Courts Update Supreme Court directs Centre to look into PIL filed...

Supreme Court directs Centre to look into PIL filed by postgraduate doctors alleging alteration in NEET Super-specialty exam

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New Delhi Sept 27(ILNS): The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central government to look into a PIL filed by postgraduate doctors alleging that the question pattern for NEET-Super Speciality 2021 has been altered, only to favor those who have done post-graduation in general medicine, at the cost of other disciplines (Prateek Rastogi vs National Board of Examination).

“Hold a meeting and put your house in order; The insensitive bureaucrats should not cheat the young doctors of the country,” said the Apex Court, as the Centre sought time to file its response on the PIL.

The Matter was placed before the two judge bench comprising of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice B.V. Nagarathna. The bench extended the matter for hearing on next Monday once the Center files its counter affidavit by the end of this week.

The bench was deciding the issue as to whether the NEET super speciality exams be conducted with a recent change in pattern after the issuance of notification and just one month prior to the examination.

Senior Counsel Shyam Diwan appearing on behalf of the petitioners pointed out the urgency in the matter as the exams are set to be held in November and the pattern right before the said exams has been changed by the Board without any prior notice for the same.

A brief timeline of the case is as follows, On 27th July 2021 the notification for the examination was released, post which in august another notification was released which changed not altered the complete pattern of the examination.

The council on behalf of the respondents maintained their position that they are granted time to file a reply and argue their position before the Court passes an order. Senior Counsel Maninder Singh representing NBE stated that the change in the pattern was impending and inevitable. The change would have come prior to this stage had the NBE obtained the requisite approvals from the Health ministry. Since the said approval from the authorities was delayed the notification of the change in the pattern was subsequently delayed.

The Counsel for the respondents further reiterated that they would be able to satisfy the court with respect to the objective of the said change in the pattern of the examinations.

The court pointed out that the executive has no right to play with the lives of the students and young doctors in this manner; they pointed out what happened with the CLAT examinations as well and stated how lives and careers are at stake and they are far too valuable than the delay at the executive’s end with respect to giving approvals for changing the policy.

Moreover, the court suggested that the ministries and the NBE should hold a meeting together and get “their house in order” from the perspective of the students and their careers which would be fundamentally affected by such a delayed decision.

The Court maintained its stand on the issue that the matter is liable to be quashed, such that the new pattern cannot be implemented for this year’s examination even if the matter is heard on Monday however the chance of representation would be provided to the respondents.

The Supreme Court while strongly refutes the change in the pattern of the examination for the purpose of NEET super specialty exam 2021, allowed the respondents to file their replies by the end of this week and would hear the case next Monday./ILNS/KR/SNG

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