The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Union of India (UOI) and the Medical Council of India (MCI) assured the Supreme Court that they are ready to conduct the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for the academic year 2016-17.
However, the exam could be held in phases. The All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test, 2016 (AIPMT), scheduled on 1 May, could be treated as Phase I of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and so on.
The NEET scores will be used for admission to MBBS, BDS and similar courses in medical colleges across the country.
Listening to a writ petition filed by NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust, the apex court ruled that there is no impediment in conducting the common entrance test NEET for admission to medical courses.
A bench comprising Justice Dave, Justice Goyal and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh on 27 April said, "All the three respondents are represented by their respective counsel and they have assured this Court that they are ready and willing to hold the NEET examination for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17".
The CBSE and the MCI will present the proposed schedule of examination to the Supreme Court on 28 April.
The NEET was scrapped by SC in 2013, after it was deemed 'unconstitutional'. However, earlier this year, on 11 April, the apex court recalled the order.
Currently, more than 80 medical entrance tests are held throughout the country. Every year, lakhs of medical aspirants appear for various medical exams for admission to over 400 colleges offering 50,000+ seats.
The test schedules have already been declared for top medical entrance tests. The medical entrance season will officially commence from 1 May, while the admissions continue till September.
While, the concept of a common or a singular entrance test is welcome, it could be a little late to be executed this year.
A parent of a medical aspirant, who did not wish to be named, told Catch, "Exams like NEET, AIPMT and AIIMS have a similar difficulty level. However, the same cannot be said of state-level and other medical entrance tests".
"Candidates targeting the AIPMT will be able to crack the NEET easily. But state or regional students may face difficulties. Moreover, their medium of study is not English, the language of the state. Altogether, the NEET could be a difficult proposition for state-level student," the parent said.
Currently, students need to shell out thousands of rupees to appear for multiple medical entrance tests. Enforcing the NEET will reduce the massive expenditure for aspirants.
Some states have already expressed their unhappiness over this move. Tamil Nadu, for instance, has decided to contest the judgement, TOI reported.