Supreme Court and NEET
Supreme Court and NEET
Litigation News

NEET 2020: Petition in Supreme Court urges for suo motu cognisance of plight of students who missed the test, prays for allowing a re-test

It is pointed out in the plea that many aspirants were unable to write the entrance exams on account of COVID-19 contingencies and issues faced such as transit issues, sickness and others.

Shruti Mahajan

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court praying for the Court to take suo motu cognizance of reports regarding NEET-JEE aspirants who were unable to take the exams due to unforeseeable circumstances.

The petition filed by an Advocate Shashwat Anand prays for the Court to pass appropriate orders in the interest of the students who were unable to take the entrance exams and to direct the National Testing Agency (NTA) to permit such students to write a re-examination.

It is also prayed that the States be directed to assist in making necessary travel-related arrangements for the students who wish to write the re-examination and for those who live in remote places.

Moreover, the petitioners have also urged the Court to exercise its Article 142 jurisdiction to lay down certain guidelines in relation to the conduct of retests for entrance exams like NEET, JEE, among others, where the students miss the exams due to some sufficient cause.

It is pointed out in the plea that many aspirants were unable to write the entrance exams on account of COVID-19 contingencies and issues faced such as transit issues, sickness and others. A detailed report on the plight of students was carried in the Hindustan Times on September 13. The plea has urged the Court to take suo motu cognizance of the same.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had heard petitions which highlighted the possible issues that the students could face in writing the NEET amid the pandemic. However, the petition was dismissed by the Court. A review petition filed subsequently was also not entertained by the Supreme Court which paved the way for the exam to be held on the scheduled date i.e September 13. The last PIL in relation to NEET was dismissed on September 9.

"...several lakhs of students risking their lives and danger of disease and death took the examinations and considering their academic future and after scrutiny the students ought to have been permitted to appear in the examination", the petition moved now says.

Owing to the extraordinary circumstances in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing restrictions, many students who were unable to take the exam deserve another opportunity for the same, it is averred.

If the Court declines to grant relief to this effect, it would lead to irreparable loss to the students who would lose one entire academic year. It would have an adverse impact on their careers, the petition states.

This, the petitioner juxtaposes against the observations made by the Supreme Court while dismissing the PIL for postponement/cancellation of NEET, when the Court had said that,

“..though there is pandemic situation, but ultimately life has to go and the career of the students cannot be put on peril for long and full academic year.”

The petition further adds,

"... exams are the edifice upon which the structure of the students' future lives does stand, and being unable to attend the exams for some or the other sufficient cause(s) may shake the very foundations of the students‟ academic careers and may dishearten, deject and unnerve them for the rest of their lives thereby putting to test their health, both physical and mental, wellness and safety, in these trying times."

Therefore, the petitioner has prayed for Court to take suo motu cognizance of the issue at hand and pass necessary directions.

The petition is drawn by Advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Amit Pai and Smita Pandey and filed through Advocate Amit Pai.

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