Madras High Court today directed Medical Council of India and the Union and Tamil Nadu governments’ health departments to answer its query on whether CBSE students would not find writing question papers set by the Board easier than non-CBSE students. “When questions are set by CBSE, would it not be easy for students who study under the CBSE stream and difficult for non-CBSE students?” a division bench, comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and V Parthiban asked. Passing interim orders on a PIL filed by one P Ramachandran of Cuddalore seeking a direction to modify Clause V of MCI’s December 21, 2010 notification, enabling students in medical courses participate in counselling as done in admissions to professional courses by considering the +2 marks along with NEET marks, the bench raised several issues. “Would it not enable CBSE students, who constitute only about 5 to 10 per cent of the total candidates, to grab the maximum number of seats in the medical admission, as question papers are set up based on the CBSE syllabus?” it asked. The bench also sought to know if it was not necessary to provide a level playing field to all students while conducting NEET exam by CBSE, especially when there are different systems of education in various states. It noted that though the nationwide single common entrance examination for admission to medical courses is appropriate, there are many difficulties faced by students who come from different streams, namely, State board, Central board, Anglo-Indian syllabus and ICSE.
They said the very purpose of the NEET examination was to prevent students from undergoing multiple entrance tests for securing admission into medical courses, avoid corruption in admission through all-India ranking and common counselling. The bench wanted to know if it was possible to determine the calibre or intellect or merit of students by a single NEET examination conducted by CBSE, when students were studying in various streams in different states.”Will it not be appropriate to combine the marks obtained in Standard XII examinations and NEET in equal percentile to determine the calibre or merit of the students more accurately than to determine the same based on the single examination alone?” the judges asked. They also sought to know if it would be possible to hold the NEET exam along with Plus Two/Standard XII exams so that the pressure faced by students to prepare for NEET could be avoided. “Would not considering NEET examination marks alone for medical admissions make room for mushrooming of coaching centres throughout the nation and push academic studies to the backseat?” the judges asked.
The bench also sought to know why Tamil Nadu government had not taken steps to revise the syllabus in tune with the times, thereby making students ready for NEET for admission to medical courses. “Why did not the Tamil Nadu government appoint well- trained teachers in all schools to make students in the State ready to face the NEET examination?” the bench asked. The bench after directing the respondents to reply to questions raised by it by June 27, referred the matter to Chief Justice of Madras High Court “since all India ramifications regarding medical admission would be caused to pass necessary orders”.