In light of the NEET PG 2021 candidates’ plea asking for an exam centre change option, the Supreme Court has asked the National Board of Examinations or NBE to consider their request and come up with their final decision within two days. The scheduled date for NEET PG 2021 is September 11.
The petition talks about issues the candidates may face if they are not allowed to change their exam centres, including travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Among the petitioners, two are in their last trimester of pregnancy. They have requested the mediation of the Supreme Court to direct the NBE to allow the change of centres for NEET PG 2021.
A writ petition was filed about petitioners 1 and 2 wherein Petitioner 1 is in her seventh month of pregnancy and Petitioner 2 is in her eighth month.
The bench included Justice UU Lalit, Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Vikram Nath. They have asked the NBE to issue notice only for the two petitioners in their advanced stage of pregnancy.
The next hearing will take place on Thursday, September 2. Mr Kavin Gulati is the Senior Advocate representing the doctors. He stated that on 06.08.2021, the NBE announced that the new candidates who had filled the form would be permitted to select their respective examination centres. However, the candidates who filled the form earlier were not allowed to do the same.
The SC called on the NBE to allow the option for change in centres. The bench asked, “If you allow these people, you will have to do it for everyone. Is it possible for you to do that?”
Senior Advocate Mr Gulati also claimed that the petitioners asked the NBE to extend the window for appearing in the exam as soon as the notification was released.
After the submission by the petitioners’ advocate, Justice UU Lalit asked Senior Advocate Mr Maninder Singh, representing the respondents, to allow the petitioners to change their exam centres. Justice UU Lalit also stated that currently there exists prejudice for those who want to appear for the exams and allowing a change in exam centres is the least the authority can do.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh added that making a generic remark for all candidates would be difficult at this point as admit cards have already been issued.
Filed through Charu Mathur, AOR (Advocate on Record), the plea read that the previous exam centres selected by the applicants were according to their nearest locations as of April 18, 2021 (the last schedule of the exam).
Earlier, NEET PG 2021 was scheduled for April 18, 2021. But it was postponed and rescheduled for September 11, 2021.
In their plea, the doctors have requested the NBE to consider the events that took place after the last schedule of the exam (April 18, 2021).
They have also informed that many students selected their exam centres based on their then-locations and not the current ones. Some were posted for COVID-19 duties while some were undergoing mandatory training on April 18, 2021.
The plea avers that they became aware of the exact location of the exam centre only when the admit cards were released.
The petitioners have also mentioned that due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, the final year students (MBBS) had to apply for bond service. Those candidates selected their exam centres based on their posting at that time. But after a gap of more than 4-months, their postings (current) are no longer the same.
The plea reads that respondents have not considered the crucial fact that the centre change option was also allowed in the INI CET examination due to the pandemic in the Poulami Mondal and Ors (Petitioner) Vs. AlIMS and Ors (Respondent) case.