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"If any of the students is unable to attend the examination on the centre due to flood situation, a representation can be made through the local agency to the Apex Body of the JEE-Main Examination", the Court held.
In an early morning hearing, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court considered whether the flood situation in districts of Maharashtra necessitated the deferral of the Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) which is scheduled to commence today.
A Bench of Justices Ravi K Deshpande and Pushpa Ganediwala disposed of the plea, noting with appreciation the steps taken by the National testing Agency (NTA) to meet with the situation caused by the floods.
The Court ordered:
The Court, on its own motion, took up the matter for hearing on Monday evening after receiving a letter sent by Nitesh Bawankar of Bhandara district in Maharashtra.
The hearing took place at 8:30 AM this morning, just half an hour before the examination was scheduled to begin.
The letter highlighted the hurdles faced by students appearing for the JEE-Main examination and residing in flood-hit areas of Nagpur, Amravati, Akola, Chandrapur, Gondia and Gadchiroli districts.
The floods made it difficult for students from these areas to appear for the JEE-Main examination, Bawankar pointed out.
Yesterday, the Maharashtra government, the Centre, and the National Testing Agency were asked by the Court to consider postponing the examination for students residing in flood-affected areas.
Today, the District Collectors of the Nagpur, Amravati, Akola, Chandrapur, Gondia and Gadchiroli apprised the Court of the situation prevailing in their respective districts.
While the Nagpur, Akola, and Amravati District Collectors submitted that there were no floods in these Districts, the Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia Collectors informed that certain areas of their districts were inundated.
However, the Chandrapur testing centre was not affected, and inquiries had revealed that there were no applicants stranded in the flooded areas. Applicants for the examination at Gondia and Bhandara districts have road access to testing centres in Nagpur, the Court was told. Bhandara and Gondia had no designated testing centres, it was clarified additionally.
The Gadircholi district, though, was stated to be heavily affected by floods.
The Court opined that the National Testing Agency was the appropriate body to decide on whether the exam was to be deferred.
The Additional Solicitor General assured the Court that those unable to take the examination because of the floods or inability to travel, could make a representation to the Coordinator of the Agency conducting the examination in the district.
The Agency would, in turn, communicate the representation made to the JEE Organising Body, which would "appropriately considered".
The Bench accepted the State's submissions and directed that Authorities to consider representations within fifteen days of their receipt.
Appreciating the efforts of all the agencies and Counsel involved, the Bench stated:
The petition was disposed in these terms.
Read the Order here: