By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : After four years of flips and flops the Ministry of
Human Resource Development (MHRD) seems to have made some headway in the
direction of the proposed
National Testing Agency (NTA).
To begin with the proposed agency will unburden the
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) of its excess load and
hold the all India competitive examinations that are presently being
conducted by the CBSE.
According to sources, the MHRD recently had a meeting with the
stakeholders where it was decided to let NTA initially hold the exams
that are being conducted by the CBSE and let IIT-Advance be conducted by
joint admission board.
“The ministry is in process of sending the proposal to Cabinet,”
Presenting the general budget
in Parliament in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced
setting up of the NTA as “an autonomous and self-sustained premier
testing organization” to conduct all entrance examinations for higher
“This would free the CBSE , AICTE (All India Council for Technical
Education) and other premier institutions from these administrative
responsibilities (holding entrance tests) so that they can focus more on
academics,” he had said.
In course of the finalisation of the proposal in consultation with the
‘stakeholders,’ however, a view emerged that the proposed NTA should
initially conduct only those competitive examinations which are being
held by the CBSE.
More than 4 million students appear for seven tests — CAT, JEE
(Main), JEE (Advanced), GATE, CMAT, NEET, NET — conducted by the CBSE,
IITs, IIMs and AICTE every year.
The proposal for a
National Testing Agency was first
mooted as the additional agenda item for discussion at the
61st meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held on
2nd April 2013 at 11.00 AM. The meeting noted the proposal and desired
that the proposal be taken forward in consultation with all
stakeholders. Since then the proposal has seen many ups and downs till
February 2017 when it was formally included in the Finance Minister's
stay, IITs to go ahead with counselling
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On July 10 the Supreme Court gave Indian Institutes of
Technology (IITs) a green signal to go ahead with counselling and
A three-judge bench, presided over by
Justice Dipak Misra, vacated its July 7 stay on the whole admission
process, saying, "You can't keep the student community in anxiety."
The bench, however, directed the Centre
and IIT Madras, which conducted this year's JEE Advanced, to explain at
the next hearing on October 10 how they planned to avoid bloomers in the
question papers in future. It asked them to develop a mechanism to avoid
incorrect questions in the entrance examination, held for admission to
IITs, NITs and others.
The court noted that all 33,307 students
had already taken admission, including 10,987 in IITs.
The court rejected a plea by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Sanjay
Hegde, appearing for some students, for preparation of fresh list of
successful candidates as 18 bonus marks were awarded to all, affecting
The bench said its 2005 judgement in the Gurunanak Dev University
case would not apply to the present case as only 10,000 students
were involved there. There were 1.56 lakh students who have taken the
On careful study of the Gurunanak Dev University case verdict, it is
also revealed that there was no negative marking there, while in the
present case there was negative marking for wrong questions attempted by
the students, the court said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that such a situation would be
avoided in future where the students were to be awarded bonus marks
across the board for incorrect questions.
A counsel, appearing for the IITs, submitted that an expert body of 33
members from various institutes met twice and decided that award of
bonus marks to the students across the board was the only solution to
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union
government, submitted that the apex court should allow the admission
process to continue.
The court, which lifted its stay on the counselling, said it would
consider the matter to examine the mechanism to ensure that no incorrect
questions were allowed in the examination papers.
U-turn by MHRD, engg entrance test put on hold
By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : Just 80 days after it told the All India Council for
Technical Education (AICTE)
to hold a NEET-type all-India test for admission to undergraduate
engineering and architecture courses, the Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) took a U-turn on April 28 and directed the AICTE
to put the process on hold.
A senior official of the AICTE told this correspondent :
“The common entrance test has been put on hold in view of
differences with some states."
According to information available the move has been shelved
particularly because of West Bengal's dogged resistance and the delicate political
relations with West Bengal.
“While some states have their own entrance tests, some take the
Class-12 marks as the criterion for admission,” the AICTE official
said referring to Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
“Till these differences are ironed out and the Centre and states
brought on the same page, we have decided to put on hold a common
entrance test”, he said.
The Central Board of Secondary Education conducts the Joint Entrance
Examination-Mains for admission to engineering courses. A number of
states conduct their own tests, while some colleges grant admission
based on marks. Several private colleges also have their own
It may be recalled that the AICTE had
in mid February this year
hold an all-India test for admission to the undergraduate
engineering and architecture courses from 2018 following a directive
to it from the MHRD on February 10.
The directive from the MHRD had come after it
had overruled objections from Bengal and
Tamil Nadu and told the AICTE to go ahead with
an all-India engineering admission exam to admit students to eight
lakh B.Tech seats across 3,400 colleges in the country.
The states were, however, given
the leeway to admit students to
their engineering colleges solely on the basis of the merit in the
all-India exam or to give some weightage to their board marks too.
This would have been the third incarnation of
the all-India engineering admission test the first being AIEEE and
the second being the JEE (Mains).
The all-India engineering admission
test was first introduced in 2002 when Dr Murli Manohar Joshi was
the union HRD minister. Named All India Engineering Entrance
Examination (AIEEE), the Central Board of Secondary Education was
made the nodal body to conduct the test. All private and government
engineering colleges in the country were given option to pick
students from the merit list of the exam, including the National Institutes of
Technology (NITs). The AIEEE, the first avatar of the pan-India exam lasted
10 years and was superseded by what was called Joint Entrance
Examination (Main) in 2013.
Under the JEE (Main), being conducted by the
states are allowed to hold their own admission tests or to admit
students on the basis of their board scores. The JEE (Main) has survived
for five years.
Bengal, TN exceptions
About 90 engineering colleges in Bengal admit some 21,000
undergraduate students on the basis of their performance in the West
Bengal Joint Entrance Examination. Bengal government argued that its state-level
exam was conducted very well and did not need to be replaced by a
Similarly the undergraduate engineering students in Tamil Nadu are admitted on the
basis of their Class XII board marks. The state's 533 undergraduate
engineering colleges have 1.6 lakh seats.
The Tamil Nadu government had contended that the state board's Class
XII science syllabus was not on a par with that taught by the
Central Board of Secondary Education.
Tamil Nadu also expressed apprehensions that its reservation volumes
- different from the national quota break-up - could be affected if
admissions were regulated by a national entrance exam.
SC damns govt for NEET order but refuses to stay
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On July 14 the three judge Supreme Court
bench hearing the
Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) case criticised the
NEET ordinance calling it "disturbing,
unwarranted and not proper" but refused to stay it in
the interest of the students.
The bench, comprising
Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, Justice A R Dave and Justice
Adarsh K Goel said that staying
ordinance at this stage would trigger chaos as lakhs of
students across 17 States have already written exams in
their respective States.
The ordinance, called
the Indian Medical Council
(Amendment) Ordinance 2016
issued by the government on May 24, 2016
allowed States to conduct their own common entrance
exams for admission to MBBS and BDS seats in government
colleges despite the Supreme Court order on
May 9, 2016
that only NEET would prevail.
"Prime facie, we found that the validity of
the ordinance is in doubt. Since 50% of the states (17)
had already held their examinations, we do not grant any
relief," the bench said.
The court said it favoured a single common entrance
test for all medical colleges in order to bring
uniformity in the examination in the interest of
students and for maintaining a minimum standard.
In a strong comment on medical colleges admitting
students after taking money, Justice Dave said, "What to
talk about the middle class. It is even impossible for
upper middle class candidates to get admission in
medical colleges. Think of it..if you and I have to be
treated by a doctor who paid Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore
NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust and Anand Rai, who
claimed to be Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam
whistleblower, sought a stay on the May 24 ordinance
that allowed states to conduct their own exams for
academic session 2016-17.
Opposing the prayer Attorney General Mukul
Rohatgi submitted that the NEET was mooted in the
Medical Council of India regulations as part of the
subordinate legislation and the government had power to
regulate it. Countering petitioner's plea, he said it
would affect lakhs of students, if the ordinance was
May 9 order was passed despite objections from
several States and private medical colleges that they
have their own exams and many are underway or about to
begin. The court simply had asked then to fall in line.
Expressing its displeasure the bench said : “Your
move to bring this ordinance despite our order was not
proper. It was unwarranted. It should not have happened.
When the court said ‘no’ to State exams, you disregard
us and issued an ordinance for State exams... Did you
not think about the confusion it would cause to the
children? After all these are our children,” Justice
Dave told Attorney-General.
Mr. Rohatgi said that the ordinance was not meant as an
affront to the Supreme Court’s authority.
He said the ordinance merely opened an “option” for
States to either opt for NEET or conduct their exams
exclusively for State seats for the current academic
is back, SC bench scraps earlier judgement
By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : In a landmark move the Supreme Court of
India on April 11 recalled its one of the most
controversial judgements --
case judgement -- and ordered that "the
case be heard afresh".
The case, called
National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)
case was delivered on July 18, 2013 by the Chief Justice
of India Altamas Kabir a day
before he was to retire, giving ample relief to private
medical colleges. Some
private medical colleges had challenged the Medical
Council of India and Dental Council of India regulations
on admissions to medical and dental college -- and the
relief allowed them to have their way in the matter of
recall of the judgement
status quo ante has been restored and the MCI has
been told to organise a combined all-India admission
test for private and government medical colleges.
However, the MCI vice-chairman Dr C V
Bhirmanandham has expressed his inability to hold the
all-India test this year because of paucity of time and
this may allow the private players to have their way
this year as well.
Hearing the review petitions on April 11
the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by
Justice A R Dave and comprising Justices A K Sikri, R K
Agrawal, A K Goel and R Banumathi recalled the
dated July 18, 2013 which had quashed NEET.
It said the “majority verdict“ delivered by then Chief
Justice Altamas Kabir did not consider an earlier SC
judgment that was binding on the bench, nor had he
consulted other members of his bench.
Incidentally Justice A R Dave, who headed
the 5-judge Constitution bench that recalled the earlier
order had given a dissenting verdict in the NEET case.
In his April 11 order he specified that he was not
consulted by the then CJI
The April 11 order comes just a month
before separate entrance tests are to be held for
government and private medical colleges, putting lakhs
of students in confusion. There are over 400 medical
colleges in the country and lakhs of students sit for
admission tests for over 52,000 MBBS seats. Since 2013,
state governments and private colleges have conducted
separate examinations for these.
Monday's order leaves Medical Council of India with the
onerous task of conducting the NEET at a short notice as
students have already filled in forms for several
judgment reviving the NEET
was pronounced in open court, stunned lawyers appearing
for private colleges, pleaded that the SC clarify the
consequences. The bench replied that “natural
consequence“ was that NEET comes into force. It said the
court would give a fresh hearing on constitutional
validity of NEET but in the meantime, the exam will be
restored. The lawyers then pleaded that the MCI's
notification to bring NEET back be stayed till its
validity was decided afresh and said that in 2013, too,
an interim stay was given. The bench, however, rejected
the plea saying the interim order was only for one
academic session and it could not continue.
“After giving our thoughtful and due
consideration, we are of the view that the judgment
delivered in Christian Medical College needs
reconsideration,“ the bench said.
Recalling earlier order the Constitution
bench allowed review petitions by the Union government
and the Medical Council of India (MCI) against the July
18, 2013, verdict and restored the NEET 2011
“The NEET regulations are restored and MCI can conduct
the examinations pending the fresh judgement,” the order
According to the 2011 notification, the
CBSE was to conduct the tests for admission to MBBS and
BDS courses and the National Board of Examination for
the PG programmes.
The 2013 verdict
The 2013 verdict had created a buzz in
the apex court corridors as an advocate had posted the
outcome on a social networking site in advance. However,
Justice Kabir had reportedly said he was not aware of
the leak of the judgment.
While Justice Vikramjit Sen (since retired) had shared
the views and findings of Justice Kabir against the
NEET, Justice Dave had in his dissenting verdict said
that the three judges "had no discussion on the subject
due to paucity of time". Justice Dave had stressed that
this was not the normal practice.
Justice Dave had written in 2013 that
“one of the main considerations of having one common
entrance test conducted by the Medical Council of India
is to check the malaise of money-making business in the
admission process by selling their seats for crores,
which has been going on for the last so many years in
The Christian Medical College, Vellore;
the States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; several
associations of private medical colleges; DD Medical
College and DD Hospital, Tamil Nadu; and various private
medical colleges had filed petitions in High Courts and
obtained an interim stay on the applicability of the
NEET on them. On the MCI’s petitions, these cases were
transferred to the Supreme Court.