Courts Update Supreme Court refuses to defer September 12 NEET examination

Supreme Court refuses to defer September 12 NEET examination

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New Delhi Sept 6(ILNS): The Supreme Court today denied the demand to defer the NEET examination which is scheduled to be held on September 12, 2021, in a plea filed by young students of age about 18 years old, just passed their 12th standard and who are under various conditions like flood-affected areas, amidst the second wave of COVID19 and Board Exam cancellation, etc.

The young candidates filed a petition seeking rescheduling of NEET UG21 amidst the CBSE Board Exam from August 25 to September 15 which were recorded by the Supreme Court while hearing the matter of Mamta Sharma v Central Board of Secondary Education & ORS. filed in regard to the cancellation of 12th standard written exams. 

Further, the petitioner found themselves in a trap when they noticed the schedule of all their regional and national entrance exams like COMEDK, ICAR, OJEE including some Board being compulsory examinations, aggrieved by which the petitioners made various representation since July 2021 about the change of pattern, clashing exams. 

The Petitioners filed the Writ Petition for seeking re-scheduling of NEET UG21 to any date after September 25, 2021, which was denied by the Supreme Court. 

The Bench comprising of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Hrishikesh Roy, and Justice C.T. Ravikumar held that “The relief claimed is to quash public notice issued scheduling NEET-UG 2021 on 12th September. For reasons canvassed by petitioner counsel, we are not impressed nor willing to show any indulgence to the petitioners or allow them to invoke any remedy under Article 32. If petitioners so desire, they are free to make representations to the competent authority who may consider it on its own merits at the earliest. Beyond this, we make it clear we haven’t expressed any opinion on several opinions canvassed.”

The Supreme Court said that the examination of NEET UG to be held on September 12 itself cannot be postponed for the convenience of some students, the examination of all 16lakhs students.

The Supreme Court, while refusing to pass any order on the matter, dismissed the argument of some students that the date of entrance examination is falling simultaneously with other examinations. Hence the NEET exam should not be postponed.

The court said that while considering 16 lakh students will take the NEET exam not just some of these students, “These students should burn the midnight oil and prepare. How much can we intervene as the court? Our indulgence means we are causing strain and pain to many students. If the authority wants to do it on its own it’s for them to decide. Please don’t use our platform to push them. All preparations have been done for all the students. This cannot be avoided on the plea of ​​some students.”

The bench orally observed that “We should now really redefine our scope of judicial review. Where do we go and to what extent, as we do not want scores of students to suffer in any manner due to deferment of examination for which they have “burnt midnight oil” and prepared.”

The petitioners submitted that the biggest sufferers of the exam being conducted amidst such a hectic schedule are the applicants for NEET-UG 21 as it’s a national exam held only once a year with each mark being relevant to determine the career path of the applicants.

The counsel appearing on behalf of the young candidates requested the bench to make a representation, however, Solicitor General responded to the same saying that the preparation has already been made for the exams and students who live outside India, have already made their travel arrangements.

The Petitioner further seeks the indulgence of the Apex Court on the following grounds- 

1. The National Testing Agency is failed to take into consideration relevant material and arbitrarily decided to schedule the NEET UG 2021 to be held on 12th September 2021 and the said decision making is manifestly arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

2. The Information bulletin released by the agency in March 2021 stated that the pattern will be of Multiple-Choice Questions of 50 questions each for Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology for a total of 180 questions and 720 Marks. Whereas, in July 2021 it was intimated that a total of 200 questions and 720 Marks will be the pattern of NEET UG21. The sudden change in the exam pattern just prior to 2 months before the exam has caused stress among students as they need some more time to adapt to the new exam pattern.

3. COVID19 second wave impacted many across the country. Many applicants were infected and consumed some time to recover, suffering post-COVID symptoms needing some time to make adequate preparation to face a challenging exam like NEET UG21 and maximize their efficiency.

4. Many students are below the age of 18years and they are not being vaccinated yet./ILNS/RG/KR/SNG

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