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SC rejects review petition by six Opposition-ruled states seeking postponement of exams of NEET, JEE

Author: Simran Chauhan

Designation: Trainee CS Department (Gail Gas Limited)

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The article deals with the judgement delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in review petition filed by Ministers of 6 opposition ruled states for further postponement of NEET, JEE Examinations. The author has critically examined the observation of Supreme Court in this case as well as in the earlier judgments on the same aspect.

The Supreme Court on September 4, 2020 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.

Earlier on August 17, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had dismissed the writ petitions. As Justice Arun Mishra retired on September 2, 2020, the matter will be heard by a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan.

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-19 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.

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”.

Pursuant to the August 17 order of the Apex Court, the National Testing Agency (NTA) earlier this week- notified that the said entrance examination would be conducted as per the revised schedule with the NEET on September 13 and the JEE on September 16.

The review petition was filed by West Bengal minister Moloy Ghatak, Jharkhand minister Rameshwar Oraon, Rajasthan minister Raghu Sharma, Chhattisgarh minister Amarjeet Bhagat, Punjab minister BS Sidhu and Maharashtra minister Uday Ravindra Sawant.

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…”

The review petitions further said that the NTA had ignored the logistical difficulties in carrying out the examinations on the proposed dates and had also failed to balance the competing, but equally crucial aspect of conducting the examination and safety of the students.

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.

The bench said in its order: “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,”

Earlier the Apex Court had said in the August 17 order, “Life has to go on” despite the outbreak of the viral disease and we cannot put the career of students in jeopardy by interfering with the decision of the NTA to hold the examinations in September.





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