NEET issue: Defying SC may be the only solution

Now camping in Delhi, education minister Vinod Tawde expects the Centre to use its executive power to override the Supreme Court’s ruling

Defying the Supreme Court directive appears to be the only solution to resolve the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) issue that dogs students from Maharashtra and other states that want to conduct their respective entrance examinations for this year’s medical and dental admissions.

Education Minister Vinod Tawde
Education Minister Vinod Tawde

Several state education ministers, including Maharashtra’s Vinod Tawde, spent Monday in New Delhi, to convince the Centre that overruling the SC through an ordinance would be the only way out to provide relief to students who are agitated because the time given to them for preparing for NEET is just two months.

The Supreme Court last month had ruled that NEET would be the only test for admission to medical and dental courses in the country, turning down an appeal by many states to hold separate entrance tests.

Talking to mid-day from Delhi, Tawde expected that the Union government would certainly promulgate an ordinance. “I strongly hope that the ordinance will solve the issue. I, along with several other ministers (from other states) today met Union Health Minister JP Nadda and urged him to help distressed students,” said Tawde.

Tawde said that an all-party meeting with Nadda, scheduled to be held late Monday evening, was expected to demand an ordinance. “What I understand is that the Centre would first approach the Supreme Court for seeking relief that many states have been demanding. It’s a procedure,” he said.

While addressing a press conference in Delhi on Monday, Nadda said that his department would move the Supreme Court.

Sources in New Delhi’s political circles said that the Union government has agreed in principal to promulgate an ordinance. “But the Union government does not want to hurt the sentiments of the apex court by taking any decision without approaching it. It’s a major issue because it amounts to conflict between the Centre and the Supreme Court. Generally, the two entities refrain from taking each other on,” a senior Union cabinet minister told mid-day.

When the Medical Council of India (MCI) had issued a notification in 2012 that admissions would be conducted through NEET, the Maharashtra government had moved the Supreme Court and the High Court, and the NEET was not enforced in 2012.

The next year, admissions were done through NEET. But after Christian Medical College, Vellore, moved the SC, NEET was again scrapped. So, in 2014 and 2015, the admissions in Maharashtra were conducted through MH-CET.

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