Stand firm

The supreme court’s green signal to the Medical Council of India to go ahead with its decision to hold a single entrance test each for all MBBS and post-graduate seats in private and government medical colleges is welcome. The court has told the MCI that the new admission system can be implemented from the 2011-12 academic year itself. This means it has rejected the government’s contention that the MCI’s notification of December 21, 2010, which mandated the new admission system, was not valid as it lacked prior approval from the health ministry. The court accepted the MCI’s submission that the  proposal had been approved as early as August last year.

The MCI did well not to accept the government’s demand to withdraw the notification. The proposed admission system will greatly benefit the students who have to appear for different admission tests in different parts of the country. There are 28 such entrance tests being held across the country. Students will be able to save much money and time and will be spared a lot of stress and tension if they can appear for only one common test. That will ensure uniformity of standards and help to eliminate corruption and malpractices which flourish in medical admissions.

Apprehensions about  the chances of discrimination against students from rural and backward areas are unfounded. States will be entitled to their seats and all reservation quotas will be implemented. Only the vested interests of private college managements will be adversely affected. It is unfortunate that the government puts their interests above those of the students.

The MCI has said that it is taking steps to implement the common test proposal from this academic year itself. It has very little time at its disposal because the different entrance tests of governments and various institutions are scheduled to start from next month. Some institutions which have already received applications from students may have to refund money to them. Apart from these practical difficulties, legal problems may still continue as the court has said that any aggrieved party can approach it again. But all major contentious issues have been settled and it is for the court to ensure that there is no further legal obstruction to CET, and for the MCI to implement the decision. The government too should not create any more hurdles.

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