Supreme Court refuses to postpone NEET-PG 2022 exam
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to postpone the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Postgraduate (NEET-PG) 2022 scheduled to be held on May 21. The petitioners sought the deferment of the examination as it was clashing with the ongoing counseling process of NEET-PG 2021. The SC bench said "any further extension will have a cascading effect on the admission schedule" fixed in 2016.
- While the aspirants wanted the deferment of the NEET-PG 2022 due to a lack of preparation time, the Centre said that a delay would impact patient care and treatment.
- The Centre also argued that it will impact the careers of 2.06 lakh doctors who have registered this year.
- Notably, only seven states were on board with the idea of postponing the exam.
The matter was heard by a two-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant. "As the country gets back on the rails following [the] pandemic, the time schedule laid down by the court must be adhered to," it said. Postponing the examination would create "chaos and uncertainty and would affect a large section of students who have registered for the examination," it added.
The petitioners, who are junior doctors, sought direction to either quash the February 4 notification issued by the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences to conduct the NEET-PG 2022 examination on May 21 or postpone it. They said that the counseling process will end by May 9 and the exam will begin on May 21 leaving little time for preparation.
NEET-PG 2021, which was scheduled for September 2021, was held five months later. The counseling scheduled to begin in October 2021 was initiated in January 2022. The delayed counseling schedule led to NEET-PG 2022 being deferred from April 2022 to May 2022. However, candidates with lower ranks would get to know about admissions at the last minute and would lose the chance to reapply.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday, in its letter to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandiviya, also requested the postponement of the exam. Mentioning the delay in All India Quota counseling, the IMA said, "The difference between the NEET-PG 2022 exam date and the completion of 2021 counseling is too short for an aspirant to prepare and appear for such an extremely difficult exam."
The IMA letter also mentioned thousands of interns who served as COVID-19 warriors "are ineligible to appear for NEET-PG due to delay in completion of their final examination and consequently their internship beyond eligibility criteria set for the examination." The IMA stressed the need to defer NEET-PG 2022 examinations as it "concerns career paths of lakhs of medical graduates."
Candidates have also been requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the postponement of NEET-PG 2022 with several doctors taking to Twitter with hashtags such as #PostponeNEETPG_Modiji. They had also written to the Ministry of Health and launched a week-long online protest. Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urged Mandaviya to relieve the aspirants of mental stress by postponing the exam.