States cannot conduct their own Common Entrance Tests for admissions to medical and dental colleges, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The court said the Centre's regulation on the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test quashes local government laws on separate exams. The apex court was hearing petitions from various states and associations of private medical colleges, which sought to stay the court's ruling that allowed NEET to be held this academic year.

NEET is a common entrance test conducted by the Medical Council of India for admission to all medical and dental colleges across India.

The top court on Monday also ruled that students who had filled the form for NEET-I and did not appear for it will be permitted to appear for NEET-II. Also, those who appeared for the first paper but fear that they were not well prepared for it will be allowed to appear for the second phase of the test as well, provided they give up their candidature for NEET-I. On Friday, the Supreme Court had said that students who appeared for phase I of the NEET on May 1 will not be allowed to appear for phase II of the examination on July 24.

MCI counsel Vikas Singh had said the council was okay with states holding their own entrance tests for just this year. The MCI, which had opposed the state-level Common Entrance Test for admissions to local government and medical colleges, changed it position on the matter after students said they had prepared in vernacular languages for the state examinations, while the NEET is only in Hindi and English. The Supreme Court had paved the way for aspiring medical students to take the NEET in two phases this year.