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Common entrance test for medical exams: Apex Court

Common entrance test for medical exams: Apex Court
Recalling its controversial 2013 judgment which had scrapped NEET, the apex court bench on Monday said the earlier order was delivered by a majority verdict without any discussion among members of the bench headed by then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on the day of his retirement.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice AR Dave was unanimous in saying that the July 18, 2013, 2:1 verdict of the three-judge bench, which had paved the way for private colleges to conduct their own examination, “needs reconsideration” as “the majority view has not taken into consideration some binding precedents.”

“Suffice it is to mention that the majority view has not taken into consideration some binding precedents and more particularly, we find that there was no discussion among the members of the Bench before pronouncement of the judgment,” observed the apex court. “We, therefore, allow these review petitions and recall the judgment dated July 18, 2013 and direct that the matters be heard afresh. The review petitions stand disposed of as allowed,” it said.

The verdict, delivered on the day when Kabir demitted office as Chief Justice, had created a buzz in the apex court corridors as an advocate had posted on a social networking site about the outcome in advance. Justice Dave then in his dissenting judgment had said the three judges of the bench “had no discussion on the subject due to paucity of time” which is normally done.

Allowing the petitions seeking review of the controversial 2013 judgment, the bench also comprising justices AK Sikri, RK Agrawal, Adarsh Kumar Goel and R Banumathi ordered the petitions filed by Christian Medical College, Vellore and others, on which the verdict was delivered, “be heard afresh”.

Recalling its earlier order, the SC said admission to private medical colleges will be on the basis of entrance tests conducted under the NEET. In the 2013 order, the apex court had ruled that admissions to private medical colleges did not need to be routed through NEET and they could admit students in undergraduate and post-graduate courses on the basis of tests conducted. The review was sought by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The order will affect over 600 private medical colleges in the country.

The SC bench, in a majority verdict on July 18, 2013, had held that MCI has no powers to conduct NEET as it can only regulate medical education. Students now appear for several entrance examinations conducted by government and private medical colleges. Earlier, a petitioner had claimed that the minority view in the judgment rightly held that if NEET is conducted under the supervision of the apex professional body, no extraneous factor come into play.
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