The Supreme Court of India today directed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to respond to a plea asking to include Urdu as one of the languages in which National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is to be conducted. Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R. Banumathi have also directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India to respond to the plea and have posted the matter for March 10. NEET is a national level exam introduced in 2016 conducted for admission to MBBS and BDS programs at medical and dental institutes in India.
The petition was filed by Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO), a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, last month. The plea said that the decision to not conduct the exam in Urdu was unfair to students who finish their senior secondary education in Urdu language.
According to IANS, the petitioner’s counsel Advocate Ravinder S Garia informed the court that while earlier no state had come forward with the request, now the state governments of Maharashtra and Telangana have also requested the Central government to include Urdu as one of the languages in NEET.
The application process for NEET 2017 ended on March 1. The exam is due to be held on May 7 in seven Indian languages apart from English, i.e. Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese and Bengali. The petitioners have pleaded that CBSE should make provision to hold the exam in Urdu as well for candidates who have already applied and opted for any other language in absence of Urdu as an option.
Earlier, SIO had stated in its petition that the decision to exclude Urdu the sixth most spoken language in India against languages like Gujarati which was seventh most spoken and Assamese which was twelfth most spoken was discriminatory.