14 July 2022 10:00 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition filed by 15 students seeking to postpone the NEET-UG 2022 exam to be held on July 17."This is totally a misconceived petition. It's just because these are students, the court will not be harsh. Had it been anyone else, this would have been dismissed with costs", a single bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula orally said while concluding...
The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition filed by 15 students seeking to postpone the NEET-UG 2022 exam to be held on July 17.
"This is totally a misconceived petition. It's just because these are students, the court will not be harsh. Had it been anyone else, this would have been dismissed with costs", a single bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula orally said while concluding the hearing.
"The pressure can only be eased by self study, not by the manner you are doing this. I wish the students all the best", Justice Narula said.
At the outset, the bench asked the petitioners why they are approaching the Court now, when the schedule of the exam was known in April 2022.
The petitioners' counsel submitted that the admit cards were only issued recently and that the petitioners had been pursuing representations before various authorities.
"How can 15 students ask for rescheduling of the exam? Such petitions should be discouraged", Justice Narula said.
When the counsel submitted that 218 people died in floods across the country, the bench said that being the Monsoon season, such things happen, and that cannot be the basis for relief.
The counsel then submitted that there was only a short gap between major exams like CUET, JEET and NEET and this was putting the students under immense pressure.
The bench asked if there are common subjects in these exams. When the counsel replied in the affirmative, the bench said "then that is good for you- having common subjects will be good for preparation, everything will be fresh in your mind".
The counsel also submitted that 17 students have committed suicide due to exam pressure. "These are vague statements. How can you say that the students have committed suicide because of the exam? I will not go by newspaper reports", Justice Narula replied.
As regards the counsel's submission regarding travel difficulties of the students, the bench said that vague statements were made.
"You have to make out which petitioner is giving what exam and from where he has to travel", the bench said.
"I'm sorry, petitioners didn't give details because they were scared that authorities will take adverse action", the counsel replied.
"No students should be scared. This court is here to help them. But you have to be specific. They're approaching the court through a counsel", the Court said.
The counsel for the National Testing Agency told the bench that more than 90% students have downloaded the admit cards. Delay in holding the exam will have a spill over effect on future academic sessions, the NTA counsel said. The counsel added that in 2020 and 2021 also similar demands were raised, which the Courts refused to entertain.
"I don't want to give any anxiety to other students so I will just give the operative portion of the order.These are students so I am not being harsh but in other matters of this nature, I would not shy from imposing costs. Dismissed", Justice Narula said as the hearing concluded.
About the petition
The petition was filed by NEET-UG 2022 aspirants seeking directions against the National Testing Agency for setting aside the examination schedule of NEET UG 2022 and rescheduling it after 4-6 weeks. The petitioners are 15 students from different parts of the country- UP, Kerala, Assam, Jharkhand, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra. The petitioners have argued that the unorganized schedule of National Level examinations i.e. NEET UG 2022, JEE 2022 and CUET 2022 has caused immense mental trauma to students resulting in 16 reported suicides of young students.
The counsel for petitioners submitted that the National Testing Agency had scheduled three National Level examinations – CUET (debut exam for admission to Central Universities in UG Courses), NEET- UG and JEE in the month of July 2022 with a time gap of merely 1 or 2 days despite the syllabus of all three examinations being completely different.
While highlighting the plea of the students, petitioners stated that the NEET- UG is considered one of India's most challenging and competitive exams wherein due to a limited number of seats, tough competition, reservation and exorbitant fee in Private medical colleges, more than 50% candidates appearing for NEET are repeaters and remaining are fresh candidates, having been forced to prepare for three National Level Examinations without getting sufficient time to prepare for the same.
The petitioners also bought to the notice of the court that NEET- UG aspirants had approached this Court in 2021, in the case of Mohd. Anas & Ors. v. National Testing Agency & Ors. seeking direction upon the respondents to conduct NEET-UG in Second phase as well (just like JEE entrance exam which is held twice a year). In that case, the court had directed the respondents to treat the writ petition as a representation and make arrangements of multiple sittings of NEET-UG examination in subsequent years. Despite the same, respondents did not pass any order accepting or rejecting the request of NEET-UG aspirants for conducting the exam twice a year. The petitioners stated that this evidenced the lack of care respondents had in the legitimate interests of the students.
The petitioners also stated that considering the current torrential flood situation across nation affecting major states in the country, wherein many authorities have already postponed their examinations, respondents can also be directed to reschedule the NEET-UG 2022 examination.
Title: Vishwanath Kumar & Ors. v. National Testing Agency & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 652