The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain three fresh petitions which sought to postpone the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to undergraduate medical courses, scheduled to be held on coming Sunday, September 13.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah was considering three petitions -(Keshav Maheshwari & Others vs National Testing Agency & others, Arijit Sahu & Others vs National Testing Agency and others, Pragya Pranjal and others vs National Testing Agency and others).
The Petitioners had stressed that they did not seek cancellation of exam but a mere postponement.
On August 17, the Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had dismissed the pleas seeking the postponement of the NEET 2020 and JEE, holding that "career of the students cannot be put on peril for long".
A review petition against the said order, filed by 6 State Ministers was also dismissed on Sept 5.
Citing these orders, Justice Bhushan enquired about maintainability of these petitions.
"Everything is over now. Review has also been dismissed. JEE is also over. How can we consider the petition now?" he remarked.
To this Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, appearing for the Petitioners responded that they are only seeking postponement.
"16 lakhs students are writing the exam. This is the only medical exam. Take the case of Bihar. There are only two centres- Patna & Gaya. Trains are not running till 30th. We are only asking for 3 weeks postponement."
Senior Adv KTS Tulsi also supported the argument, stating that Students in containment zones cannot come out given the spike in COVID-19 cases.
He urged that the Bombay HC had also passed an order last week asking National Testing Agency to consider the cases of students who could not write JEE exams. He urged the Court that similar direction be passed in this matter.
Datar urged the Court to direct the NTA to give one more chance to students who may find it difficult to take NEET exam on account of pandemic restrictions.
Last week, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had dismissed the review petitions filed against the August 17 order that dismissed pleas to postpone JEE(Main) and NEET(UG) exams.
On August 17, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari had dismissed the writ petition "Sayantan Biswas & Ors. vs. National Testing Agency (NTA) & Ors" observing :
"We find that there is absolutely no justification in the prayer made for postponement of the examination in question relating to NEET UG-2020 as well as JEE (Main) April, 2020. In our opinion, though there is pandemic situation, but ultimately life has to go and the career of the students cannot be put on peril for long and full academic year cannot be wasted".
The JEE Main exam was conducted from September 2-6 online at centres across India.