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Supreme Court issues notices to Centre, others over inclusion of Urdu as medium for NEET examinations

By Twocircles.net Staff Reporter

New Delhi: A petition filed by the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) for the inclusion of Urdu as a medium for NEET 2017, a common entrance test for admissions in the MBBS and BDS courses across the country, led the Supreme Court to seek responses from the Central government and Medical Council of India (MCI) on Friday, March 3. The next hearing will be on 10th March 2017 said, Ravinder S Garia.

A bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi said while taking note of the petition filed by Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), issued a notice to centre and MCI.

The bench also noted the submission that MCI was open to including any language as a medium of National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) if a request was made to it by states concerned. Besides the Centre and MCI, the court also issued notices to Dental Council of India (DCI) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and fixed the plea for further hearing on March 10.

Advocate Ravinder S Garia on behalf of SIO informed the court that Maharashtra and Telangana have already apprised the MCI that Urdu be included as one of the media for conducting NEET. In terms of a number of people speaking a language, Urdu ranks Sixth in India as the per the Census report. Also, Urdu is one the languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution. A large number of students study science in Urdu Medium for their Eleventh and 12th Class Exams. N.C.E.R.T textbooks for Eleventh and 12th class are available in Urdu when such textbooks are not available in several other languages such as Kannada. The seventh most spoken language Gujarati; the eighth most spoken language Kannada; the tenth most spoken language Oriya and the twelfth most spoken language Assamese have been given as options of medium for appearing in the said Entrance Exam but Urdu which is at the sixth rank has been arbitrarily excluded. It is further pertinent to mention taking note of the fact that a large number of students study science in Urdu Medium in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana etc., despite several State Governments making specific requests to the Union Health Ministry to include Urdu as a medium for National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test 2017, Urdu has arbitrarily and unreasonably left out as a medium for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test 2017.

Earlier, the apex court had refused to give an urgent hearing to the petition, filed by SIO, alleging that exclusion of Urdu as one of the languages in NEET exam to be held on May 7 was “arbitrary and violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution”.

“The decision to exclude Urdu was discriminatory, arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution,” it said.

In December last year, members of the Students Islamic Organisation, the students’ wing of Jamat-e-Islami Hind had submitted a memorandum to the District Collectors of Beed and Parbhani, demanding the inclusion of Urdu for the 2017 National eligibility cum entrance Test (NEET) and launched a petition on Change.org to raise awareness for the same.