The Leaflet

| @theleaflet_in | April 29,2020

IN a significant decision, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that the application of National Eligibility­ cum­Entrance Test (NEET) to unaided/aided minority institutions for admissions in the graduate and postgraduates courses of medical as well as dental science did not violate their rights to administer the institutions under Articles 19(1) (g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26, and 29(1) of the Constitution of India.

The court was adjudicating a batch of a petition led by Christian Medical College Vellore Association challenging various notifications and rules made under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and Dentist Act, 1948 in order to prescribe National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) as the all-India exam for admissions to graduate and post-graduate medical courses.

Petitioners had contended that notifications issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Dental Council of India (DCI) pertaining to uniform entrance   examination   for   undergraduate and post­graduate level were in violation of the fundamental rights of an unaided minority institution   to  “establish   and administer educational institutions of their choice” protected under Article 30 read with Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, which includes the right to admit students of their own choice.

Negating the contentions of the petitioners, a three-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and M R Shah observed-

“Uniform   Entrance   Test   qualifies   the   test   of   proportionality   and   is reasonable.   The same is intended to check several maladies which crept into medical education, to prevent capitation fee by admitting students   which   are   lower   in   merit   and   to   prevent   exploitation, profiteering, and commercialisation of education.  The institution has to be a capable vehicle of education”.

They added “The minority institutions are equally   bound   to   comply   with   the   conditions  imposed   under   the relevant   Acts   and Regulations   to   enjoy   affiliation   and   recognition, which apply to all institutions.  In case they have to impart education, they   are   bound   to   comply   with  the   conditions, which   are   equally applicable to all.   The regulations are necessary, and they are not divisive or   disintegrative”.

According to the apex court, the rights available under Article 30 are not violated by provisions carved out in Section 10D of the   MCI   Act, the   Dentists   Act   and   Regulations   framed   by MCI/DCI.

The regulatory measures, the court said, were intended for the proper functioning   of   institutions   and   to   ensure   that   the   standard   of education is maintained and did not fall low under the guise of an exclusive right of management to the extent of maladministration.

“The regulatory measures by prescribing NEET is to bring the education within the realm of charity which character it has lost.  It intends to weed   out   evils   from   the   system   and   various   malpractices   which decayed the system.  The regulatory measures in no way interfere with the rights to administer the institution by the religious or linguistic minorities”, said the court.

 

 

Read the judgment here

 

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