JEE Advanced: Kerala HC declines to entertain plea for centres abroad, directs Centre to arrange for applicants to take exam in India
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JEE Advanced: Kerala HC declines to entertain plea for centres abroad, directs Centre to arrange for applicants to take exam in India

The Bench was considering two petitions moved by grandparents of JEE applicants outside India.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

Disposing of two writ petitions seeking the restoration of JEE Advanced Test Centers in Dubai, the Kerala High Court last week directed the Central Government to make arrangements for applicants from other countries to travel back to India to take the test amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Directing that the students be accommodated in Vande Bharat Mission flights, Justice PV Asha of the High Court ruled:

"... there shall be a direction to the Government of India to see that appropriate facilities are made available to the candidates and their parents/relatives to enable them to appear in the JEE examinations in the centres within India and also for their return, in case they make a request, by accommodating them in the Vandebharat mission flights."

The exam is scheduled for Sunday, September 27, 2020.

Citing the recent Supreme Court direction to State governments to relax quarantine measures for the applicants taking the NEET, the Kerala High Court took the view that similar relaxations would have to be made for those writing the JEE (Advanced) as well.

The Bench was considering two petitions moved by grandparents of JEE applicants outside India. Explaining that their grandchildren faced difficulties on account of the cancellation of the Dubai test centre for the JEE (Advanced), they sought the Court's intervention in directing that a test center be set up there.

The Joint Admission Board (the organising body) initially announced exam centres abroad for the Advanced exam, the petitioners argued. Apart from this, the Body has been designating test centres abroad for the past 4-5 years, which heightened their expectation of a centre there, it was averred.

The petitions also asked why a centre could not be set up in Dubai, considering that there were test centres in Dubai for the JEE Mains this year.

Another grievance was with regard to the clash of the students' travel schedules with other exams to be conducted during the period, with test centres in Dubai. This created further difficulty for the students, it was argued.

Additional arguments were made on account of travel restrictions, quarantine norms, and other issues that their grandchildren would face if they were required to travel to India for the exam.

The Government's Counsel opposed one of the pleas moved in the Kerala High Court, stating that the petitioner and their grandchildren did not belong to the State. This preliminary objection was dismissed by the Court stating that it was not necessary for maintainability to be considered, in view of the nature of the petitions.

It was also stated by the various State respondents that the decision not to set-up test centers abroad was a conscious decision to preserve the sanctity of the testing, taken after due deliberations.

Justice Asha, dismissing the pleas, opined:

"... an interference in such academic matters is not warranted under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, as it is settled law that courts shall stay aloof from such academic matters where experts in the field who are in the know-how of the matter involved have taken a decision."
Kerala High Court

The pleas were disposed of with a direction to the Centre to make arrangements for the students' travel in the Vande Bharat Mission flights.

Read the Judgment here:

Shantha Bhaskaran v. Union of India and Ors. - Final Order.pdf
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