The government on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, turned around to inform the Supreme Court that it has dropped its decision to implement a new exam pattern for National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test- Super Specialty (NEET-SS) 2021 due in November.
Faced with criticism from the court for the sudden manner in which the new pattern has been introduced at the last minute this academic year, the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor-General Aishwarya Bhati, said the implementation of the new exam pattern has been postponed to 2022.
The November 2021 exam would follow the existing exam pattern, Ms. Bhati submitted.
“In deference of your lordship’s observations & interest of students, the Centre has decided that the revised scheme will be implemented from 2022. The present exam will be held based on the 2020 scheme,” Ms. Bhati submitted.
A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud expressed its satisfaction with the government’s change of mind and disposed of the case.
Ms. Bhati said the decision to revert to the old mode was done in consultation with expert bodies such as National Board of Examinations and National Medical Commission, taking into consideration the interests of the students.
The change of tune comes a day after the top court criticised the revision of the exam pattern at the eleventh hour, saying it might have been done to favour private medical colleges.
The new pattern shows questions entirely from the field of general medicine and not from the specialities for which the students want admission. General medicine, the court said, was the largest pool from which students could be found to fill up vacant seats in private institutions for super speciality courses.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the tragedy of medical education was that it had become a business in this country.
“The impression we get is medical education has become a business, and medical regulation has also become a business. That is the tragedy of medical education in this country,” Justice Chandrachud had remarked.
The court noted that questions under the revised pattern were wholly from general medicine, which was a feeder category. The earlier pattern had 60% of the questions coming from the student’s chosen field of speciality and the rest from the feeder category.
“For 12 super specialties, 100% questions are from general medicine. The entire examination is going to be only be on general medicine. The logic seems to be, general medicine is the largest pool, and tap them to fill the seats. That seems to be idea,” the Bench had noted.
In an earlier hearing, the court had lashed out at the government, saying “young doctors cannot be left at the mercy of insensitive bureaucrats and cannot be treated like football”.
“The interests of students is far higher than those of the institutions,” the court had said