The Supreme Court of India (SC) on Wednesday put an end to all the speculations by ruling that the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) would be the only uniform Medical Entrance Test in order to get admission into the Undergraduate Medical courses in the country. National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) is conducted by NTA every year. 

It further said that all deemed universities, minority institutions and other similar private colleges would have to abide by the regulations. These institutions can’t claim that their rights have been violated while admitting the students as NEET is an exam that is conducted keeping in mind the interests of the nation on a larger scale.

The bench which delivered this ruling was headed by Justice Arun Mishra. It said that the regulatory measures that NEET has prescribed so that education could be classified under the realms of charity whose character has been lost. It is aimed at weeding out different malpractices and evil practices from the education system that still prevails. This process had left the system decayed for years. These regulatory measures do not intend to interfere with the linguistic or religious minority institutes’ rights to function in certain ways. 

The court had been acting upon a series of challenges that various rules as well as notifications that were made under Dentist Act or Medical Council of India (MCI) Act  so that NEET could be prescribed as an all- India exam in order to admit UG and PG students medical courses. 

The petitioners had filed this case with this chief intention that the NEET was responsible for taking away the rights of linguistic and religious minority institutes in order to administer the colleges. It also included the rights of these institutions to admit those students belonging to the minority committee by following their own rules. However, the Supreme court bench which also consisted of Justice M R Shah and Vineet Saran did not find any favour with this objection. 

It laid emphasis on this fact that rights that fall under Articles 19(1)(g) & 30 when read along with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Indian Constitution “for the minority institutions do not come in the way of securing transparency and recognition of merits in the matter of admissions.”

The Bench said that the NEET is a uniform entrance test which qualifies proportionality & rationality level. It is intended to keep a check on various maladies that have crept into the Medical education system. They are preventing capitation fees by giving admission to those students who come from lower middle class backgrounds and save them from exploitation. It also prevents commercialization and profiteering of Medical education system. 

The SC made this clarification that any other exam to admit medical students is not required. If Minority Institutes are really interested in imparting Medical education, then they should comply with regulations that prevail under current laws.

The Bench further said that these regulations are important. But they are not supposed to be dis-integrative or divisive. The existing rules enable the institutes to administer in an efficient and legal manner. They have no right to maladminister the education system which may result in being derogatory to the interests of our nation. The Judges regretted that the current education system is devoid of its moral of charity. In other words, it has ended up becoming a commodity.

The Judges said that it was important to remove weeds from the Education system which made the education system unfair and defeated merit at many stages. Due to all this, the State was forced to come up with a regulatory regime for all Medical Institutes as prescribed by the Constitution. 

Few of the reputed Medical Institutes which had challenged NEET were Kerala Private Medical College Management Association, Christian Medical College Vellore Association, Tamil Nadu Deemed University Association, Darus Salam Education Trust, Manipal University, AP Pvt Medical and Dental College Association, Karnataka Pvt Medical Trust among others.