Six Opposition-ruled States move Supreme Court on NEET, JEE

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Ministers of six non-BJP States on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the conduct of the JEE Mains and the NEET-UG amid the pandemic, saying lakhs of young students should not fall prey to the Centre's “knee-jerk” and “haphazard” plans, which will prove “worse than the disease itself”.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) had notified the JEE between September 1 to 9. The NEET is scheduled for September 13.

Also read: Students want NEET, JEE; most have downloaded admit cards, says Education Minister

The JEE is slated to be conducted over 660 exam centres with 9.53 lakh students taking it. This would be roughly 1,443 students in every centre. Similarly, the NEET will see 15.97 lakh students in 3,843 centres across the country. Approximately 415 students to an exam centre.

Ministers Moloy Ghatak of West Bengal, Rameshwar Oraon from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh’s Amarjeet Bhagat, Maharashtra’s Uday Ravindra Samant and Raghu Sharma and Balbir Singh Sidhu from Rajasthan and Punjab respectively, moved the court through lawyer Sunil Fernandes. The petition comes shortly after a meeting among Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and six Chief Ministers of non-BJP States.

“The Union Government had adequate time to make comprehensive preparations for the safe and successful conduct of the examinations. However, the intervening months from April to September were characterised by inaction, confusion, lethargy and inertia”, they submitted.

Editorial: A no-win situation

They said the Centre had suddenly woken up to hurriedly fix the exam dates, realising that its inertia would cost lakhs of students their career. “The remedy will prove to be worse than the disease itself”, the petition said.

‘Situation is grave’

The Ministers said they do not want to launch a “political criticism” or make any “value judgments” of the Central government. All they wanted to do was impress on the court the fact that the rise in COVID-19 cases continued to be exponential since April. The situation was grave enough to recall or postpone the exams.

The petition has been filed seeking a review of the apex court’s order on August 17 refusing to entertain a petition by students to postpone the NEET and the JEE.

On August 17, a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra orally said “education should be opened up. COVID may continue for a year more... Are you going to wait for another year. Do you know what is the loss to the country and the career peril to the students?"

Also read: At Opposition meeting, CMs plan to move Supreme Court on JEE, NEET

Justice B.R. Gavai, also on the Bench, intervened to point out that the question of when a vaccine would come is left to experts and the court has no intention to get into that domain.

Justice Mishra said, “Are you not demanding that the court should be opened up amid COVID? DO you see this glass partition fixed here [the judges have been separated in the courtroom with a glass partition]... When we are getting ready to open up, you say exams should not be held?”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the NTA, had assured that it wanted the exam to go on.

The petition was filed by 11 students, led by Sayantan Biswas, from 11 States seeking the postponement of thr NEET and the JEE.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 2:32:53 PM |

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