Selection of students for medical courses postponed

CMC Vellore has postponed selection of Medical Students and Postgraduate trainees for Higher Specialities.

An extraordinary Council meeting was called on 2nd of September 2017 to discuss about the admissions for MBBS and Super-Speciality Post graduate courses for the current year.

After hearing detailed accounts of the historical background to the NEET and Common Counseling issue, and discussing various options available, the Council decided not to accept Common Counseling for either undergraduate MBBS admissions or post graduate super-speciality admissions. The principle of common counseling is not a minor issue or academic diversion: it strikes at the heart of the values and objectives of the Christian Medical College Vellore and will have a significant negative impact on Christian healthcare ministry in India.

CMC has not lost the case, in fact the Supreme Court judgment in 2012 rejecting NEET has still not been overturned. A long series of judgments down the years have been favourable to CMC?s selection process and minority rights, but these don’t seem to have taken into account in the current deliberations by the court. There are grounds for optimism, but it is likely to take some time for CMC?s position to be vindicated.

Thus no admissions would take place until the existing cases had been decided by the Supreme Court and the admissions process was ?sub judice?.

The Statement by the Director and Principal of CMC

Christian Medical College, Vellore has no objection to the NEET qualifying written examination, subject to the decision of the Hon?ble Supreme Court regarding the validity of the said exam, which is under challenge. In this background, for the academic year 2016-17, we accepted NEET as the eligibility exam and admitted 100 NEET qualified students.

This year also, candidates who have applied to CMC Vellore had to qualify the NEET for eligibility. We, however, object to the regulation imposing common counseling by the central and state appointed committees that was notified in March 2017. We are very strongly of the view that our counseling of candidates for selection, that has been in place since 1946 ought not to be disturbed, since the common counseling encroaches upon our right to select candidates who satisfy the criteria, ethos and objectives for which the Institution has been set up. That apart, the common counseling also nullifies the fundamental rights conferred on us under Article 30 of the Constitution of India.

Our petition against the common counseling is scheduled to be heard by the Hon?ble Supreme Court in October 2017. A final decision regarding admissions for this year will be taken subject to the decision rendered by the Hon?ble Court and the consequential directions issued. Till such time, the Undergraduate course will be run with one candidate, nominated by the Government of India admitted under an agreement, which has been in force for several years. The Higher Specialty courses will also be conducted with one candidate directed to be admitted by the Hon?ble Supreme Court in proceedings unrelated to NEET.

Just to explain what the terms ‘NEET’ and ‘Common Counselling’ means – 

A few years ago, the Medical Council of India decreed that all students wishing to study medical courses in India must sit a single qualifying exam, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). This applies to undergraduate (MBBS) and higher exams for post graduate courses. NEET is purely academic. This was designed to create a level playing field for medical entrance across the country, and to reduce the burden on people having to sit multiple entrance exams for several different colleges. CMC Vellore accepted this as the academic criterion for selecting students, and last year continued with its regular practice of using aptitude tests and interviews to assess non-academic suitability of the candidates. CMC also continued to select through the “sponsoring” system, which ensures that successful candidates come from all over India with a sense of obligation to return, after graduation, to serve in hospitals of their sponsoring body.

In 2017 the Medical Council of India, supported by the government, passed an order stating that all medical college seats must be filled up through “Central Counseling” based purely on the NEET scores. Agreeing to this would mean that the College would lose all autonomy in student selection, leaving only the academic criteria and students with no particular link to the sponsoring bodies or their hospitals.

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