JEE Main PIL timeline: Long roadmap of petitions, postponements and pending hearings 

The JEE case has been pending in the Bombay High Court for nearly two months now and the anxiety among the aspirants is palpable, as they continue to await a resolution 
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

In recent years, there has been a growing chorus of students demanding the postponement of exams in light of the efforts by the National Testing Agency (NTA) to restore the post-pandemic academic calendar to normalcy. Notably, the criteria of 75% marks in the Class XII Board exam, which was relaxed last year due to the pandemic, has been implemented again this year by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, conducting JEE Mains 2023. This change has left many students who were previously eligible for NITs, IITs, and IIITs, ineligible this year.

Compounding the issue, the dates for JEE Main 2023 Session I were announced on December 15, leaving candidates with only 40 days' notice before the exam date. This caused an uproar among students, as the counselling for 2022 had concluded just in November. In support of the students' plight, Advocate-activist Anubha Shrivastava Sahai filed a petition to the Bombay High Court (HC) on December 26, urging for a relaxation of the 75% qualifying requirement and a postponement of the JEE Main 2023 Session I exam date to April.

Let's delve into the timeline of events since then, to understand how the situation has unfolded.

December 26, 2022: Advocate Anubha Srivastava filed a petition in the Bombay HC, seeking the rescheduling of JEE Main 2023 and the relaxation of the 75% eligibility criterion for the exam.

January 9, 2023: Hashtags like #JEEMains2023, #PostponeJEE2023, and others started trending on Twitter as students awaited the hearing of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay HC on January 10.

January 10, 2023: The Bombay HC refused to allow the postponement of JEE Main Session I, citing the potential "cascading effect" of postponing a national-level exam. However, the court did order the relaxation of the 75% eligibility criterion for admission to IITs, NITs, and other institutes. Students would now have the option to either be in the top 20 percentile or achieve an aggregate score above 75% to qualify for these institutes. 

January 11, 2023: Anubha Srivastava hinted at the possibility of filing an Intervention Application for interim relief, seeking an extra attempt in May for the aspirants.

January 16, 2023: Taking to Twitter, advocate Srivastava stated, "Issue of 75% criteria, one more attempt for 2021 aspirants will be taken up. Jan attempt will not be rescheduled as the court refused to intervene. For one more attempt they will hear and decide." (sic)

February 21, 2023: The hearing date was postponed to April 6, 2023, as the Hon'ble Chief Justice of the Mumbai HC was unavailable for two days. Advocate-activist Anubha Shrivastava, who filed the plea on December 26, tweeted, "Will update the next date once we get. #JEEMains."

April 6, 2023: The Bombay HC placed the case on hold and called on the Ministry of Education and NTA to explain the JEE Main 75% eligibility criterion. The judge questioned how the 20-percentile criterion would be implemented and if the data would be released by the boards.

April 12, 2023: Anubha Shrivastava informed via a Twitter post that the matter has been listed as "item no 38 before the Bench of Hon'ble Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court" for a hearing on April 13, 2023.

April 13, 2023: The hearing was adjourned after the NTA sought more time to file a reply, leaving aspirants anxious due to multiple postponements. "The aspirants are getting increasingly anxious as the hearing has been delayed several times already," said Srivastava.

April 24, 2023:  NTA submitted that they are still collecting data from various boards regarding the top 20 percentile, requesting additional time. The Bombay HC postponed the hearing to May 2, but the bench emphasised that they cannot continue postponing the matter indefinitely when Advocate Rui Rodriguez, counsel for the NTA, sought the postponement.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for May 2, 2023, and the case has been pending in the Bombay High Court for nearly two months now. The anticipation and anxiety among the aspirants are palpable, as the aspirants continue to await a resolution on the extra attempt and the relaxation of the 75% eligibility criterion. 

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