The Madras High Court has passed an order that stays all further proceedings including evaluation, and publishing of results of the NEET exam for MBBS and BDS admissions.
The move is seen as a major stumbling block for the NEET exams and can delay admissions for MBBS/BDS aspirants.
The decision was made at a hearing of petitions against the NEET exam.
Madras HC stays NEET evaluation
What is NEET?
The Medical Council of India demanded a common entrance exam for medical admissions in India. In 2016, the SC passed an order for the implementation of a common National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses all over India. It is conducted by the CBSE.
Petitions allege discrimination, non-uniformity in question papers
They stated that the question papers varied for different languages and states.
In Tamil Nadu, the students alleged that the Tamil language paper was much easier compared to the English language paper.
The petitioners demanded that the CBSE conduct a fresh examination with uniform question-papers.
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Need level playing field, say students
In their petitions, the students argued that "One India, one question paper is a must in NEET. Otherwise, assessment of intelligence and aptitude will differ. Further, an uneven playing field would infringe the right to equal opportunity in education."
Gravity of the situation
The order means that the CBSE will no longer be able to continue NEET assessments and publish results in the declared time-frame. This will seriously hamper admission procedures for students.
Students from Maharashtra, West Bengal and Karnataka also made similar allegations.
The CBSE stated that it would need to take a legal opinion on how to move forward.
The court's justification
"If any admission of student is made in pursuant to the NEET exam conducted on 07-05-2017 it would...discriminate the candidates and the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court since the Hon'ble Supreme Court very categorically held that uniformed entrance exam shall be conducted."
What is the way forward?
The court had issued notices to the Union health and family welfare secretary, director-general of health services, MCI, CBSE and Tamil Nadu health and family welfare secretary, seeking appropriate responses from them by 7 June.
Until the stay is vacated the CBSE cannot publish any results.
Meanwhile, the medical and dental councils of India, washed their hands of the situation, blaming the CBSE.
MCI blames CBSE
MCI vice-president Dr C V Bhirmanandham said "The CBSE is responsible for setting question papers, issuing hall tickets, setting up centres, conducting exams, evaluating them, and declaring results and merit list."
12 Jun 2017
SC allows CBSE to declare NEET results
Earlier, the HC stayed results' declaration over allegations of discrimination and non-uniformity in question papers in different languages.
With the lifting of the stay order, results are likely to be declared on June 20.