New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to include Urdu as a language for the 2018-19 session of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the common test for admission into medical courses. It, however, means the NEET this year will not be conducted in Urdu. A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar told the petitioner, who has sought a direction for making Urdu as a medium for NEET 2017 scheduled on May 7, that it would not be possible for the government to include Urdu this year.
“As the language is associated with Muslim, the government functionaries are prejudiced and biased and have deliberately excluded the Urdu language as medium for the NEET exams,” the affidavit filed by SIO national secretary Thouseef Ahamad said. SC asked to take back the statement against government as “Selective Discrimination” but Ravinder S Garia, advocate on behalf of SIO argued and said it’s a selective discrimination with Urdu language and refused to withdraw the affidavit and said that 4th January 2017, Maharashtra government requested to add Urdu but centre said it received the letter on 17th January 2017 but in next affidavit filed by Union of India, it accepted that it received the letter to include Urdu in NEET 2017 4th January itself via mail.
In terms of number of people speaking a language Urdu ranks Sixth in India as the per the Census report. A large number of students study science in Urdu Medium for their Eleventh and 12th Class Exams. N.C.E.R.T text books for Eleventh 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 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. The Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO) had moved the apex court demanding Urdu be made a medium of the exam, just as NEET is conducted in ten other languages – Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada.
SIO feels that exclusion of Urdu as medium is highly detrimental to students across the country who received their secondary and higher secondary education in Urdu language. They are suddenly confronted with having to either appear in language which they did not undertake their secondary education in or not appear at all.