Updated: October 7, 2021 10:39:27 am
The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the revised pattern for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Super Speciality medical courses (NEET-SS) will be implemented only from the next academic year.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told a a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud that the government, in deference to the court’s observations and in larger student interest, has decided that the revised NEET-SS exam will be held from 2022. This, she added, means that the exam for the current academic year will be held as per the old pattern.
The court was hearing a plea by some doctors who said they had been preparing for the exams and that the “last-minute changes” in the pattern put them at a disadvantage.
Hearing the plea on Tuesday, the court had questioned the “haste” to implement the changes this year itself and said that they could have been introduced from next year so that the candidates have enough time to prepare. “Heavens would not have fallen if you would’ve introduced the changes from next year,” Justice Chandrachud had said.
Government informs Supreme Court that the revised pattern for NEET-Super Speciality exams will not be implemented in the forthcoming exams and will be effected only in the next one, next year. @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) October 6, 2021
On Wednesday, ASG Bhati agreed that it “should have been done with adequate notice to the students”.
Accepting the government’s submission, the bench, also comprising Justices Vikram Natha and B V Nagarathna, disposed of the petition.
“Ms Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Union of India in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, states that having regard to the interest of the body of students…, a decision has been taken by the Union government in consultation with the National Medical Commission and the National Board of Examinations to the effect that the modified pattern shall be given effect to only from the academic year 2022-2023,” it said.
“Since the Union government and the expert bodies have taken a decision to hold the ensuing NEET-SS examinations for 2021-2022 on the basis of the pattern which held the field until academic year 2020-2021, it is not necessary for this court to adjudicate upon the validity of the modified pattern proposed for 2022-2023.”
The court, however, kept the question of validity of the modified pattern “open”.
The government had already proposed that the exams scheduled for November can be advanced to January 2022 so that the students get more time to prepare.
On Wednesday, the government stuck to the revised date, saying it will need two months to do the needful as thousands had registered and question papers already set as per the new pattern. “We will need two months as the whole process has to be changed,” said Bhati.
The court left it to the government to take a call on the dates.
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