After the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) postgrad and undergrad controversies, the NEET-Super Speciality (NEET-SS) exam held nationwide on June 10 and 11 appears to be mired controversies.
The Hyderabad High Court on August 17 stayed the national level counselling under the exam for filling the super speciality medicine seats in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana medical colleges.
It also gave an interim finding that the central authorities cannot impose a common national level counselling on the states as a Presidential order issued under Article 371-D of the Constitution permits both AP and Telangana to fill all the medicine seats available under their health universities and medical colleges with local candidates of AP and Telangana.
This special provision made by the President is so powerful that it needn’t recognise any new rules brought in and in case of disagreements between the new rules and the 371-D, the latter prevails.
The petitioners had contended that the seats available with the medical colleges falling under the purview of NTR Health University in AP and Kaloji Narayana Rao Health University in Telangana must be filled with only the local candidates of these twin states.
Owing to the judgement, during the first round of counselling, 40% of the seat matrix hadn’t been declared by the colleges, leaving students with limited options.
“First, counselling started without the complete seat matrix, because of which we were forced to fill up the choices within limited options. Even colleges like CMC Vellore, SGPGI Lucknow, St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru, hadn’t announced their seat matrix. On July 15, our percentages were declared. However, just before counselling began we got to know our ranks,” said Dr Tejaswi Shashikanth, a Bengaluru-based doctor who wrote NEET-SS, as reported by The Times of India.
Till last year, every state would conduct its own NEET-SS examination within a month, which had made the process taxing. So the National Board of Examinations (NBE) changed this into a nationwide examination held for all states on the same dates. Though this move was welcome, its aftermath has been highly inconvenient for the aspirants.
“…it seems to have made a mockery of the entire process. This system, handled by NBE and MCC (Medical Counselling Committee), should be scrapped and re-exam should be held to get rid of corrupt practices. Also, the question papers need to be fairly set, considering now it’s one single exam for all super-specializations,” said Dr Ashwin S P from Bengaluru, who wants to do super-specialization in nephrology to The Times of India.
Meanwhile, a notification from MCC suggested that “even if the candidate has been allotted a seat in the first round of counselling, he/she can refresh the choices in the second round when seats of remaining colleges will be made available”.
“What’s the point of the first round of counselling if students can make a choice in the second round as well? The worst part was that all announcements were first made through the Twitter account of Bipin Batra, the sacked executive director of NBE,” said Dr Abheesh Hegde from Bengaluru.
Furthermore, Vyapam scam whistleblower, Dr Anand Rai is alleging that NEET-SS was also not free from corruption.
Earlier, Dr Bipin Batra, the executive director of NEET-PG was removed from his post by the NBE as his appointment was not approved by the central government.