Published: 06th September 2021
SC refuses to postpone NEET, asks students to take it up with NTA. Exam to be held on September 12
"Let the boards do the job, we will not interfere in this matter," the court said during the hearing
The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea from students across the country to postpone the National Eligibilty cum Entrance Test (NEET), scheduled for September 12, to a date after the results for the CBSE compartment exams results are released in October. Passing the order, the three judge bench said, "Relief claimed is to quash public notice issued scheduling NEET UG 2021 on September 12. For reasons canvassed by petitioners’ counsel we are not impressed nor willing to show any indulgence to petitioners or allow them to invoke remedy under Article 32. Competent authority may take appropriate decision in accordance with the law."
The apex court said that the petition can be presented as a representation to the National Testing Agency, if "the petitioners so desired" to reconsider the conduct of the exam on the scheduled date "at the earliest." However, the court made it clear that they have refused to pass any opinion on the matter presented. The bench also said that they will let the boards of respective states, whose exams are clashing with NEET to take a call, and that it would be unfair to reschedule it. "Let the boards do the job, we will not interfere in this matter," the court said during the hearing.
The court also pointed out that if NEET is deferred, it may clash with other exams. Dismissing advocate Shoeb Alam's case for students writing improvement exams for Class XII, the court said that the entire exam cannot be postponed for 1 per cent of the students who will be writing those exams. When advocate Alam pointed out that too many exams are taking place in 10 days, and it will be inconvenient for the students, the court said, "Just because of inconvenience to one, so many students will suffer! Just see what kind of intervention you are asking."
The JEE exam had also been postponed from September to October by the National Testing Agency after a series of protests by the students, and students have demanded why similar action cannot be taken for NEET. The court pointed out that that was the NTA's decision, and they cannot force them in this matter. Appealing on behalf of the students the advocate also pointed out that the pattern of the exam had changed recently, and requested the court to ask the NTA to consider these changes, and in their light, and the exam date.
However, the court said they do not want uncertainty in an exam where 16 lakh students are set to appear. "Our indulgence means we are causing strain and pain to so many students. If the NTA wants to do it on its own it's for them to decide. Please don’t use our platform to push them," the court stated, while also pointing out the logistics in the matter — the exam is set to happen in a week, and centres have already been allotted.
The students have been protesting online for some time now, and have created a petition on change.org to get the exam postponed to October. Currently, the petition has over 20,000 signatures. On August 28, NSUI National President, Neeraj Kumar had also written to the Education Minister, detailing the exam dates that clash with NEET, and requesting him to postpone the exam. Kumar had also asked for a window of 7-14 days for students to focus on the exams, and said that the clashing of dates was impacting the stress levels and mental health of the students, a plea that was reiterated in the student's petition as well.
The exam, which had originally been scheduled for August had been postponed to the current date, given uncertainty about the pandemic, and subsequent protests from the students.