New Delhi: A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking a review of its judgement scrapping the single common entrance test (NEET) for admissions to MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses in all medical colleges. The plea filed by NGO 'Sankalp', through lawyer Prashant Bhushan, has sought a review of the July 18 majority verdict of the apex court that had quashed the notifications for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) on the ground that it violated the rights of state and private institutions to administer such institutions.
Seeking the review on the grounds including that of rampant corruption in the absence of NEET, the plea said the verdict also needed to be re-looked as there was "no discussion at all among the judges before delivering it, which is apparent from the minority judgement itself."
"In fact, in the very second para of the judgement, it has been observed,'as the learned Chief Justice is to retire within a few days, I have to be quick and therefore, also short. Prior to preparation of our draft judgements, we had no discussion on the subject due to paucity of time '. It is respectfully submitted that this observation in the minority judgement makes it all the more necessary that the aforesaid judgement is reviewed," it said.
The judgement quashing the NEET was delivered by a three judge bench headed by (retired) Chief Justice Altamas Kabir by a 2-1 division. The view of the then CJI was shared by Justice Vikramjit Sen, while Justice A R Dave had dissented and upheld the NEET saying the policy was "legal" as it would stop corrupt practice which enabled undeserving students to get admissions by paying huge capitation fees or donations.
"In fact, one of the main considerations of having one common entrance test conducted by Medical Council of India is to check the malaise of money-making business in the admission process by selling their seats in crores, which has been going on for last so many years in private colleges," it said.
The petition said "one of the main objectives of having NEET was to check rampant corruption/backdoor entries of non-deserving candidates to this highly skilled and respected profession," the petition said while referring to a recent sting operation on how private colleges sell seats in medical colleges in return for huge money.
The majority judgement completely erred in observing that there has not been any complaint of maladministration in the admission process in these private colleges." The review petition also said the minority view in the judgement rightly held that if the NEET is conducted under the supervision of the apex professional body, no extraneous and irrelevant factors like caste, creed, social or economic standing would come into play.
The judgement was sought to be reviewed on the ground that it failed to appreciate that a common entrance test can by no stretch of imagination curtail the fundamental right to carry own profession guaranteed in the Constitution. It also said the court had failed to appreciate that the right guaranteed to religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions does not allow them to "mal-administer" such institutions.
"As has been rightly held by the minority judgement that under NEET though the students can be selected only on the basis of their merit, it would be open to states to follow their reservation policy and it would also be open to the institutions based on religious or linguistic minority to select students of their choice, provided the students so selected have secured minimum marks prescribed at the NEET,"it said.
The petition said the minority view held that NEET would not affect the rights of minorities and on the contrary, "standard quality of input would reasonably assure them of sterling quality of the final output of the physicians or dentists who pass through their educational institutions."