What is NEET? National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET-UG is an entrance examination in India.
Purpose of NEET To reduce the mental and financial burden on medical aspirants, reduce malpractice, etc.
Background NEET was declared illegal and unconstitutional by Supreme Court of India in 2013.
Grounds on which it was struck down in 2013 T.M.A. Pai (2002) case, PA Inamdar case, Article 30 of constitution, etc.
On what ground it has been restored in 2016? Ground realities of the economically backward students who have to travel from state to state to take entrance examinations and other reasons.
Opposition from states According to states NEET goes to the heart of linguistic federalism.
Note T.M.A Pai case
What is NEET?
- The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET-UG is an entrance examination in India, for students who wish to study any graduate medical course (MBBS), dental course (BDS) or postgraduate course (MD / MS) in government or private medical colleges in India.
- It is conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
- It replaced the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) and all individual MBBS exams conducted by states or colleges themselves.
Purpose of NEET
- To reduce the mental and financial burden on medical aspirants who have to appear in a number of entrance examinations across the country.
- To prevent any form of malpractice such as donations, profiteering and capitation fees.
- To place the emphasis on merit as the only criteria for admission.
- Before the NEET regulations came about, the necessity of a common entrance test was considered and approved by the Supreme Court in a number of judgments. Partly on the basis of these judgments, the MCI introduced NEET regulations in 2010.
- Further, the MCI was ordered by the Supreme Court to take such steps as are necessary to implement NEET in another case, known popularly as the Simran Jain case.
- These regulations were challenged by several organisations, institutions and the several state governments. The cases were eventually transferred to the Supreme Court.
- NEET was declared illegal and unconstitutional by Supreme Court of India in 2013. However, it was restored on April 11 2016, after a five-judge Constitution bench recalled the earlier verdict and allowed the Central Government and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to implement the common entrance test till the court decides afresh on its validity.
Grounds on which it was struck down in 2013
- 11-judge bench in the T.M.A. Pai (2002) case ruled that unaided and minority institutions are entitled to their own selection which was also endorsed by 7-judge bench in P A Inamdar (2005) case. Moreover in St Stephens case(1991) court affirmed that even an aided minority institution could do further selection of students in terms of the aims of the institution.The T.M.A. Pai formula for unaided and minority institutions was autonomy in matters of admissions. Faced with this precedent, the court decided against NEET.
- The triple test laid down in the PA Inamdar case that the admission procedure must be fair, transparent and non exploitative was being followed by institutions and there was no violation.
- MCI has no power to conduct examinations.
- NEET is violative of the rights of private medical colleges under Article 19(1)(g), that is, freedom to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
- NEET violates the rights of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions as guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution.
- Regulating power of Medical council of India flows from a statue and it cannot have over riding effect over the fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 which protect religious practises and the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
- Under Indian Medical Council Act (IMC ACT) furnishing of regulations to the state government for consideration is mandatory. Section 19A(2) essentially states that all regulations that the MCI wants to notify must be first sent to the State Government to provide their opinion.
On what ground it has been restored in 2016?
The order states that the 2013 judgment did not consider certain binding precedents, which are as follows:-
- Prescribing standards of education includes the power to conduct Common Entrance test was held in Veterinary Council of India vs Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
- The judgement didn’t take into consideration ground realities of the economically backward students who have to travel from state to state on short notice to take entrance examinations for different colleges causing their families huge financial burden.
- It has also not considered the fact that a patient who is receiving medical care from the doctor has a right to life and health under Article 21 and this would entail receiving care from highly competent and qualified doctors. It is not enough that the doctors have a desire to provide medical services; they must also be competent enough to provide them.
- In the Atlas Cycle Industries case it was held that if there is no penalty imposed for not complying with the section then it would be optional. In the present case, neither Section 19A (2) nor the IMC Act provides as to what shall happen in the event of non-compliance with Section 19A (2).
- Based on above SC allowed NEET in 2016.
Opposition from states
- According to states, NEET goes to the heart of linguistic federalism.
- Tamil Nadu and other states argue that their 10+2 allows poor Tamil students to be achievers. Andhra Pradesh had a constitutional amendment on distribution of seats. Most states had their own tests to suit their specific needs. The association tests (and fees) were overseen by special committees. Some famous and impeccably honest colleges (like Manipal) conducted their own exams. Some devised tests to ensure that medical candidates would serve the rural areas, like Christian Medical College, Vellore. MG College in Wardha added tests on Gandhian ethics. It would not be possible under NEET.
- Many boards throughout the country are not the same as ISC or CBSE, on which NEET tests are based. CBSE devises these tests. Thus the students from state board would be in a disadvantageous position.
- An English medium student has an advantage over a vernacular student. The structure of NEET is such. It was conducted only in English and reluctantly in Hindi.
Will a single exam conducted by government would be free of corruption?
- It cannot be guaranteed. For example Madhya Pradesh enacted legislation in 2007 to take away total control of all tests and fee fixation from private institutions, giving it to the state. But it has the worst track record. Its examining agency , Vyapam is involved in admission scam and Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) is investigating this scam.
- The point of the T.M.A. Pai judgment was (a) to accept that college and university education could not be provided by the government alone but by a powerful combination of the public and private sectors; (b) to prevent government interference by saying that unaided private colleges would have autonomy in matters of (i) admission of students (ii) governing bodies (iii) staff (subject to fairness and compliance with welfare statutes) and (iv) fees and finance subject to reasonableness.