SC endorses J&K’s view point on NEET Entrance

Neeraj Rohmetra

JAMMU, May 5: In a major development, the Supreme Court today virtually endorsed the view point of Jammu and Kashmir Government over the issue of National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and acknowledged the Special Status enjoyed by the State by virtue of its Special Constitutional and Legal position.
The hearing in the crucial case started at 2 pm today before the Special Apex Court Bench headed by Justice A R Dave and the Bench approved the stand taken by the State’s counsel that that State Subject Rules and State Reservation Rules would form the basis for selection to Medical Colleges across the State.
Seeking non-applicability of NEET, the counsel for the State sought the attention of the Court towards the special relationship of the State with Union of India and also quoted several Supreme Court judgements.
While elaborating over the Special Constitutional Status of the State, the counsel submitted, “the State of J&K enjoys special relationship, unlike any other State in the Union of India by virtue of Articles 370 and 35A of Constitution of India”, adding, “as per the State Subject laws, admissions to medical colleges in the State would be open only to residents of the State”.
Endorsing the view point of State Government, the Bench in open court categorically stated, “State Subject law will be respected and only permanent residents of the State shall be eligible for admission to Medical Colleges in Jammu and Kashmir”.
“Further, the reservations shall be as per the State Reservation Act and Women would continue to get 50% reservation as provided under the State Act besides reservation for other reserved categories”, Bench added.
Officials, who were present in the Court premises, said that even the counsel for Medical Council of India (MCI) and Government of India (GoI) subscribed the view point that only State Subjects would be eligible for admission in Medical Colleges of the Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said, “senior advocate for Medical Council of India (MCI), Vikas Singh submitted that if NEET is implemented in Jammu and Kashmir this year as per the clause III of Section (6) of the MCI notification No. MCI-31(1)/2010-Med/49068, even then, only State Subjects, shall be entitled for admissions and not students from outside the State. As State wise merit list of the eligible candidate shall be prepared on the basis of marks obtained in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and every State shall conduct counselling as per their own State list”.
The Bench further observed the same during the course of arguments and is likely to accept the submissions made by Gopal Subramanium, Senior Advocate and former Solicitor General of India appearing for the State along with Standing Counsel, Sunil Fernandes.
Legal experts pointed out that J&K has enacted the J&K Reservation Act, 2004 which provides for a unique system of reservation in appointment and admission in professional institutions for the members of SC, ST and other socially and educationally backward classes which, inter alia, include reservation for categories like JKPM, CDP, SP, ALC, TFW (Tuition Fee Waiver for people with low income) and P&B (poor and backward).
“The amendments made in Article 16 of the Constitution of India have not been extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir so far and it continues to have a separate reservation policy. Section 9 of the Act of 2004 deals with reservation in professional institutions and proviso 2 of its sub-section (2) provides reservation to the extent of 50% in each category for admission to MBBS and BDS for female candidates belonging to such category”, they added.
“The arguments in the case would again continue tomorrow at 2 pm by other States”, sources said, adding, “the final judgement is likely to be pronounced before the start of summer vacation of Apex Court from May 16”.
Legal experts also opined, “to secure their future, students should actually appear for the Common Entrance Test (CET) being conducted by J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination (JKBOPEE) on May 14/15 and subsequently also NEET – II exam being held on July 27”, adding, “this needs to be done so that in case the Apex Court decides to scrap the State entrance test being conducted by BOPEE, the students will still make it to the State-wise subject list being prepared by NEET Authorities”.
The Apex Court had on April 29, said that the entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17 will be held as per the schedule through the two-phased Common Entrance Test NEET.
The Apex Court order had implied that all Government Colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET and those examinations which have already taken place or slated to be conducted separately stand scrapped.


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