Responding to a petition filed by the Student Islamic Organization (SIO), the Centre today told the Supreme Court that it can allow medical aspirants to take NEET exam in Urdu only from next year and not this year.
The process for 2017 NEET exam has already started and it is difficult to put the clock back and no state has made such a demand this year, the Centre told the court.
The Supreme Court had last week issued notice to the Centre, Medical Council of India, Dental Council and CBSE on a petition filed by the SIO to include Urdu as one of the languages in which students can respond to questions in the NEET exam .
Till now apart from English and Hindi, the other languages in which the exam is permitted are Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Telegu,Tamil and Kannada.
SIO’s lawyer contended that earlier there was no request from any state to allow Urdu as medium but of late Maharashtra and Telengana has come up with such a demand and that should be taken note of. A bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph took this fact into consideration while issuing the notice.
The organization said that the decision to not include Urdu is unjustified and biased toward students who complete their higher secondary and senior secondary education in Urdu medium. The Ministry has so far added 10 different languages to the list of languages in which NEET exam will be conducted this year.
The organization said that this seemed to be a selective discrimination toward a language despite repeated representation.
The organization explained that currently Urdu stands at number six among the languages spoken in India. It is also listed in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution. The organization said that a large number of students study science in Urdu language and NCERT too prints its textbooks in Urdu.
In support of its arguments, SIO said that Gujarati, Kannada, Oriya, and Assames, the seventh, eighth, tenth, and twelfth most spoken languages in India repectively have been included as options of medium for appearing in the exam. The organization highlighted that a huge number of students study science in Urdulanguage in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana etc. The state governments have also made requests to the Union Health Ministry to include Urdu as one of the language medium for the exam.
SIO said that the exclusion of Urdu deprives a large populace from appearing in the exam. They are either forced to appear in a language which they did not opt for during secondary education or not appear in the exam at all. This leaves them with very less options to pursue medical education as NEET is going to be the only entrance exam to be conducted for admission to MBBS and BDS courses in Medical Institutes in India.