The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), scheduled to be held in September 2020.
Justice Arun Mishra, presiding the bench, said that the postponement of the exams will put the ‘career of the students in peril’.
‘Life should move on even in COVID-19 times. Can we just stop exams? We should move on’, Justice Arun Mishra said while dismissing the petitions.
‘If exams are not held, won’t it be a loss to the country? Students will lose the academic year”, Justice Mishra asked.
“Are you not demanding that Courts should re-open? Why can’t exams be held with precautions?”, Justice Mishra further asked.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for NTA, submitted that exams should be conducted, and adequate precautions will be taken.
When Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastavan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the risk of COVID-19 was increasing, and several other exams like CA exams, CLAT etc have been cancelled, Justice Mishra asked him ‘how can you assume that the authorities are not aware of the situation?’.
Advocate Alakh submitted that there is a chance of vaccine coming soon for COVID-19. Even the Prime Minister said about it in his August 15 speech. Not seeking an indefinite postponement of the exam, but a postponement for some time, he clarified.
The bench however was not persuaded by these submissions and said that it will not interfere with the policy decision taken by the authorities.
The bench added that it has taken into record the submission of Solicitor General that exams will be held with adequate precautions.
The petition filed by eleven students from eleven States contends that the decision to hold JEE(Main) through online mode from September 1 to 6 and NEET UG-2020 through offline mode on September 13 at 161 centres across India are “utterly arbitrary, whimsical and violative of the fundamental right to life of lakhs of affected students” (Sayantan Biswavs and others vs National Testing Agency and others)
The petition points out that the Institution of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has cancelled the CA exams citing COVID-19 risk. The remaining exams of CBSE/ICSE/ISC have also been cancelled. The Common Law Admission Entrance Test (CLAT) and the National Institute of Open School exams have also been postponed.
Therefore, the petitioners seek parity with the said examinations.
“Lakhs of young students are likely to appear in the aforesaid JEE (Main) April-2020 and NEET UG-2020 Exams in the months of September, 2020. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are increasing in India at an alarming rate. The deadly pandemic COVID-19 has already affected about 20 Lakh people in India and situation is worsening by every passing day. Conducting the aforesaid examination across India at such perilous time, is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students (including Petitioners herein) at utmost risk and danger of disease and death”, the plea filed through Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava stated.
Courtesy / LiveLawFollow Us On