Published: 06th April 2022
Plea for extension of internship deadline for NEET-PG dismissed by Supreme Court
The bench was in agreement and said that if the petitioner's submission is accepted, it will have a "cascading effect"
A plea by a group of doctors who were seeking a deadline extension for internship completion was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 5. They were looking for an extension beyond July 31, 2022 for NEET-PG to enable those whose internships were delayed due to COVID-19 duties.
It was the observation of the bench of DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Bela M Trivedi that granting an extension beyond the date of July 31, 2022 will result in disruption of the whole academic schedule.
As quoted in a report by news agency PTI, the bench said, "Whenever there is a cut-off some students are likely to fall on either side of the dividing line. Any extension of the cut-off would result in the disruption of the education schedule."
It also added that the alternative prayer for inclusion of COVID-related duties would end up involving the court in micromanaging the curriculum.
“Though there will undoubtedly be an element of hardship, it would not be possible at this stage to disrupt the education of a large body of students. Hence, in our considered view it would not be appropriate to interfere,” the bench said.
At the very outset, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati had mentioned that July 31 is the date to which the internship can be extended. However, she explained that since the exam is scheduled to be held in May, the counselling in the third or fourth week of July and classes are to begin in the second week of August, extending the internship deadline will disrupt the entire academic calendar.
The bench was in agreement and said that if the petitioner's submission is accepted, it will have a "cascading effect".
As per Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal last year, the petitioners were busy with COVID-19 duties and hence, could not complete their internships, explained senior advocate Gopal Sankarnarayanan. He suggested that COVID duties can be treated as a part of the internship.
Bharati opposed this by stating that COVID duties do not cover all specialities and might lead to diluting the internship. To which, the senior advocate said that the government needs to show some generosity.
“When you require people for COVID requirements, you ask these doctors to go and join the COVID duties. Now one year has been wasted,” he said.
Initially, the deadline was May 31 which was extended to July 31 after the court directed the Centre to consider the representation.
The doctors were seeking direction to permit the candidates who fail to complete the internship by the given date but as per other criteria are eligible.
The plea mentions how the revised deadline of July 31, 2022 leaves behind many candidates, particularly from the state of Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Kerala (among other states) as ineligible to apply for NEET-PG as they won't be able to complete their internship within the given time.