Srinagar, May 2 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking exemption from National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses, officials said.
The matter is listed to be heard on Tuesday by the apex court.
Earlier, State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar had said: “We are approaching the Supreme Court for relief. We have a strong case and are hopeful our state would get exemption from NEET and we would be allowed to continue our established process for selection to these professional courses”.
The state government officials said given its special status, Jammu and Kashmir should be exempted from NEET.
The first phase of NEET was held throughout the country on Sunday following an order of the Supreme Court on April 28. The second phase is scheduled for July 24.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda told the Lok Sabha on Friday: “NEET extends in the entire country, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir, for admission in UG (undergraduate) and PG (postgraduate) medical courses”.
However, State Law Secretary Muhammad Ashraf said education is in the concurrent list, but the amendment that brought education into that list was not extended to Jammu and Kashmir.
So education remains a state subject in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
The state has been conducting its own entrance test for medical courses held by the board of professional entrance examinations (BOPEE).
Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the country that has a constitution of its own which is applicable along with the Constitution of India.
“It is this special status that has created the confusion which needs to be immediately cleared. We have also to be clearly told whether the merit arrived at would be such that candidates from outside the state would also get admission in J&K and vice versa,” said Bashir Ahmad War, whose niece is an aspirant for the graduate course in medicine this year.
What happens to reservations available to aspirants if the state is not exempted from NEET, wondered War.
“There is 50 percent reservation for girls in these courses in J&K. Then there are state specific reservations like residents of backward areas, residents of line of control, children of police personnel etc. What happens to these reservations if NEET is the entry route to graduate and post graduate courses in the state?”
The BOPEE has already announced its schedule for this year’s selection to MBBS and other courses in various medical colleges in the state.
The state did not have a NEET centre for phase one and aspirants who took the test had to travel to Delhi and other places to appear in the exam.
Aspirants for this year’s professional courses in Kashmir who had applied for NEET and who appeared for phase one say they did so without much preparation as they are focused completely on the BOPEE test scheduled for May 14 and 15.
“I appeared for the test, but did so only to get a better feel of the test. We are focused on the BOPEE test,” said Suhail, an aspirant for the MBBS course this year.