CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court has made it clear that clearing National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) is essential for admission to courses for bachelor’s degrees in Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathic medicine and Unani medicine in both states of Punjab and Haryana.
The high court also has declared invalid admissions of all candidates who did not qualify NEET to BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery), BHMS (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), and BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery) courses in the current session.
“NEET is mandatory for obtaining admissions in Ayush undergraduate courses, therefore, all admissions made to the contrary are illegal and cannot be sustained and therefore, only those admissions made on the basis of appearing and passing in NEET can be sustained or continued by the authorities,” the division bench said.
Enforced NEET requirement in 2018: Punjab, Haryana
The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Rajiv Sharma of the high court, passed the order while dismissing a bunch of petitions filed by private self-financed Ayurvedic colleges of Punjab and Haryana.
The petitioners were aggrieved by the action of Punjab and Haryana in prescribing passing of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) as a necessary condition for grant of admissions to the BAMS/BHMS/BUMS courses.
Their contention was that the new regulation was contrary to the Indian Medical Central Council Act, 1970.
The assertion of the petitioners was that admissions to BAMS and BUMS courses be made on the basis of the marks obtained by the candidates in the 10+2 examination or at best, an entrance test to be conducted by the respective states and not on the basis of the NEET.
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Their plea was that the regulations cannot be implemented for 2019-20 session as the last date to apply for appearing in the NEET examination was November 30, 2018 whereas the regulation was amended after the cut-off date on December 7, 2018, as a result of which the candidates who were desirous of obtaining admission to BHMS, BAMS and BUMS courses could not appear in the NEET as they had no information or knowledge about it.
The counsel for Punjab and Haryana conjointly submitted that both states on the basis of letters issued by Central Council Of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and Central Council Of Homoeopathy (CCH) were fully aware of the requirement of NEET for admissions to the courses since 2018 and had also given due publicity to the said requirements.
It was submitted that both the states had in fact implemented this requirement in 2018 and all the students, candidates, colleges, and others were well aware of the fact that NEET was an essential requirement for obtaining admission to BAMS courses since 2018 itself.
The central government’s counsel submitted that the Centre has the legislative competence to frame the regulations under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
The high court was also informed that no student had questioned the holding of NEET and 7,97,060 candidates had qualified against 37,906 Ayush seats this session.
Hearing all the parties, the HC dismissed the petitions and upheld the states’ decision of making NEET mandatory for admission to Ayush courses.