The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main and National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET). The petition was filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava on behalf of 11 students from 11 states across the country who had moved the top court seeking relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The engineering entrance is scheduled to take place from September 1 to September 6 while the medical entrance is slated for September 13.
The plea was in favor of conducting key entrance examinations only after normalcy is restored post-COVID-19 crisis. Ahead of the hearing, advocate Srivastava exuded confidence in getting justice for young JEE and NEET aspirants. India Wide Parents' Association chief Anubha Shrivastava Sahai too appeared optimistic ahead of the crucial hearing. "We are quite confident that the honorable Supreme Court will give justice to lakhs of students and government will support them."
12:30 PM: "Supreme Court asked the government and they said they want to conduct exams by following all safety guidelines. The government must take a call now. Will follow up with President and PMO," Anubha Shrivastava Sahai, President of the India Wide Parents' Association, told India TV Digital.
12:08 PM: The bench says that it has taken into record the submission of Solicitor General that exams will be held with adequate precautions.
Says, there is no ground to interfere with policy decision. Dismisses the plea.
12:07 PM: SC dismisses the petition. Says the postponement of the NEET/JEE will put the 'career of students in peril'.
12:06 PM: Advocate Alakh says that there is a chance of vaccine coming soon for COVID-19. Even the Prime Minister said about it in his August 15 speech. Not seeking an indefinite postponement of the exam, but a postponement for some time, he submits.
12:05 PM: How can you assume that the authorities are not aware of the situation?', Justice Arun Mishra ask advocate Alakh
12:04 PM: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for NTA, says that exams should be conducted, and adequate precautions will be taken.
12:03 PM: 'Are you not demanding that Courts should re-open? Why can't exams be held with precautions?", Justice Arun Mishra asks
12:02 PM: 'If exams are not held, won't it be a loss to the country? Students will lose the academic year', Justice Arun Mishra says.
12:01 PM: 'Life should move on even in COVID-19 times. Can we just stop exams? We should move on': Justice Arun Misra on a plea seeking postponement of JEE/NEET
12:00 PM: Justice Arun Mishra says there are two petitions. One seeking conduct of the exams and another seeking postponement.
11:57 AM: Hearing begins in SC
11:40 AM: Hearing on plea seeking postponement of JEE, NEET exams to begin in Supreme Court shortly.
The petition seeking postponement
- Hold JEE Main and NEET exams "only after normalcy is restored in the country post-COVID crisis, the petition states.
- The petition also seeks an increase in the examination centers so as to provide one exam center in every district of India.
- It seeks fresh opportunities to JEE and NEET aspirants to submit their application forms and choose exam centers afresh.
- The petition mentions that the NTA decided to conduct JEE through online mode and NEET offline at 161 centres across India, which are "utterly arbitrary, whimsical and violative of fundamental rights to life of lakhs of the affected students."
- If further says: NTA has indefinitely postponed the National Council of Hotel Management Joint Entrance Examination (NCHM-JEE) 2020, scheduled to be conducted on 22.06.2020 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, now when the COVID-19 crisis has much more worsened, the NTA is still conducting JEE Main and NEET exams.
The petition against postponement
- Meanwhile, parents of four students also moved the Supreme Court urging it to direct that JEE and NEET entrance exams be conducted in September as per revised schedule released by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on July 3.
- Petitions say there is an "imminent need" to stick to the second revised schedule by the NTA.
- The petition says that the admission process is time-bound and the entire admission schedule in a time regulated process. For medical admissions, there is a unique three-tier process involved which must be done in a statutorily regulated time frame.
- For JEE exams, petitioners argue that every delay at any stage of the admission process will have a direct and adverse impact upon the academic year of the students. It said such a delay would impact the Post Graduate studies and career opportunities of the students.
- The petitioners say that the students have been rigorously preparing for JEE, NEET exams for the last 3 years, since Class 10. Any further deferment will add to the stress levels of the students, resulting in further traumatising the students over the uncertainty of their future. This would severely impact their academic performance in the exams conducted ultimately, the petitioners say.