Centre seeks review of SC order scrapping joint admission for medical colleges
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday sought review of the Supreme Court's controversial judgment junking the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) providing for single-window admission process for all medical colleges and said it had erred by holding that NEET breached the rights of religious and linguistic minorities to self-administer educational institutions.
Faulting the majority judgment authored by then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and relying on the powerful dissent delivered by Justice A R Dave, the Centre said ensuring uniform standards for medical education was of paramount interest to the patient and the Medical Council of India-mandated single-window system to draw the merit list was a step in that regard.
In the petition seeking review of the July 18 judgment delivered on the last working day of the then CJI, the government said it was under duty to ensure that medical education must meet standards of merit.
The review petition, drafted by additional solicitor general Sidharth Luthra and vetted by solicitor general Mohan Parasaran, made a strong pitch for exclusion of narrow considerations of creed and religious minority when it came to medical education.
Refusing to couch its request in niceties, found in petitions seeking reconsideration of judgments, the Centre bluntly said, "It is not as if doctors of a linguistic or religious minority will not be treating patients of all creeds, classes and denominations. The interest of the patient is a major consideration in ensuring that inter-se merit is a criteria for entry into medical education and NEET is a reflection of that need."
The Centre said the Supreme Court had always recognized even in the context of minority rights that merit in the field of medicine was of critical importance. "Right to life (health) requires a need for excellence in medical education," the Centre said and cited numerous constitution bench judgments in support of its stand.
The government said holding of common entrance test came about as a consequence of the Supreme Court's orders in Simran Jain case, during the hearing of which a decision was taken that MCI would hold a single entrance test since merit in medical education was essential to ensure quality healthcare to citizens.
It said the guidelines annexed to NEET ensured that the single-window admission system would be in breach neither of the rights of states nor interfere with rights of religious and linguistic minorities.