MCI proposes common entrance tests

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD: The Medical Council of India (MCI) on Monday sent recommendations for a unitary Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission to MBBS, postgraduate and super-specialty medical courses to the central government. The regulatory body has recommended to the government to amend section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act to ensure proper implementation of the new system.

MCI chairman Dr Jayshree Mehta told TOI, “We have sent recommendations for common entrance test for MBBS, PG and even super-specialty courses in nearly 400 medical colleges across India to the Union government. If the government makes a favourable amendment, a unified test for medical admissions will become a reality in 2016”.

A common entrance test for medical students across the country was proposed in 2009 by former MCI chairman Ketan Desai. The test was called National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET). Many believe Desai’s persistent perusal may have led to his ouster from the MCI. “I am happy with the MCI decision. I hope the government will act on the recommendations as it will immensely benefit the meritorious students,” said Desai.

While NEET was notified through issuance of a regulation under section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act, an amendment was not made despite MCI recommendations.

The Supreme Court had, in June 2013, ruled the MCI’s notification for holding common entrance tests for MBBS, BDS and postgraduate medical courses as invalid mainly because the amendment to the MCI Act was not made. A three-judge bench by a 2:1 verdict held that the notification was against the Constitution. The majority verdict by the then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir and Justice Vikramajit Sen said that MCI is not empowered to prescribe all India medical entrance tests. The bench said the MCI notification was in violation of Articles 19, 25, 26, 29 and 30 of the Constitution. Justice A R Dave had dissented from the view. The court’s decision had come on 115 petitions challenging the MCI notification on NEET for admission to MBBS and postgraduate medical courses conducted in colleges across the country.

Over 90 medical entrance tests are held across India, said Mehta. Apart from students being forced to cough up thousands towards the fee for appearing in multiple exams and travel expenses, many students are robbed of the opportunity to stake admission claim to different colleges.

Moreover, medical entrance tests are held only on Sundays of May and June limiting students to appear for a maximum nine out of 90 entrance exams.