The Union cabinet on Friday approved bringing of an ordinance to bypass the Supreme Court’s order which mandated the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-2016 for admission to medical courses across India.
The ordinance proposal seeks to defer the implementation of the SC’s May 9 order by a year.
Despite protests from states, the first round of exams under the new NEET format has already been held. The second round was due on July 24.
The ordinance will enable state governments as well as individual institutions like AIIMS to conduct their own admission test this year.
Following the apex court’s ruling, many states requested for a year to implement NEET. They argued that hastening the implementation of NEET would jeopardise careers of lakhs of students applying for MBBS and BDS courses in the country.
Parents had called the SC’s decision “hasty” and demanded that NEET be deferred by at least a year. Hundreds of parents in Mumbai even took to the streets to protest against the national medical entrance exam.
Representatives from all states agreed that there were practical difficulties in implementing the NEET from this year, and urged Nadda to appeal to the court to defer the centralised test for the 2017-18 academic year.
Vinod Tawade, education and health minister of Maharashtra, said, “The main thing is to protect the future of the students. The syllabus for the state examination is different and the students giving exam in regional languages will also have a problem. So, we have requested the minister to appeal to the court and if the court does not agree then the exam can be differed using ordinance.”
Karnataka’s health minister UT Khader also agreed NEET should be moved to next academic session saying it will be very difficult for the students of regional languages to take the test.
“We are all in favour of NEET and corruption-free medical education but implementing it this year would be a disadvantage for people who had prepared for state examinations. People going to coaching would be at an unfair advantage,” the state minister said.
The top court on April 11 had paved the way for Medical Council of India (MCI) to conduct NEET from the academic session 2016-17 for medical courses across the country.
Read more: Centre mulls moving SC to defer NEET-2 to next year
On May 16, health minister JP Nadda met state health ministers to hear their predicament following the SC order.
An All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) for admission to 15% seats in medical colleges is currently conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The test however does not extend to Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which conduct their own common entrance exam.