Respond over plea on inclusion of Urdu in NEET: SC to Centre, CBSE

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and the CBSE, among others, for response to a plea to include Urdu in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), meant for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses.

Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R. Banumathi also sought the responses from the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India and posted the matter for March 10.

The petition filed by Students Islamic Organisation of India, a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said the exclusion of Urdu as one of the languages in NEET was "discriminatory, arbitrary and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution". 

The petitioner's counsel told the court that earlier on no request was made by any state in this regard. However, he said, now Maharashtra and Telangana have officially made a request to the central government to include Urdu as one of the languages in NEET.

The application form for NEET 2017, scheduled to be held on May 7, is already out and the last date for submission of forms was March 1. The exam will be held in seven Indian languages, apart from English. 

According to the Central Board of Secondary Education notification, the medical entrance examination will be held in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese and Bengali languages.

The petitioner pleaded that the Health and Family Welfare Ministry and the CBSE be directed to make a provision for holding the exam in Urdu as well, even for those who have already applied and opted for another language before the last date of submission of forms got over.

"The decision to exclude Urdu, the sixth most-spoken language in India, while including the seventh most-spoken Gujarati and 12th most-spoken Assamese is completely without rationale," the petitioner said.