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SC declines fresh petitions for postponement of NEET

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain fresh petitions to seek postponement of NEET (UG) 2020 for admissions to undergraduate medical and dental courses, slated to be held on September 13.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah said that is not inclined to examine the matter as the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (UG) is scheduled to be held in a few days.

The National Testing Agency will hold the NEET (UG) for admissions to MBBS/BDS and other undergraduate medical courses in approved/recognized medical/dental and other colleges/institutes in India.

The apex court had rejected a bunch of PILs as well as a review petition filed by six Ministers from non-BJP ruled states to seek postponement of the exam.

The bench said: “Everything is over now. A review has been dismissed. The JEE is over. How can we consider this now?”

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for one of the petitioners, contended that they are asking for the exam postponement and sought to highlight the practical difficulties faced by students.

Datar cited an example of Bihar, where there are only two examination centers.

The bench replied that all arrangements will be made for NEET. It said that there cannot be different dates for holding an entrance test in different states.

Datar urged the top court to consider postponement of NEET for three weeks.

Senior Advocate KTS Tulsi, representing another petitioner, argued that Covid-19 cases are increasing rapidly, and cited a record surge of nearly 90,000 coronavirus cases in a day. Tulsi also cited a Bombay High Court order, wherein it said that candidates who could not appear for the exam should be appropriately considered.

The bench said that it was for the examination body to decide, and not the court.

Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for a petitioner, submitted that there was some lacuna in the National Testing Agency guidelines. He also referred to the guidelines and advisory issued for students in containment zones etc to take the exam later on.

The bench observed that the authorities concerned will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of candidates.

Alam insisted that local authorities may be directed to ensure that the guidelines are enforced properly, to which the court replied that all this will be done.

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