JEE, NEET: Supreme Court Dismisses Plea for Postponement of Exams

A further delay in exams will put the ‘career of students in peril,’ the apex court said.

2 min read
A further delay in exams will put the ‘career of students in peril,’ the apex court said.

Maintaining that a further delay in exams will put the 'career of students in peril', the Supreme Court on Monday, 17 August, dismissed a petition asking for the postponement of JEE Main and NEET UG exams, which are scheduled to take place in September 2020.

Dismissing the petition, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that there was “no ground to interfere with policy decision” while adding that it had taken the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on record, who said that exams will be held with ‘adequate precautions.’

As scheduled, JEE Main examination will be held between 1 and 6 September, JEE advanced on 27 September and NEET (UG) 2020 on 13 September.

What did the petitioners argue?

The petitioners opposing the conduct of exams in September had urged the apex court to give directions to the Centre to conduct JEE and NEET exams only after normalcy is restored in the country, post the COVID-19 crisis.

Their counsel Alakh Alok Srivastava, had told the bench that he was not seeking an indefinite postponement of exams, but only a temporary one as there were chances of a vaccine soon.

“There is a chance of vaccine coming soon for COVID-19. Even the prime minister spoke about it in his 15 August speech.”
Alakh Alok Srivastava, Counsel for petitioners seeking postponement

What did the court say?

While hearing the petition, Justice Mishra had remarked that life should move ahead in these COVID-19 times, while casting doubts over the idea of postponing exams.

The bench then said that students would lose an entire academic year if exams were not held in time.

“If exams are not held, won’t it be a loss to the country? Students will lose the academic year.”
Justice Arun Mishra

What does the petition in support of exams say?

The three other petitions filed in support of exams in September had been filed by parents in the Supreme Court, who argued that postponing of JEE Main and NEET further would have an adverse impact on the academic year of students.

On what grounds did petitioners oppose exams in September?

The plea challenging the conduct of exams had been filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, on behalf of 11 students from 11 states. It contended that lakhs of young students are likely to appear in the JEE (Main) April-2020 and NEET UG-2020 exam in the month of September.

“The deadly COVID-19 pandemic has already affected about 20 lakh people in India and the situation is worsening with every passing day. Conducting the examination across India at such a perilous time is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students at utmost risk and danger of disease and death.”
Plea Challenging  JEE Main, NEET

The plea contended that instead of postponing the exams, the NTA has decided to conduct the JEE (Main) April-2020 exam from 1-6 September 2020 through online mode, and NEET UG-2020 on 13 September through offline mode at 161 centres across India.

This violates the fundamental right to the lives of lakhs of the affected students (including the petitioners), as enshrined within Article 21 of the Constitution and thus, the exam schedule is liable to be quashed and set aside on this ground alone, argued the plea.

(With inputs from IANS)

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