Context: Recently Supreme Court held that the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test(NEET), a single entrance exam for admission to medical and dental courses, would not violate the rights of minorities to run their own institutions.
- The SC rejected a plea by minority-run Christian Medical College (Vellore) and others to conduct their own test for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate medical courses.
- The apex court’s judgment was based on a challenge by the colleges to several notifications.
- The notifications issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India (DCI) under Sections 10D of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, and the Dentists Act, 1948, for uniform entrance examinations.
- Professional educational institutions constitute a class by themselves. ‘Specific measures to make the administration of such institutions transparent can be imposed’ the court held.
More on the SC Ruling
- The apex court also held that regulating academics and imposing reasonable restrictions to ensure educational standards are in national and public interest.
- It based its reasoning on the premise that the right to freedom of trade or business provided under Article 19(1)(g) is not absolute.
- It is subject to reasonable restriction in the interest of the students community to promote merit, recognition of excellence, and to curb the malpractices.
- A uniform entrance test qualifies the test of proportionality and is reasonable.
- The regulations, including admission through NEET, were neither divisive or dis-integrative. They were necessary.
- The court said minority institutions were equally bound to comply with the conditions imposed under the law.
- The rights available under Article 30 which provides Right of minorities to administer their institutions, are not violated by provisions carved out in Section 10D of the MCI Act and the Dentists Act and Regulations framed by MCI/DCI.
- SC said that NEET would apply for both aided and unaided medical colleges run by minorities.
About The National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET):
- It is the qualifying test for MBBS and BDS programs in Indian medical and dental colleges.
- It is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
- National Testing Agency (NTA) was established as a Society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- NTA is an independent autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization.
- It is chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development(MoHRD).
Criticism regarding the functioning of NEET
- According to critics NEET is an assault on the autonomy of universities and higher education institutions, particularly private, unaided ones.
- According to Commission (1948-49) appointed by the Government of India to report on Indian University Education;
- Freedom of individual development is the basis of democracy.
- Exclusive control of education by the State is considered as an important factor in facilitating the maintenance of totalitarian tyrannies.
- Disadvantage to certain section of students:
- With NEET and similar other national tests the coaching institutes are prospering.
- However as most of the coaching institutes are in cities, poorer students from a rural background and who have studied in the vernacular medium face a disadvantage.
- Issue of Regional Translation:
- In the 2018 NEET, as many as 49 questions had errors in Tamil translation leading to a Madras High Court order to award four marks for each of the 49 wrongly translated questions.
- No benefits of multiple tests
- If a particular student falls ill or has not done well in one test, he will still have a chance to qualify in another without losing a year.
- It also gives a student a right to select an institution of his choice.
- Fairness and transparency issues
- The NEET paper was leaked twice in the last four years; therefore, there is not much confidence in NEET’s fairness and transparency.
- Element of class
- NEET and other such admission tests do not meet the fundamental criteria, fair and just competition, also the equality of opportunity has become illusionary.
- Differential treatment to minorities
- Minority rights are not the violation of the equality provision in Article 14 as the Constitution does permit classification.