NEET, JEE row: SC to hear review plea tomorrow
The Supreme Court will on Friday hear the review petition of its order to hold JEE Main 2020 and NEET 2020 in September. The petition was filed by the ministers of six Opposition-ruled states. The petition seeks the review of an earlier SC order, dated August 17, which rejected petitions from 11 students to defer the exams. Here are more details.
The review petition was filed by ministers Moloy Ghatak (West Bengal), Rameshwar Oraon (Jharkhand), Raghu Sharma (Rajasthan), Amarjeet Bhagat (Chhattisgarh), BS Sidhu (Punjab), and Uday Ravindra Sawant (Maharashtra). The JEE exams are being held from September 1-6 while the NEET will be held on September 13. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari will hear the review plea.
The ministers had argued that the top court failed to secure students' "right to life" when it refused to defer the exams amid the coronavirus pandemic. They argued that the court had ignored "teething logistical difficulties" in conducting the exams during the pandemic.
On August 17, the SC had dismissed a plea seeking directions to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to postpone the examinations. The plea was filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava on behalf of 11 students, from 11 different states. It sought to postpone the crucial examinations till "normalcy" returns since conducting them in September would put the candidates at risk.
The review plea, filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, argued the SC fails to satisfy the safety of aspiring candidates. The plea said the two reasons cited by the court—life must go on and students should not lose an academic year—do not constitute an authoritative and comprehensive judicial scrutiny. It argued that students' registration for the exam does not indicate willingness to attend physical exams.
The petition, citing the NTA, stated that approximately 9.53 lakh and 15.97 lakh students have registered for JEE (Main) and NEET (UG) respectively. The JEE will be conducted at over 660 exam centers with roughly 1,443 students per center, the petition noted. The NEET will be conducted across 3,843 centers, with nearly 415 students per center, it added.