The Centre was on Thursday directed by the Supreme Court to include Urdu as a language in the NEET exam, the common test for admission into medical courses, from academic session 2018-19 onwards.
The apex court made it clear that it cannot ask the government to do "miracles" and include Urdu as a language for this year's NEET examination.
"In any case, we are saying it is not possible this year. There are lot of difficulties. Please try to understand that we cannot ask them (government) to do miracles. The exam is scheduled on May 7 and today is April 13. Lot of process is involved in this," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra told the counsel appearing for the petitioner.
"We direct the Union of India to include Urdu as a language in NEET examination from academic session 2018-19 onwards," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, said.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, told the court that they were not opposed to the suggestion of conducting NEET examination in Urdu medium also from 2018-19 academic year onwards but this year it would not be possible due to paucity of time.
"We are not opposed to it but the problem is the time this year," he said.
The apex court was hearing a petition which has sought a direction for making Urdu as a medium for NEET 2017.
During the hearing, the lawyer representing the petitioner argued that there were 11,000 Urdu medium students and if Marathi can be one of the languages for NEET exam for 500 Marathi students in Maharashtra, why it cannot be in Urdu for such a large number of students.
"The whole problem is that this year this is not possible," the bench said, adding, "we just cannot ask the respondents (Centre, CBSE and others) to do miracles."
The counsel appearing for the CBSE told the bench that it would not be possible for them to include Urdu as a language for NEET examination scheduled on May 7 this year.
The petitioner's counsel contended that in Maharashtra, the state government had come out with a notification that even for admission in Unani medicine course, candidates will have to qualify NEET.
"The entire course for Unani medicine is in Urdu but the candidates appearing in the exam to get admission in Unani medicine course do not have the option of Urdu language in NEET," he said.
The bench, however, observed that it would be very difficult to ask the Centre and others, including CBSE and Medical Council of India (MCI), to change the entire pattern of examination to include Urdu as a language this year.
The bench, while disposing of the plea, recorded the submissions of the Solicitor General that the government was not opposed to include Urdu as a language for NEET exams from next year onwards.
The government had on March 31 told the apex court that a students' body seeking NEET examination in Urdu language has accused the Centre of being communal.
The submission was made while referring to the affidavit filed by Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) through its national secretary Thouseef Ahamad.
The Centre had told the apex court it was not feasible to introduce Urdu as one of the mediums for the NEET from the current academic year.
At present, NEET is being conducted in ten languages — Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Telegu, Tamil and Kannada languages.
The court had earlier sought reply from the Centre, MCI, Dental Council of India and CBSE on the plea suggesting making Urdu as a medium for NEET 2017. PTI