SIO’s petition for inclusion of Urdu as a medium for NEET 2017, a common entrance test for admissions in MBBS and BDS courses across the country, led the Supreme Court to seek responses from the Central government and Medical Council of India (MCI). The next hearing will be on 10th March 2017 said, Thouseef Ahmed National Secretary SIO of India.

A bench comprising judges Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi said while taking note of the petition filed by Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), issued notice to center and MCI. The bench also noted the submission that MCI was open to include 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.

Thouseef Ahmed on behalf of SIO informed the court that Maharashtra and Telangana have already apprised the MCI that Urdu should be included as one of the medium for conducting NEET.

In terms of number of people speaking a language, Urdu ranks sixth in India as per the Census report. Also, Urdu is one of the languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution. A large number of students study science in Urdu medium for their 11th and 12th Class exams. N.C.E.R.T text books for 11th and 12th class are available in Urdu, when such text books are not available in several other languages such as Kannada. The seventh most spoken language Gujarati, Eighth most spoken language Kannada, Tenth most spoken Language Oriya and 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 states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana etc. that despite several state governments making specific requests to the Union Health Ministry to include Urdu as a medium for NEET test 2017, Urdu has arbitrarily and unreasonably been left out.

Earlier, the apex court had refused to give urgent hearing to the petition, filed through lawyers Parvez Dabas and Ravindra S Garia, 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”.