Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Supreme Court refuses to postpone NEET-PG 2021, says no to centre change option

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by the doctors who had registered for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Postgraduate) exam, seeking direction to allow Centre Change Option to the aspirants and to postpone the exam of NEET-PG 2021. 

The bench comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi observed that Covid-19 situation is gradually improving across the country. Earlier, the Bench led by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and also comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and newly-elevated judge Justice Vikram Nath, had issued notice for the petitioners, who were pregnant for 7 and 8 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.

“We had only allowed the petitioners, who were in their advanced stage of pregnancy, but we cannot give these petitioners the option. We made an exception and granted relief to two women, who were carrying and were in the seventh and eighth month of their pregnancy, as it was impossible for them to travel, but this cannot be extended to everyone.”

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.

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Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora appeared on behalf of the candidates, who submitted that the doctors before the court were asked to be on COVID duty at different places and the Government had issued a notification of postponement of the exam. She specifically pointed out the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the state of Kerala and other parts of the country, to which Justice Lalit stated, “Now, the situation is different. There are no restrictions on travelling. Vacations have increased and the severity of Covid-19 cases is less.”

The petitioners said they have obtained provisional/permanent registration. It was submitted that there are serious problems faced by thousands of NEET-PG aspirants across the country due to the absence of any option given to the candidates to change their centres for NEET-PG 2021, which is to be conducted on September 11, 2021 and was earlier scheduled to be conducted on April 18, 2021. It was submitted that the choice of the centre made by the candidates on an earlier occasion was on the basis of nearest location to their centres of COVID duties and now they are back in their respective places. The Centres were chosen before more than the postponement for four months of the exam to be conducted on April 18, 2021.

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On last hearing, Senior Advocate Kavin Gulati had 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…”

Gulati then read the notice issued by the Board on August 6, 2021 to the petitioners. It said, “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 availability.”


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