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Calcutta HC Refuses to Stay MBBS Exams amid Pandemic; Written Tests to Begin from Tomorrow

Representative image.

Representative image.

The court said candidates, who have enrolled themselves for the exams but would not be able to appear for it due to bona fide causes attributable to the pandemic, need to justify their reasons for non-appearance before the controller of examinations.

Written examinations for two batches of MBBS students of West Bengal University Of Health Sciences (WBUHS) will be held from July 14, the Calcutta High Court ordered on Monday, refusing prayers by a few students for a stay on the tests in view of the current pandemic situation.

Justice Subrata Talukdar directed that the "second Professional MBBS Examinations and the third Professional MBBS Part-I Examinations" will be held as per schedule.

The court said that the candidates, who have enrolled themselves for the exams but would not be able to appear for it due to bona fide causes attributable to the present pandemic situation, need to justify their reasons for non-appearance before the WBUHS controller of examinations.

The controller of examinations will be entitled to take a decision on a case by case basis and arrange for a replacement examination for the deserving candidates, the court directed.

Bikash Bhattacharya, senior advocate representing the student petitioners, sought a stay on conducting the examinations from Tuesday in the wake of the current pandemic situation.

Opposing the prayer, state Advocate General Kishore Datta submitted that for the second Professional MBBS Examinations, out of a total of 650 examinees, only 45 may be described as unwilling candidates in the sense of being unable to appear for the tests, whereas others are willing to take the examinations.

Of the 444 total candidates for the third Professional Part-I MBBS Examinations, only 13 have expressed their unwillingness to appear for the tests, the AG said.

He further submitted that adequate arrangements have been made to set up examination centres close to candidates homes, keeping in mind the containment policies as applicable to the present Unlock 2.0 period.

Counsel for the university, Supratik Roy, submitted that the transition from one year of the MBBS course to another is an all-India phenomenon incapable of segregation.

So, the examination ought not to be readily interjected by the court, particularly when a majority of the examinees are willing to appear at conveniently placed examination centres, he said.

Roy, however, added that in the event a student not being able to appear for the examinations for bona fide reasons beyond his or her control, alternate arrangements to hold the test in future for such a student will be put in place.