The Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI) have approached the Supreme Court for review of the judgment declaring the single National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) as unconstitutional. The NEET was introduced by the MCI together with Dental Council of India for admission to graduate and post graduate medical and dental courses.
On July 18, a Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir (now retired) and Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen had by a majority quashed the NEET. The dissenting judge, Justice Dave, had held that the test was valid.
In its review petition, the MCI has said “If the July 18 judgment is not stayed, it will seriously prejudice the progress of the process of holding common entrance test which has been evolved over the period of more than five years of deliberations, judicial orders. The majority judgment is based on series of error apparent on the face of record, and is in ignorance of statutory provisions.”
The Centre in its petition has said that ensuring uniform standards for medical education is of paramount interest and the single-window system to draw the merit list was a step in that regard. It further said the guidelines annexed to NEET ensured that the single-window admission system would neither breach the rights of States, nor would it interfere with rights of religious and linguistic minorities.
The Review Petition has been filed under Article 137 of the Constitution. Since the case was decided earlier by a three judge bench headed by former Chief Justice Altmas Kabir, the present Chief Justice will have to constitute a new bench to decide the issue. As per the Supreme Court Rules, normally review petitions are decided by circulation among the judges in their official chambers. Since this particular issue has national importance and new judge is going to come in, there is likelihood of hearing the Review Petition in an open court. It should be noted that in many important matters, such procedures are adopted. The limitation for filing review petition is 30 days from the date of judgement.