Historical decision of MCI of common entrance test for all medical admissions
Dr K K Aggarwal
In the context of the gross difficulties that the learners were facing due to the multiple entrance test for admission to MBBS course conducted by the various examining authorities and the grievances thereof, the then President of Medical Council of India (MCI), Dr Ketan Desai had constituted a two men expert group to look into the entire issue in April 2009.
The said expert committee in a detailed report brought the core issue to the fore that there were more than 90 entrance examinations conducted annually for admission to MBBS course for about 300 medical colleges in the country held during a specified period of time in accordance with the schedule of admissions prescribed by the appropriate regulation by the MCI in terms of the pronouncement made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. As a result it was humanly impossible for a student to be able to avail the same due to constraints of time, travel and also affordability. Numerous complaints were received of irregularities, manipulations, cheating etc.
The committee therefore explicitly recommended that there should be a single / unitary National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) to be conducted by a designated authority and the merit generated there from should be availed for all the admitting authorities to make admissions to the MBBS course on an Inter-se basis. This could be achieved by incorporating an appropriate amendment to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 on an urgent basis, including through an appropriate issuance of an ordinance by the Government of India, so that the same could be put into effect from the subsequent academic session.
The said report was approved by the Executive Committee of the Council in May, 2009 and looking into the exigencies, the same was circulated to all the members of the council and the approval was received by circulation in June, 2009. Upon resultant adoption by the General Body of the Council, the same was made known to the Government of India, and also the University Grants Commission urging upon them the importance and necessity of prompt execution of the said decision through incorporation of an amendment to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 including through issuance of an appropriate ordinance by the Government of India. Dr Ketan Desai who was the President of MCI at that point of time in 2009 mooted and steered this entire concept of NEET. It is widely perceived by a large section that one of the key reasons of suffering of Dr. Desai was his relentless persuasion to implement NEET. However, no action was taken by the Government of India, on the said recommendations.
In the meantime the MCI, was superseded by a Notification dated 15th May, 2010 by the Government of India, and was replaced by a nominated Board of Governors, who also did not venture in pursuing the said issue in any manner. In between a public interest litigation came to be filed before the Hon'ble Supreme Court who upon detailed hearing directed the Government of India, and the MCI to promptly act on the said recommendation made by the MCI in 2009.
As a result of the same, the Government of India, on the recommendations of the Board of Governors notified NEET through issuance of a regulation under section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act, without making amendment to the Indian Medical Council Act, inspite of the same having been recommended the then MCI after a gap of 2 years.
The said regulation was challenged before the Hon'ble Supreme Court by the various private managements in the country and virtually every senior lawyer was engaged to oppose the same and the net result was the said regulation was quashed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court by a majority decision of 2:1 primarily on the ground that the MCI did not have the said authority and jurisdiction as the Indian Medical Council Act does not provide for the same.
Upon the said pronouncement, the Government of India preferred a review petition, which is pending consideration before the Hon'ble Supreme Court since last two years and no pursuance on the said count has been undertaken. Strangely enough the Board of Governors did not even prefer a review petition although the notification towards the NEET was notified by the MCI, which was being run by the Board of Governors at the said point of time in the year 2013.
In view of the same the re-constituted MCI at its General Body Meeting held on 1st October, 2015 reiterated its earlier decision that a unitary single Common Entrance Test should be held by a designated competent authority for admission to MBBS Course through incorporating an appropriate amendment to section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, whereby MCI with the approval of Government of India, would be vested with the appropriate authority to notify ‘Regulations’ for the purposes of conduct of the said test. The said resolution was further broadened by bringing out that admission to postgraduate courses should be made on the basis of merit generated at the Common Entrance Test for postgraduate admissions.
It was further resolved that in view of the exigencies both the recommendations may be given effect by the Government of India, by urging Hon'ble President of India to issue an ordinance towards the same, if need be. The resolution was not only unanimously adopted but the minutes thereof were confirmed in the meeting itself and the communication to the required effect has been sent to the Government of India, for the needful in larger public interest.
NEET Cleared for Admission into Medical Colleges
The Medical Council of India (MCI) recommendation for an amendment to the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act has been endorsed and approved by Union Health Minister J P Nadda allowing the Council to hold a common national medical entrance test. A draft cabinet note created by the Health Ministry has been circulated among the ministries.
Both undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses across medical colleges (private, public, and deemed universities) will have one-medical entrance plan throughout the country. The MCI would either notify a new or existing examination, for example the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT). Under the existing Act, the MCI can only finalize the medical curriculum, and it was the individual colleges and states that created their own procedures for admissions. However, the MCI General Body passed, in October last year, a proposal for the amendment of the act to allow it to implement a common entrance examination.
The Supreme Court disallowed a previous attempt by the Council to hold a unified entrance test as it only involved a change of rules, without an actual amendment to the Act.
The MCI General Body now recommended that it be solely allowed to prescribe a national examination, whether through the National Board of Examinations, as in the case of NEET, or otherwise.
Behind the scenes of this reform was a two-men expert committee constituted by the then President of the MCI, Dr Ketan Desai, which state that more than 90 entrance examinations were conducted on an annual basis for admission to an MBBS course for around 300 medical colleges for which students had to travel across the country, often paying hefty capitation fee to enter into medical colleges. (Source: Indian Express)