The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a fresh batch of petitions seeking deferment of NEET, which is scheduled to be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on September 13. “Everything is over now, even the review petitions have been dismissed,” the apex court said while refusing to entertain the pleas that had also sought an increase in a number of exam centres.
A bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan observed that the authorities will take all steps necessary to help aspirants sit for the test. “Some petitions had cited Bihar floods for deferment, while some others weekend Covid-19 lockdowns,” the bench said.
The petitioners had demanded that the NEET be held in 5-6 shifts for over 15.9 lakh students across 3843 centres.
Presenting a fresh plea for deferring the exam and requesting for more centres, the senior lawyers of the Supreme Court made last ditch effort to bring relief to students who have been seeking to postpone NEET 2020 amid the coronavirus scare. The National Testing Agency (NTA) had recently conducted JEE Main 2020 examination, following which students and experts had questioned how would social distancing be maintained when more number of aspirants would sit for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical courses.
The fresh plea in SC also requests for a staggered examination over five to six days, like the JEE Main examination. Informing about the fresh plea, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava tweeted on Tuesday: “#NEET friends, Today evening I had a detailed discussion with Respected Senior Advocate, who will appear for us in our NEET Case tomorrow. We are seeking postponement, more centres, NEET in 5-6 Days etc. Both of us are working pro bono. We will try our Best. U keep studying.”
The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed a plea seeking postponement of JEE (Main) April 2020 and NEET-Undergraduate examinations, which are scheduled for September, amid spurt in number of Covid-19 cases, saying precious year of students “cannot be wasted” and life has to go on.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said career of students “cannot be put under jeopardy for long”. “Life has to go on. Life has to move ahead. Precious year of students cannot be wasted,” the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, said during the hearing conducted through video conferencing while paving the way for commencement of the exams as scheduled.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the apex court that due precautions and all safeguards would be taken while conducting these examinations. The counsel appearing for the petitioners told the bench that lakhs of students are looking towards the top court for relief and they were only seeking postponement of these exams.
The plea, filed by 11 students belonging to 11 states, had sought quashing of the July 3 notices issued by the National Testing Agency (NTA), by which it was decided to conduct the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) April 2020 and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)-Undergraduate exams in September.
As per the public notices issued by NTA, JEE (Main) April 2020 was conducted from September 1-6, while NEET UG 2020 exam is scheduled for September 13. The plea, filed through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, had referred to Covid-19 pandemic and said authorities be directed to conduct these exams only after normalcy is restored.