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"Question Of Policy": Supreme Court Dismisses Pleas Challenging NEET SS 2022 Exam Pattern Change

Sohini Chowdhury
1 Aug 2022 2:39 PM GMT
Question Of Policy: Supreme Court Dismisses Pleas Challenging  NEET SS 2022 Exam Pattern Change

The Supreme Court, on Monday, dismissed petitions preferred by MD Radiation Oncologists and MD Anaesthesiologists NEET SS 2022 aspirant challenging the changed examination pattern which would now consist of 150 questions from the general/basic component of the primary feeder broad specialty subject and from all sub- specialty/systems/component of that primary feeder broad specialty subject.

A Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sudhanshu Dhulia refused to interfere, noting that the academic syllabus and curriculum for the Super Specialty courses is a policy decision of the Government and the scope of judicial review being limited, the Court is not inclined to entertain the petitions.

"The issue raised is a pure question of policy regarding academic syllabus and curriculum for SS courses. Consistent with the exercise of restraint of judicial review in such matters, we are not inclined to entertain the petitions."

Senior Advocate, Mr. Devdutt Kamat appearing on behalf of the petitioners apprised the Bench that prior to the impugned examination pattern, for Critical Care super speciality 60% questions were from critical care branch and 40% from other eligible postgraduate branches. Post modification the pattern is such that 100% marks are allotted for questions on the General Medicine course. He submitted that General Medicine is a specialised branch and students of other branches do not study the said course. Therefore, he argued the proposed examination pattern does not pass muster of Article 14.

"60% of questions prior to the impugned revised pattern were from Critical care and 40% from eligible postgraduate branches. Now what has happened. Kindly see the proposed pattern - General medicine which is one of the PG streams is given an overarching preference. 100% marks are allotted only to General Medicine questions. …General medicine PG is specialised course. These subjects are totally specialised and totally different."

The Bench stated, "You have also studied General Medicine."

Mr. Kamat responded in the negative.

The Bench further enquired, "What is the super speciality course for anesthesia? Are General Medicine candidates allowed there."

Senior Advocate, Mr. Maninder Singh appearing for National Board of Exmainations informed the Bench that the candidates with Post Graduation in General Medicine are not permitted to apply for the super speciality course in anesthesia.

The Bench was of the opinion that maybe MD Anaesthesiologists are in a more advantageous position, because they are permitted to change their course and take up critical care super speciality when there is already a super speciality course in anesthesia.

It may be noted that after being faced with harsh criticism from the Supreme Court over the eleventh-hour changes brought to the NEET-SS 2021 pattern, the Central Government on October 5, 2021 had told the Court that the revised pattern will be implemented only from next year.

Against this backdrop, the petitioners have sought issuance of directions to restore the scheme/pattern for the NEET SS 2022 exam.

[Case Title: Richa Verma v NBE]

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