The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it was open to the idea of conducting the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test in Urdu from the next academic year. In its submission to the top court, the government rejected the proposal of preparing the exam papers in the regional language for test scheduled for May 7, 2017.

The bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi had sought replies from the Centre and Medical Council of India to a petition filed by the the Student Islamic Organisation. The plea has alleged that excluding Urdu as one of the languages in which Neet will be conducted was “arbitrary” and a Constitutional violation, The Indian Express reported.

Students take Neet for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses. The test will be held in 10 languages – Hindi, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Assamese, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya and Kannada. At the last hearing, the apex court had noted that the Medical Council of India was willing to introduce any new language as a medium at a state’s request.

Lawyers representing the petitioners – Parvez Dabas and Ravindra S Garia – had highlighted that Telangana and Maharashtra had intimated the MCI to include Urdu as a medium to conduct Neet.

The top court has asked the Centre to file another reply by March 22 and scheduled the next hearing in the matter for March 26.