The Supreme Court of India has decided to review the judgment delivered on 18 July 2013 that invalidated the single-window National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) conducted for uniform admission norms for MBBS, BDS and MD seats in all medical colleges.
After receiving several review petitions from the private medical colleges and the counter plead filed by the Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI), which had framed NEET, a bench of Justices including H L Dattu, A R Dave and Vikramjit Sen decided to hear in open court the arguments of advocates from both sides.
The private medical colleges wanted autonomy to conduct their own eligibility-cum-entrance test for taking admissions in MBBS, BDS and MD courses.
Delivered by then Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir on his last day in office, the July 18 judgment had allowed private medical colleges to design and structure their own admission process and charge their own respective capitation fees.
Forming majority in the three-judge bench, Justices Kabir and Sen demanded to quash NEET, saying MCI had no power to issue the notification in 2010 to regulate admissions to 271 medical colleges -- 138 government colleges and 133 under private autonomy—for 31,000 MBBS and BDS seats and 11,000 MD seats through a single-window admission process.
Justice Dave had opposed the decision strongly, asserted that there was no proper discussion on the draft majority verdict, which seemed to have taken in rush as retirement of the CJI was near. He had also advocated that the NEET have been beneficial to students.
The SC's decision to quash NEET had left students and parents in despair as the single-window system had promised transparency and relief to medical aspirants from appearing in several entrance tests, travelling from one examination centre to another. NEET also promised respite from inflexible capitation fees.
The health ministry was the first to file a review petition.