The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, or NEET, will also apply to private unaided minority professional institutes providing medical courses, Bar and Bench reported.

The top court delivered its verdict on a bunch of petitions claiming that single entrance exam NEET took away the rights of the religious and linguistic minority institutions to admit students from the minority communities on their own terms.

Christian Medical College, Vellore, was the primary petitioner in the case. The institute, which used to hold its own entrance exam, had challenged NEET on the grounds that the exam violated its minority rights under Article 30. The institute had argued that its selection procedure was tailored to select candidates who would be willing to work in rural areas.

The top court bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and MR Shah said that NEET was the first step in bringing about transparency in admissions to medicine courses.

The bench said that the provisions of Indian Medical Council Act do not take away the rights guaranteed to the aided and unaided minority institutions under various provisions of the Constitution.

“Resultantly, we hold that there is no violation of the rights of the unaided/aided minority to administer institutions under Articles 19(1)(g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution of India by prescribing the uniform examination of NEET for admissions in the graduate and postgraduate professional courses of medical as well as dental science,” the bench said.

The top court bench said that a uniform entrance test is needed to keep unfair practices in check. “To weed out evils from the system, which were eating away fairness in admission process, defeating merit and aspiration of the common incumbent with no means, the State has the right to frame regulatory regime for aided/ unaided minority/ private institutions,” the court said.

The bench added that minority institutions are equally bound to comply with conditions imposed under the relevant Acts and Regulations to retain affiliation and recognition.