A 17-year old JEE aspirant has submitted a letter to the Chief Justice of India, urging him to postpone upcoming NEET/ JEE examinations in view of the COVID 19 pandemic and other natural disasters in the country.
The letter highlights that the country is not only battling against the deadly virus but hundreds of districts are affected by incessant rains, floods and landslides, making it highly infeasible for the students to appear in the upcoming entrance examinations.
"Conducting aforesaid exams at such perilous time is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students and their family members at the utmost risk of disease and death, which is patently violative of their "Right to Health" which is included within "Right to Life" under Article 21 of Constitution of India.
The biggest sufferers are the students belonging to the flood affected areas and those belonging to middle class and/or underprivileged class, who are deprived of safe transportation, accommodation, study materials etc.
The other sufferers are specially abled (Divyang) aspirants, including visually impaired aspirants, who rely upon physical touch even for walking or for their other day to day activities," he wrote.
JEE (Main) examination is scheduled to be held between 1st to 6th September, 2020 whereas the NEET UG exam is on 13th September, 2020.
The letter states that many states are still imposing lockdown and movement is highly restricted in various containment zones and thus conducting the examination on the aforesaid dates shall cause widespread "harassment".
"The most significant change in circumstance is that many State Governments have come forward and have clearly stated that they would not be able to implement the SOPs or ensure health and safety of so many aspirants if the said Exams are conducted on the given dates."
It is further pointed out that the National Testing Agency recently conducted the NCHM-JEE Exam for Hotel Management and virtually there were no SOPs followed, no social distancing maintained. Thus, students fear that may get infected and even transmit the virus to their families, thereby causing stress and anxiety.
Moreover, it is submitted that students would be required to wear face masks for more than 5-6 hours on the date of examinations and thus would be forced to reduced oxygen level, resulting into slowed down brain function and thus it is even in the interest of their health to postpone these Exams in the interest of health of the students.
He has stressed that he his only seeking 'postponement' of the examination, and it is submitted that once the difficulties as aforementioned subside, the examination may be conducted with proper implementation of Covid 19 SoPs.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking the postponement of NEET and JEE, stating that postponement of the exams will put the 'career of the students in peril'.
The verdict has invited widespread opposition with over 4,000 students resorting to one day hunger strike, filing of review petitions by Ministers from six states, and demands to cancel the exam altogether.