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The petition before the Supreme Court challenges the Kerala High Court's dismissal of a plea seeking setting up of NEET centres overseas or, alternatively, the exam's postponement until the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Centre in a petition seeking the setting up of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam centres in foreign countries for the benefit of Indian medical aspirants living overseas.
The Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta, and S Ravindra Bhat issued notice in the plea filed by the parents of NEET 2020 candidates who are settled in Middle Eastern countries like Qatar.
The petition before the Supreme Court challenged the Kerala High Court's dismissal of a plea seeking setting up of NEET centres overseas or, alternatively, the exam's postponement until the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
A petition seeking directions to the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA) to this end, moved by General Secretary of the Kerala Muslim Culture Centre, Qatar, Abdul Azeez, was rejected by a High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly. This prompted the petitioners to approach the Supreme Court.
Before the Kerala High Court, the MCI and other authorities submitted that overseas test centres were not feasible. The Centre also informed the Court that overseas students could be brought back to Kerala by following the guidelines prescribed for overseas Indians.
The plea in the Supreme Court was filed through Advocate Pallavi Pratap.
The plea states that there are 4,000 such students registered with NEET-UG from Qatar who are facing difficulties in getting their documents attested from the Embassy of India in Qatar.
The petitioner states that earlier, the NEET exams were scheduled to be held in May 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exams were rescheduled to July 26. The students had already booked their tickets to India to participate in their exam. However, since there is a ban on international travel by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), it is not feasible for the students to attend the exam in India.
It is also averred that though flights have begun operating via the Vande Bharat mission, the candidates have not been able to get seats in the said flights.