Supreme Court and NEET
Supreme Court and NEET
Litigation News

Breaking: Supreme Court refuses to interfere in fresh pleas seeking to postpone NEET 2020 amid COVID-19

The pleas were dismissed this morning by a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.

Bar & Bench

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court today dismissed fresh pleas urging the Court to reconsider the conduct of the medical entrance exam, NEET on September 13, 2020 in view of the rising cases of COVID-19 and constraints faced by students amid lockdown restrictions.

The lead case of Keshav Maheshwari was moved through Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava. Two other pleas by Arijit Sau and Pragya Pranjal had been filed through Advocate Anubha Shrivastava Sahai.

The pleas were dismissed this morning by a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.

Senior Advocates Arvind Datar and KTS Thulsi, and Advocates Shoeb Alam and Neela Gokhale also appeared today on behalf of the petitioners.

Concerns were raised today over the lesser number of test centres in certain States. Senior Advocate Datar pointed out that Bihar only had two centres. The Court, however, responded that there cannot be different dates for different States.

Whereas Datar urged for the exam to be postponed by three weeks, the Court remarked that a review plea in the matter has also been dismissed.

Senior Advocate Tulsi pointed out that the country is at a stage where 90,000 cases of COVID-19 are being reported daily. He also urged the top Court to consider the Bombay High Court’s recent direction to ensure that students who are unable to appear for an entrance exam on account of the pandemic be appropriately considered.

The Court said that these are matters for the testing agency to examine, and not for the Court to pass directions on.

Advocate Alam argued that the guidelines and SOPs issued for the conduct of the exam have certain lacunae. The Court, however, observed that the concerned authorities will take all necessary precautions for the safety of the students.

Alam urged the Court for directing the local authorities to ensure that the guidelines are enforced.

All this will be done”, the Court responded.

Alam, however, pressed further for a direction from the Court on this aspect, pointing out that a “slight nudge from your Lordships will go a long way… at a time when here is a cap on large gatherings and there are hundreds of students who have to go out to take the exams.

Whereas Advocate Gokhale had also sought to make submissions on the matter, the Court cut short her argument and intimated that it is not inclined to entertain the pleas.

The petitions were, thereafter, dismissed.

Earlier, on August 17, the Court had dismissed pleas to postpone the conduct of NEET and JEE until the COVID-19 situation in the country normalises, stating that the careers of students cannot be put at jeopardy by postponing the test indefinitely.

This prompted cabinet ministers from six opposition-ruled States to file a review plea, urging the Court to reconsider the correctness of its August 17 ruling. This plea was also later dismissed.

Whereas the JEE exams have already been conducted between September 1-6, the NEET is due to be held on September 13.

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