to
regulate it. Countering petitioner's plea, he said it
would affect lakhs of students, if the ordinance was
May 9 order was passed despite objections from
several States and private medical colleges that they
have their own exams and many are underway or about to
begin. The court simply had asked then to fall in line.
Expressing its displeasure the bench said : “Your
move to bring this ordinance despite our order was not
proper. It was unwarranted. It should not have happened.
When the court said ‘no’ to State exams, you disregard
us and issued an ordinance for State exams... Did you
not think about the confusion it would cause to the
children? After all these are our children,” Justice
Dave told Attorney-General.
Mr. Rohatgi said that the ordinance was not meant as an
affront to the Supreme Court’s authority.
He said the ordinance merely opened an “option” for
States to either opt for NEET or conduct their exams
exclusively for State seats for the current academic
is back, SC bench scraps earlier judgement
By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : In a landmark move the Supreme Court of
India on April 11 recalled its one of the most
controversial judgements --
case judgement -- and ordered that "the
case be heard afresh".
The case, called
National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)
case was delivered on July 18, 2013 by the Chief Justice
of India Altamas Kabir a day
before he was to retire, giving ample relief to private
medical colleges. Some
private medical colleges had challenged the Medical
Council of India and Dental Council of India regulations
on admissions to medical and dental college -- and the
relief allowed them to have their way in the matter of
recall of the judgement
status quo ante has been restored and the MCI has
been told to organise a combined all-India admission
test for private and government medical colleges.
However, the MCI vice-chairman Dr C V
Bhirmanandham has expressed his inability to hold the
all-India test this year because of paucity of time and
this may allow the private players to have their way
this year as well.
Hearing the review petitions on April 11
the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by
Justice A R Dave and comprising Justices A K Sikri, R K
Agrawal, A K Goel and R Banumathi recalled the
dated July 18, 2013 which had quashed NEET.
It said the “majority verdict“ delivered by then Chief
Justice Altamas Kabir did not consider an earlier SC
judgment that was binding on the bench, nor had he
consulted other members of his bench.
Incidentally Justice A R Dave, who headed
the 5-judge Constitution bench that recalled the earlier
order had given a dissenting verdict in the NEET case.
In his April 11 order he specified that he was not
consulted by the then CJI
The April 11 order comes just a month
before separate entrance tests are to be held for
government and private medical colleges, putting lakhs
of students in confusion. There are over 400 medical
colleges in the country and lakhs of students sit for
admission tests for over 52,000 MBBS seats. Since 2013,
state governments and private colleges have conducted
separate examinations for these.
Monday's order leaves Medical Council of India with the
onerous task of conducting the NEET at a short notice as
students have already filled in forms for several
judgment reviving the NEET
was pronounced in open court, stunned lawyers appearing
for private colleges, pleaded that the SC clarify the
consequences. The bench replied that “natural
consequence“ was that NEET comes into force. It said the
court would give a fresh hearing on constitutional
validity of NEET but in the meantime, the exam will be
restored. The lawyers then pleaded that the MCI's
notification to bring NEET back be stayed till its
validity was decided afresh and said that in 2013, too,
an interim stay was given. The bench, however, rejected
the plea saying the interim order was only for one
academic session and it could not continue.
“After giving our thoughtful and due
consideration, we are of the view that the judgment
delivered in Christian Medical College needs
reconsideration,“ the bench said.
Recalling earlier order the Constitution
bench allowed review petitions by the Union government
and the Medical Council of India (MCI) against the July
18, 2013, verdict and restored the NEET 2011
“The NEET regulations are restored and MCI can conduct
the examinations pending the fresh judgement,” the order
According to the 2011 notification, the
CBSE was to conduct the tests for admission to MBBS and
BDS courses and the National Board of Examination for
the PG programmes.
The 2013 verdict
The 2013 verdict had created a buzz in
the apex court corridors as an advocate had posted the
outcome on a social networking site in advance. However,
Justice Kabir had reportedly said he was not aware of
the leak of the judgment.
While Justice Vikramjit Sen (since retired) had shared
the views and findings of Justice Kabir against the
NEET, Justice Dave had in his dissenting verdict said
that the three judges "had no discussion on the subject
due to paucity of time". Justice Dave had stressed that
this was not the normal practice.
Justice Dave had written in 2013 that
“one of the main considerations of having one common
entrance test conducted by the Medical Council of India
is to check the malaise of money-making business in the
admission process by selling their seats for crores,
which has been going on for the last so many years in
The Christian Medical College, Vellore;
the States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; several
associations of private medical colleges; DD Medical
College and DD Hospital, Tamil Nadu; and various private
medical colleges had filed petitions in High Courts and
obtained an interim stay on the applicability of the
NEET on them. On the MCI’s petitions, these cases were
transferred to the Supreme Court.