JEE, NEET: Mamata Says Let’s Go to Court, Opposition CMs Agree

The meeting comes after several chief ministers wrote to the Centre, asking it to postpone JEE & NEET.

3 min read
The meeting comes after several chief ministers wrote to the Centre, asking it to postpone JEE & NEET.

After being prodded by Mamata Banerjee, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday, 26 August, asked the state’s Advocate General to coordinate with states ruled by Opposition parties and file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a review of its earlier judgment permitting conduct of JEE Main and NEET UG in September.

At a meeting of Opposition chief ministers hosted by interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had suggested that the states should challenge the Centre’s decision to conduct exams and file a review petition in the Supreme Court.

The meeting was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Pudduchery CM V Narayanaswamy.

Mamata said that students are in mental agony and that the students are in a serious situation.

“Students are in mental agony...let us do it together and let us go to SC and ask them to postpone until the situation allows students to sit for exams.”
Mamata Banerjee

When Jharkhand CM Soren suggested that a delegation should meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appeal him to postpone exams, Chief Minister Banerjee said that she had “already written two letters to the prime minister, none of which were heeded to.”

Backing Mamata, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that since JEE Main begins from 1 September, there’s not much time left. “Let us go to the court,” Singh said.

What did the other chief ministers say?

Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister - Thackeray asked if exams couldn’t be conducted in June and July, how can they be conducted in September when the number of cases are still on the rise. He said that the state’s Cabinet minister - also his son - Aditya Thackeray had written to PM Modi urging him to count the academic year from January 2021, instead of June or July 2020.

Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Chief Minister - Soren said that although he is in favor of conducting exams in general, conducting it now would further worsen the pandemic in his state as students and their parents from other states would arrive at JEE, NEET exam centres in Jharkhand. The state would have to make transport engagements and open hotels for this activity, he said.

CM V Narayanaswamy, Puducherry Chief Minister - Narayanaswamy said that he support’s Mamata’s call to postpone JEE and NEET and would be a part of the review petition.

NEET, JEE Aspirants Worried, Says Rahul

While Sonia Gandhi only mentioned that the issue of exams being unfair briefly, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said that students are worried about their health and future and that the Centre must come up with an acceptable solution.

Centre Refuses to Budge

The meeting comes after several states, including West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi and Odisha wrote to the Centre, asking it to postpone these two entrance examinations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The pushback from states notwithstanding, Union Minister for Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal on Tuesday, 25 August, said that the verdict of the Supreme Court, which had dismissed a petition seeking postponement of JEE Main & NEET, should be respected by all.

He also said that it was the wish of students and parents that these exams be conducted.

‘Highly Perilous’

While JEE Main is scheduled from 1-6 September, NEET UG will be conducted on 13 September.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Banerjee had requested the Centre to assess the situation and conduct JEE & NEET only when the situation is conducive.

“The central government must not take a decision for which the students feel upset and also to ensure that students are not deprived of the opportunity to take examination. I am sure that you will appreciate the point and postpone these examinations until the situation is conducive again,” she wrote.

Following Banerjee’s letter, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Union Minister for Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, urging him to postpone JEE Main and NEET UG to a later date as it would be ‘highly perilous’ to visit test centres physically amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is requested that the ensuing JEE Main & NEET examination scheduled to be held in the 1st fortnight of September 2020 may be postponed to a later date to ensure the safety and security of the students.”
Naveen Patnaik, CM Odisha

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