NEET, JEE: Supreme Court rejects review petition to postpone the exams

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Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain the review petition filed by ministers of six opposition-ruled states who were seeking review of the court’s August 17 order to conduct NEET-UG and JEE EXAMINATIONS.

Six ministers from Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh had had moved to the apex court saying that if the order was not reviewed, “grave and irreparable harm and injury would befall on the student community”.

The petitioners in the case were Moloy Ghatak (minister from West Bengal), Rameshwar Oraon (Jharkhand), Raghu Sharma (Rajasthan), Amarjeet Bhagat (Chhattisgarh), Balbir Singh Sidhu (Punjab), and Uday Ravindra Samant (Maharashtra). In its review plea, stated, “not only will health, welfare and safety of students/candidates appearing for the NEET/JEE examinations stand imperilled but also the public health at large would be in severe jeopardy…”

The ministers in the plea had claimed that the top court order failed to secure students’ “right to life” and ignored “teething logistical difficulties” to be faced in conducting the exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state ministers on August 28 moved SC and demanded that the examinations be postponed by at least six to eight weeks keeping in mind the surge in coronavirus cases and health concerns of students. It alleged that the government’s decision to go ahead with examinations despite the 3.3 million covid cases with over 60,000 deaths, “reveals non application of mind, and is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious exercise of power”.

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, which considered the pleas in-chamber, also rejected the applications seeking listing of the review petition in the open court. “Applications seeking permission to file review petitions are allowed. We have carefully gone through the review petitions and the connected papers. We find no merit in the review petitions and the same are accordingly dismissed,” the bench said in its order.

The JEE-Main will be held from 1 to 6 September, while NEET exams for admission to undergraduate courses in medical colleges is scheduled for 13 September. JEE Advanced for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is scheduled for later in September.

JEE-Mains have already begun across the country from September 1, with guidelines for maintaining social distance minimising contact.

PTI reported that on the third day of the JEE-Mains, 82.14 percent of the registered candidates appeared for the examination, as against 54.67 percent on the first day.

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