NRI candidates seek NEET postponement

Parents of 4,000 students file plea in Supreme Court.

July 01, 2020 07:10 pm | Updated 10:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI

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Parents of over 4,000 students based in Middle East who are scheduled to appear for NEET-UG 2020 exams in July moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday for a direction to either allocate exam centres in these countries or postpone the exams.

They said the court should step in to save their children from being forced to travel to India to take their exams amid a raging pandemic.

The petition said the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the National Testing Agency (NTA) should, in the alternative, not conduct the exams on July 26 in the shadow of the pandemic. In that case, the authorities should wait till COVID-19 crisis blows over.

Ban on travel

“Students are helpless to write the examination as international travel is banned to and from India. Assuming that they have seats in Vande Bharat Mission flights, the students will be exposed to COVID-19 risks as also they would have to undergo quarantine on their arrival in India. The duration in quarantine will go up to 21 days depending upon their destination of arrival. The above factors will add to the mental stress of the students, who, if no other alternative is available will be forced to travel and take the exam,” the parents, represented by advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap, said.

HC declines relief

They approached the apex court after the Kerala High Court declined them relief on June 30 , saying a court cannot dictate terms for conduct of exams to expert bodies like the MCI and the NTA.

The exams were originally scheduled on May 3.

The petition said the NTA had stated in the High Court that it was ready to conduct the test online if the MCI approves. The latter, however, rejected the suggestion in a communication on May 21.

Also read: No NEET centres abroad, Kerala HC told

The parents said the world was going through exceptional circumstances. Both the MCI and the government should be flexible and pro-student in their approach.

“The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for engineering courses in NITs and IITs is conducted by the NTA. These exams have got centres in foreign countries as well. The JEE is both an online and offline mode examination. The NTA has got expertise in conducting the entrance examinations abroad,” the petition said.

Parents have also approached the Indian embassy in Qatar with their request for facilities for the conduct of the exam.

“Students have put in hard work for two years. They will undergo severe mental trauma if they are unable to take the exams,” the parents said.

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