New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for releasing the results of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) which had earlier been put on hold by the Madras High Court.
After NEET was conducted for admissions into MBBS and BDS courses in all medical colleges across the country on May 7, a case was filed in the Madras High Court seeking its cancellation stating that it was not conducted on a level playing ground.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) approached the Supreme Court seeking the dismissal of the stay ordered by the Madras High Court on the declaration of results until the final disposal of the case.
An apex court vacation bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Deepak Gupta issued a stay on the High Court's stay and ordered the CBSE to release the results and conduct counselling for admissions at the earliest.
The CBSE had on June 9 moved the top court seeking an immediate stay on the Madras High Court order restraining the publication of NEET 2017 results for admission to MBBS and BDS courses across the country. The High Court had on May 24 granted an interim stay on the publication of NEET results on a batch of pleas alleging that a uniform question paper was not given in the examination and there was a vast difference between the ones in English and in Tamil. The NEET examination for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses was held on May 7.
Besides the CBSE, two students have also moved the Supreme Court to challenge the May 24 order, contending that the future of 12 lakh NEET candidates was uncertain and there was apprehension of loss of one semester in the MBBS courses due to delay in admissions.
There are 56,000 MBBS/BDS seats across the country, said petitioners Namita Sibal and Apoorva Atul Joshi, who are represented by lawyer Vivek Singh. While Apoorva has herself appeared for NEET 2017, Namita Sibal is the mother of another NEET candidate.
The petitioners told the top court that as per its orders of April 28, 2016, and March 31, 2017, all matters relating to NEET arising from its orders could only be brought before the Supreme Court and the hearing by the Madras High Court was not valid.
Around 10.5 lakh students appeared for the exam in either Hindi or English while around 1.25 lakh to 1.50 lakh students appeared in eight vernacular languages.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, representing the CBSE, told the top court that the challenge to the different sets of questions in vernacular languages were on wrong assumptions that they were difficult as the experts had examined that they were different from those in English or Hindi medium but the level of difficulty cannot be said to be different.
He said that questions were different to keep the larger interest protected on the ground that if there was a leakage of a set of paper in a vernacular language, the majority of students would be protected as candidates appearing in any particular language were less than those opting for English or Hindi.
On June 9, the Madras High Court had also directed the Medical Council of India, the director of CBSE and the Union Health Ministry to file counter affidavits on these pleas pending before it by June 27.