NEET 2020: Supreme Court seeks response of Centre, MCI on plea by parents of Middle East students

Petitioners want direction to either allocate exam centres in region or postpone the exams

July 29, 2020 04:30 pm | Updated 05:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A file photograph of students studying, just before going into an examination centre for NEET. Photograph used for representational purposes only

A file photograph of students studying, just before going into an examination centre for NEET. Photograph used for representational purposes only

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the government and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to respond to a petition filed by the parents of over 4,000 National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) candidates in the Middle East for a direction to either allocate exam centres in these countries or postpone the exams.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao asked the MCI to explain whether any steps had been taken to conduct the exams online. The Bench said judicial intervention in cases concerning academic issues was limited. However, the court sought response in two weeks and posted the case for hearing in the second week of August.

The parents, represented by advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap, had asked the court to step in and spare their children from being forced to travel to India to take their exams amid a raging pandemic.

The petition said the 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, authorities should wait till COVID-19 blows over.

“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 parents said.

They had approached the top court after the Kerala High Court declined them relief on June 30, saying a court could not dictate terms to expert bodies like the MCI and NTA over conduct of exams.

The exams were originally scheduled for May 3.

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

The parents said the world was going through exceptional circumstances. Both the MCI and the government needed to 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. NTA has got expertise in conducting the entrance examinations abroad,” the petition said.

“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.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.