The first-ever NEET exam, to be held on May 5 across the country, has been postponed in Karnataka in view of Assembly polls, raising fears that candidates in the neighbouring State may gain undue advantage

With the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Undergraduate (NEET-UG), for admission to medical and dental courses, being postponed in Karnataka in view of the Assembly elections, candidates here have raised fears that aspirants from the neighbouring State may gain undue advantage.

Scheduled to be held on May 5 across the country, the first-ever such exam, NEET has been postponed in Karnataka to May 18.

“The gap will give an unfair advantage to candidates from Karnataka as they will know the paper pattern and the quality of questions. It is all the more important because NEET is being held for the first time and its pattern is not yet known,” says U. Sampath Kumar, father of an aspirant. “This will lead to unequal competition.”

Aspirants claim the postponement is also illegal. They say as per the notification, the exam should be conducted on a single day, and if it needs to be postponed or advanced it should be done so across the country.

They say the CBSE has only been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the exam and wonder if the Medical Council of India (MCI) or the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have been taken into confidence before the decision on postponement was taken. The MCI has the power to cancel the exam if it feels the test was not giving equal advantage to all, aspirants claim. Parents also feel the admission process may get entangled in legal battles if someone approaches the court after the exam is conducted in two phases.

“Why should students suffer on this account? The government should reschedule NEET to ensure that it is conducted on the same day across the country,” Mr. Sampath Kumar argues.

Some teachers have already expressed their concerns to the Union Health Minister and the NEET Chairman on the matter.

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