The Kerala High Court is set to consider on Tuesday a PIL seeking a direction to the UOI to sanction examination centres in Qatar as well as in other Gulf Countries for the students appearing for National Eligibility Entrance test (NEET) (UG-2020).
The petitioner, a social worker and General Secretary of Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, Qatar (KMCC), has further further prayed for a writ to defer the NEET examination till normalcy is restored or a decision is taken on the request of the Students to allot centres outside India for participating in the NEET exam.
The High Court had on Friday directed the impleadment of MCI to the matter.
The plea has canvassed the grievances of those expatriate NEET aspirants who want to get admissions in Medical Colleges and had applied for attending the NEET examinations for the year 2020- "This is the sole test through which students can get admissions to MBBS/BDS COURSES and other undergraduate Medical Courses in approved/organised Medical/Dental & Other College or Institutes In India".
It is averred that the NEET exam (UG-2020) is conducted by the 2nd respondent, the National Testing Agency. The agency is established under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. The exam which was originally scheduled to be conducted on May 3 was postponed and now the 2nd respondent has declared conduct of NEET examinations on July 27.
"The protocol of the Ministry of Home Affairs for evacuation of stranded Indian nationals abroad, the priority was as follows: 'Priority will be given to compelling cases in Distress, including workers/laborers who have been laid off, short term visa holders, faced with expiry of visas, persons with medical emergency/pregnant women/ elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member and students'", it is stated.
It is urged that, as of now the numbers of expatriates returned from abroad especially from the gulf countries, particularly those from the student community are still very few in number. In the midst of this chaos, the agency had declared the announcement of conduct of NEET exams. The number of students appearing in the NEET examination from Qatar alone is around 300 and there has been appeal from Indians in Qatar to allow examination centers in Qatar.
"The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala, The Hon'ble Higher Education Minister of Kerala and the Hon'ble Member of Parliament, Mr Shashi Tharoor have all requested to consider the grievances of the expatriate students and their parents. But no declaration or announcement has come yet. The
Parents have submitted representations to Ambassador of India, Qatar as also to the Ministry of External Affairs but no declaration has come yet", it is advanced.
1. NEET is the sole All India Entrance Test for admission to medicine programmes in India. Expatriate students will lose their chance to write NEET if they cannot reach India. Travelling at the time of Pandemic is highly risky and will affect the performance and participation of students. The parents or any of their guardians will also have to travel down with students. Travelling in groups increases the chance of getting infection and again affecting the students' possibility to write exams.
2. The Agency has granted examination centres outside India for students attending JEE EXAMS.
3. Most of these students have been undertaking special coaching for these examinations for about two years and it is one of the toughest examinations to qualify, if the student fails to take the examination this year they will have to wait for another year for the next examination.
4. The Central Government decision to conduct NEET examination in midst of these chaos itself is a risky decision. The opportunity of students stranded abroad to attend the only entrance exam for medical admissions will be lost by this decision. The students and parents are
mentally stressed as it will be highly difficult for them to come to India now. The lesser number of flights and the risk in conducting air travel is a major concern for them. Even if they reach, the students will have to undergo 7 days institutional quarantine and another 7 days Home quarantine. The students have been preparing for the exam for past several years paying exorbitant fees to coaching institutions or centres. One academic year will be lost to these students which will affect their seniority in practice in later years. When similarly placed students are getting an opportunity to attend exams here , it is discriminatory that the students abroad are not getting the chance to
attend the same. Even Joint entrance Examination conducted for select students to topmost engineering colleges in India is held abroad with centres in main gulf regions. "This declaration and announcement of respondents is arbitrary, discriminatory and had to
be looked upon by this Hon'ble Court as it infringes Article 14, Article 21 and Article 21 A of the Constitution of India", the plea submits.
Since the date of exam is nearing and the panic and stress of these students is increasing, the petitioner has, through advocates Haris Beeran and Nuriya O.A, approached the Court to mitigate their grievance and to enforce the fundamental rights of these students under Article 14, 21 and 21A of the constitution of India.