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NEET- PG 2022 : Supreme Court Requests Solicitor General To Look Into Plea Seeking Extension Of Internship Deadline

Shruti Kakkar
30 March 2022 9:44 AM GMT
NEET- PG 2022 : Supreme Court Requests Solicitor General To Look Into Plea Seeking Extension Of Internship Deadline
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday requested Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the issues raised by a group of doctors who are aspirants of NEET PG 2022 seeking extension of deadline for completion of internship beyond July 31, 2022 to accommodate interns whose internship got delayed due to compulsory covid duties.Terming the matter relating to "policy domain", the bench of Justices...

The Supreme Court on Wednesday requested Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the issues raised by a group of doctors who are aspirants of NEET PG 2022 seeking extension of deadline for completion of internship beyond July 31, 2022 to accommodate interns whose internship got delayed due to compulsory covid duties.

Terming the matter relating to "policy domain", the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Bela M Trivedi, while seeking SG's assistance, adjourned the matter for Tuesday i.e. April 5, 2022.

Doctors in the alternative have also sought relief to allow the candidates who fail to complete the internship till July 31 but are eligible as per the terms of the Information Bulletin to apply for the exam and submit the internship certificate once the same is obtained and in the meantime give an undertaking to the NBE the date for completion of internship.

Relief for considering exclusion of the period when the candidate served in covid duty from the one-year internship period, subject to the candidate fulfilling other requirements regarding eligibility for NEET-PG 2022 has also been sought.

What Transpired In Supreme Court Today?

When the matter was called for hearing, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranaryanan, appearing for the doctors, submitted that the revised deadline of 31.07.2022 still leaves thousands of candidates particularly from the state of Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala (among other states) as ineligible to apply for NEET-PG 2022-23 since they won't be able to conclude their internship within the stipulated time.

"We have 3 states who are being affected. We are asking for small accommodation which can be reasonable. Exam is in May and the result is in June. Because of CoVID duties our internship got curtailed. If this accommodation will be granted for us to sit and we'll give an undertaking. Registration took place in March. They have extended the 1 year compulsory cut off date. In Kerala, Bihar and J& K, the internship started late," submitted Senior Counsel.

Justice DY Chandrachud, the presiding judge of the bench, at this juncture, while expressing his inclination to grant the petitioners liberty to make the representation to the concerned authorities, said,

"This would mean that the students who are not eligible on the cut off date would be eligible to give the exam subject to the students completing the internship. There would be some students on this side of the line and some on that side of the line. You can make a representation, that's the best that we can say."

The bench also asked the petitioners as to whether the Union had considered the petitioner's representation in the plea seeking an extension of the May 31, 2022, deadline for internship for the purposes for NEET-PG admission.

On Senior Advocate answering in negative, the judge further said, "You can point out the grievance of the students from these 3 states but ultimately it's their call."

"We qualify on every other parameter. Once the course Starts, it will not make any other difference," submitted Sankaranarayanan.

"Was your CoVID duty in conflict with internship period?" asked Justice Bela M Trivedi.

While responding in the affirmative, the Senior Counsel requested that the Centre be asked to give its response.

On noticing SG's presence, Justice DY Chandrachud requested him to consider the reliefs sought in the petition.

"For NEET PG 2022-2023 the information bulletin says that students should have completed their internship by may 31, 2022 but then we got a petition that the students were on CoVID duties. On February 8 we passed an order saying its policy issue. On Feb 16, NBE extended the date. There are still problems in Bihar, J & K and Kerala so this extension would not benefit them. Their plea is that let them apply for the exam and appear subject to completing the internship before the start of the exam. If the government considers, this may have wider policy ramifications."

SG at this juncture agreed to take instructions and the bench accordingly adjourned the hearing for Tuesday.

Details Of The Plea

 The doctors have contended that while they had joined for Covid duties, neither the National Board of Examination, nor the colleges informed them that serving as Covid warriors would delay their commencement of internship and could also affect the registration for NEET-PG 2022-23.

In this regard, they have averred that for several candidates, internship which had to commence from March- April 2021 ,got postponed to September-October 2021.

"When the candidates made informal enquiries from the colleges regarding the internship extension date for next year and whether the same will affect the registration for NEET-PG 2022, they were given an oral assurance by the colleges that the same will not clash with registration requirement for NEET-PG 2022-23.

However, the candidates were shocked to note that they will not be able to register for NEET-PG 2022-23 with the current deadline of 31.07.2022 as the internship deadline," the plea states.

The petitioners are represented by Dubey Law Associates and the petition has been filed by Advocate Charu Mathur.

It may be noted that the bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud on Friday had dismissed a plea by NEET MDS 2022 aspirants seeking issuance of fresh notification for extending the period of compulsory internship for NEET MDS.

Case Title: Shikhar & Another v National Board of Examination| Writ Petition (Civil) 208/2022

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