Supreme Court issues notice on pregnant aspirants' plea seeking change of centre for NEET-PG examination

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice on a petition filed by candidates, who had registered for NEET-PG examination and were in advanced stages of pregnancy, seeking change in their centres. 

A Bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice Ajay Rastogi and newly-elevated Justice Vikram Nath issued notice only for the petitioners, who were pregnant for seven and eight months and also asked the National Board of Examination, if there was any solution for the petitioners in regard to the change in their centre.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the National Board of Examinations, nodded on the same and assured that appropriate steps would be taken for the petitioners, who were in their advanced stages of pregnancy. 

The petition was filed by doctors, possessing a recognised degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) awarded by a university or institute in India and registered with the State Medical Council. 

The petitioners have also obtained provisional/permanent registration. It was submitted that there were serious problems faced by thousands of NEET-PG aspirants across the country due to absence of any option given to the candidates to change their centres for NEET-PG 2021, to be conducted on September 11, 2021, earlier scheduled for April 18, 2021. 

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It was submitted that the choice of the centre made by the candidates on an earlier occasion was on the basis of their nearest location to the centres of COVID duties and now they are back in their respective places. The centres were chosen before the postponement for four months of the exam.

Senior Advocate Kavin Gulati appeared for the petitioners. He submitted, "When we first filled up the form, the exam was scheduled for April 18, 2021 and we were in the last stage of internship and also doing COVID duty. Meanwhile, the exam got deferred..." 

National Medical Commission had earlier provided choice of state for NEET-PG: Petitioners

Mr Gulati then read the notice, when the petitioners were first informed on August 6, 2021 by the Board about the centre.

"The National Medical Commission, in its meeting on 24th has decided to extend the cut off date for a period of internship for the purpose of eligibility and for such candidates, they will be able to choose their state for taking the examination and it shall be allotted as per the availability."

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The Bench asked Maninder Singh, if it was possible to grant the change of centre for these six candidates, to which he replied, "Mylords, I have got the written instructions along with the file. The instructions are that they would love to do it but now, it is not possible."

Gulati pointed out that the first two petitioners are pregnant and prayed for their allowance, to which Singh said, "I will definitely find some solution for the doctors who are in their stage of advance pregnancy, because what I am instructed is that after finalisation, the Admit cards are in process, which are going to be issued by September 6. I will come back on the next date and inform the court."

The Bench then fixed September 2 as the next date of hearing.

Case Name- Anu Joseph and Ors. Vs National Board of Examination and Ors. WPC 936/2021

Filed by AOR Charu Mathur