Giving relief to lakhs of aspiring doctors, the Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed the schedule for admissions to MBBS, dental and postgraduate medical courses.
Directing the Medical Council of India (MCI) to notify the dates, a Bench of Justice A K Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla ordered that the first round of state-level counselling should be over by March 30, and the all-India level counselling should be conducted from April 4 to April 16.
The Bench directed that the academic session should begin from June 30. The last date for enrolling at the allotted colleges would be April 7 in the states and for the all-India quota it would be April 26.
The standoff between private medical colleges and the MCI over the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) had left the future of nearly four lakh students in limbo.
The MCI had brought in the NEET to be applicable from the academic year 2013-14 to curb malpractices such as capitation fee. Several private medical colleges, however, challenged its implementation and moved the High Courts in states such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The state governments, along with the colleges, then moved the Supreme Court, arguing that the NEET interfered with their autonomy and the right to admit students of their choice by conducting their own entrance tests.
However, the MCI justified the NEET on the ground that it would avoid multiple entrance tests and minimise corruption and irregularities in admissions. The apex body, which formulated the single-window admission process through the NEET, on Saturday moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of its July 18 verdict quashing the test.
The apex court in August ruled that the MCI didn’t have the jurisdiction to enforce a common entrance test on private medical colleges and that such a test could also violate the constitutional guarantee that allows minority communities to establish and manage their own educational institutions.