The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it will consider including Urdu in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), meant for admission to MBBS and BDS courses.
The bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R. Banumathi was told the Centre cannot include Urdu in NEET for this year but was open to consider it for the academic year 2017-18.
The Centre also sought time to file its reply to the plea filed by Students Islamic Organisation of India, a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, that exclusion of Urdu as one of the languages in NEET was "discriminatory, arbitrary and violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution".
The petitioner's Counsel told the court that earlier 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.
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.
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