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SC dismisses plea to postpone NEET PG 2022 exam

Mangalore Today News Network

New Delhi, May 13, 2022: The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea seeking to postpone the postgraduate medical entrance exam National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET PG) saying that it will affect thousands of students who have registered for the exam.



A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said the postponement of the examination would create “chaos and uncertainty” and would affect the larger section of students who have registered for the examination.

“There are two categories of students one which is seeking postponement and the larger category of over two lakh six thousand candidates who would be affected by the postponement after having prepared for the examination”, the bench said.

The court said the delay would also lead to a shortage of doctors in hospitals, adding that patient care is paramount.

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud heard the case and said, "While considering the rival submissions, it must be noted at the outset that the academic schedule has already been delayed by over four months. The original schedule for NEET 2022-23 had to be revised due to pandemic exigencies. The petitioners and similarly placed doctors have participated in the counselling process for NEET-PG 2021. They were not barred from registering for NEET-PG 2022. The registration for NEET-PG 2022 closed on March 25. As many as two lakh and six thousand doctors registered for the exam. What must be borne in mind by the court is that there is a large body of students and the need for patient care -- which cannot be ignored. Postponing will create chaos and uncertainty."

It noted that the government is trying to bring back the examination schedule on time as it was affected due to the pandemic. “As the country gets back on the rails, which was derailed due to the pandemic, the time schedule laid down by this court must be adhered to”, it said.

The petition filed by doctors cited a clash with ongoing NEET PG counselling. Senior advocate Rakesh Khanna appearing for the petitioner explained to the bench that dates are clashing.

To this, Justice Chandrachud said, "Mr Khanna, the NEET PG is going to take place on May 21, you want the postponement now? How can we do that? Just to avoid hardship for some, how can we cause hardship to all those who have prepared and studied? How can we do that?"

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati informed that 2,06,000 doctors have registered for the exams.

Justice Chandrachud said, "See, 2,06,000 doctors have registered. They have prepared. There are two sets of students. How can we postpone for one set of students?"

Pressing for the postponement of the exam, senior advocate Rakesh Khanna said, "Majority of students want postponement. We have given representation to the Prime Minister. All of us are running from pillar to post."

ASG Bhati responded, "We are only trying to catch up. If this happens, we will be derailed. Doctors are in the medical college hospital and they have a very useful role to play."

The bench then questioned the petitioners as to why they have not prepared for the exams.

Justice Surya Kant said, "There was no such embargo that if you apply for round 1, in round 2 you will not be able to apply. There was no such condition."

Senior advocate Khanna responded to the bench and said, "Petitioners are meritorious students and up to May 12 they were occupied with the counselling. The stray round is still not over. They are losing a chance. Thousands are affected by this. A little accommodation is needed. With what frame of mind can they apply for this exam when they are running around for counselling?"

Explaining the circumstances of the students, senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for the petitioner said, "There were two sets. One set applied but the other didn’t. How does it prejudice the state if it is extended by one month or two months? They worked during Covid. If these 50,000 students are allowed to sit, they will be eligible to work for the government."

Opposing any kind of relief ASG Bhati said, "Delay impacts patients’ care in the hospital if fewer students are available. There are a large number of students who want the exam to be conducted on May 21. Over two lakh doctors have registered. A delay may have a cascading effect on other years. The country suffered due to the pandemic, and we are trying to put the schedule back on track."

The petitioners demanded the exam be postponed, saying it clashed with the ongoing counselling process of NEET PG 2021 and there was not much time to prepare.

Doctors who cleared the NEET PG 2021 and secured lower ranks would wait till the last rounds to get a seat. However, the application process for NEET PG 2022 has also been closed. If not extended further, the counselling process will end by May 9 and the exam will begin on May 21. Candidates claimed that this leaves little time for preparation and can lead to a year’s loss.

Courtesy: India Today

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