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[NEET 2020]"Vande Bharat Flights Are Being Made Available": SC On Plea Seeking Examination Centres In Gulf Countries

Sanya Talwar
15 Aug 2020 5:57 AM GMT
[NEET 2020]Vande Bharat Flights Are Being Made Available: SC On Plea Seeking Examination Centres In Gulf Countries
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The Supreme Court on Thursday told petitioner(s) seeking allocation of Test Centres for NEET Examination in foreign countries that Vande Bharat flights for return to India are being made available amid pandemic.

A bench of Justices Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat quoted the National Testing Agency's (NTA) counter affidavit before the Supreme Court, intimating that it is not possible to have overseas examination centres for NEET 2020 because the examination is conducted in "paper book format".

Advocate Haris Beeran submitted that it is very difficult to get tickets for students during this pandemic period.

The Bench asked Medical Council of India to submit the response

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 24.

The examination is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020.

The submission by NTA has come in response to the plea filed by parents of students who are applicants for the NEET UG 2020 entrance examination and reside in Doha, Qatar. They have challenged the Kerala High Court judgment which dismissed their plea for assigning test centers for NEET in Gulf countries.

A bench of Justices L.Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat had issued notice to the Respondents last month.

Standing by the decision of Kerala High Court, the NTA has submitted,

"the manner as to how examinations have to be conducted is a policy decision and, is, purely within the domain of the examining body viz., MCI and whether centres for conducting such examination should be provided in foreign countries, is in the province of MCI, to decide. MCI has taken its decision and, there is nothing on record which shows that the said decision of MCI is arbitrary or illegal."

NTA informed the court that it had duly consulted with the MCI regarding the students' demand for overseas test centers. However, the MCI has clarified that as the examination is conducted through Multiple Choice Questions in paper book format given to all candidates and, uniformity has to be maintained for all candidates, therefore, NEET (UG) examination should not be conducted in online mode for candidates abroad.

Highlighting the practical difficulty in fulfilling the students' demands, the affidavit states,

"examination cannot be conducted in abroad cities due to the fact, as already stated, NEET (UG) has to be conducted in single shift at the same time, on the same day to maintain uniformity and, further, the questions papers and other exam materials are to be transported from NTA headquarters to a large number of examination centres in various cities, which would require meticulous planning for safe and secured delivery of the same at the examination centres on time."

The plea filed by Advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap submits that there are 4000 students registered for NEET-UG from Qatar and the Middle-East, and that there exist procedural difficulties in getting affidavits attested from the Embassy of India in Qatar and sending it to India for filing of the same due to the pandemic.

In wake of the lockdown imposed to contain the virus, students have tries to register themselves for repatriation under the Vande Bharat Mission introduced by the Government of India, however, none of them managed to get seats in the said flights.

"It is primarily because the VBM flights are mainly intended to repatriate the people who are in distress, migrant labourers, people who are in a medical emergency, as also students stranded in various universities abroad."

In related news, a writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the postponement of both NEET as well as JEE examinations, citing the risk of COVID-19 pandemic.

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