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SC rejects petition seeking NEET deferment

Published on Sep 07, 2021 03:01 AM IST

The court instead asked the petitioning students to appeal to National Testing Agency (NTA) to consider their request for deferment or let them opt out this time and take another shot at the examination later.

“If the authorities are willing to do it on their own, we won’t come in their way. But do not use our platform to push them,” said the bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar.(Representational image)
ByAbraham Thomas, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea seeking deferment of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for medical college admissions scheduled on September 12, noting that any interference by the court will cause “pain and strain” to nearly 1.6 million candidates who have registered for the examination.

The court instead asked the petitioning students to appeal to National Testing Agency (NTA) to consider their request for deferment or let them opt out this time and take another shot at the examination later.

The decision to hold NEET for MBBS/BDS admissions was taken by the Centre on July 13. “If the authorities are willing to do it on their own, we won’t come in their way. But do not use our platform to push them,” said the bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar.

The petition sought deferment because some of the students writing the exam would also have to appear for Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) on September 6 and CBSE Class 12 physics compartment/improvement examination on September 9. Advocate M Shoeb Alam appearing for the petitioners informed the court that the NTA had deferred Session 4 of JEE from July 27 to late August and could similarly consider deferring NEET.

“Let the exam go on. This will amount to too much of meddling with education. We should now redefine the scope of our judicial review. Because of inconvenience of some, 16 lakh students should not suffer...,” the bench said. The court also noted the logistical challenges of planning and arranging for the examination centres.

But the court offered an alternative. “If the petitioners so desire, are free to make representation(s) to the competent authority who may consider the representation(s) on its own merits and in accordance with law at the earliest,” it said.

The top court also directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to provisionally accommodate students appearing in the CBSE examination for private/compartment/patrachar (correspondence) categories pending announcement of their results by September 30.

CBSE counsel Rupesh Kumar informed the court that nearly 90,000 students were appearing for the private/patrachar/second compartment and improvement exams. Advocates Apoorv Kurup for UGC and Harish Pandey for AICTE informed the court that even if the results are not available before September 30 and the admission process begins, the petitioners and similarly placed students could apply for provisional admissions.

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