Updated: September 4, 2020 10:17:27 pm
NEET, JEE 2020 exams: The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a review petition by six opposition-ruled states against its August 17 order allowing the conduct of NEET (UG) and JEE (Mains) entrance examinations amidst Covid-19 pandemic.
A 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.
Six ministers from Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh had moved the apex court saying that if the order was not reviewed, “grave and irreparable harm and injury would befall on the student community”.
On August 17, the apex court had rejected a plea for further postponement of exams, observing that “life cannot be stopped” and the “career of students cannot be put in jeopardy”. Read the story in Malayalam
The JEE (Main) was initially supposed to be held on April 7-11. It was then first postponed to July 18-23, and later rescheduled for September 1-6 in view of the Covid pandemic. The JEE (Advanced) is to be held on September 27. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), for admission to undergraduate medical programmes, was to be held on May 3. It was first postponed to July 26, and then to September 13.
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). The petitioners had, 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…”
While there are 660 examination centres for JEE — roughly 1,443 students per centre — there are 3,843 centres for NEET, or approximately 415 students per centre, the petitioners had pointed out. “Such large movement of people will ipso facto prove to be a serious health hazard and will totally defeat the twin present-day solutions we have of combating the Covid-19 – i.e. social distancing and avoidance of large public gatherings,” they had said while urging the court to postpone the entrance examinations.
In a situation, the review plea had said, “where there is absolutely no classroom teaching, the decision of the Union Government to conduct examinations on such a massive scale reveals non-application of mind and is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious exercise of power.”
The six ministers had stated that the Centre had “adequate time to make comprehensive preparations” for safe and successful conduct of the examinations. “However,” they had argued, “the intervening months from April to September were characterised by inaction, confusion, lethargy and inertia…now the Union Government has suddenly woken up to realise that their inertia is going to cost lakhs of students their academic year and therefore as a knee-jerk reaction…has haphazardly and hurriedly fixed the dates of the examinations”.
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