On 17th August, the Supreme Court of India rejected a petition by some students requesting to postpone the Medical and Engineering entrance exams, NEET and JEE respectively, for undergraduate courses (The Indian Express, August 18, 2020).
“Life Cannot Be Stopped”
Justice Arun Mishra, heading a three-judge bench ruled that “life cannot be stopped” and “a precious year of students’ cannot be wasted”.
The petition filed by 11 students from across the country had requested to postpone both the exams until “normalcy is restored.” The petition was supported by many students online, and many hashtags, including #SCpostponeJEE_NEET were trending online.
“Are you ready to waste one whole year? If exams are not held, won’t it be a loss to the country?” Justice Mishra told the petitioners.
The apex court was clear in its rejection of petition and said, “How can exams be stopped? The careers of students can’t be put in jeopardy. We should move on.”
Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava appeared for the petitioners and made the case that he wasn’t seeking an indefinite postponement but only until normalcy is restored.
To back his argument, he pointed to the possible vaccine in the near future. Also, the flood-hit areas of Bihar and Assam had students at a disadvantage, according to the advocate of petitioners.
The bench said it couldn’t be assumed that the authorities were not aware of the situation.
Tushar Mehta, solicitor general, appearing for NTA (National Testing Agency) that conducts national level entrance tests, maintained that tests must take place. He also assured the court that all the necessary precautions will be taken.
The petition was rejected by the bench, saying it didn’t see any reason to change the policy decision made by the authority after taking into account the assurance of the solicitor general.
The JEE (Main) for Engineering undergraduate courses was to be held in April, but after two postponements, it is scheduled for September 1-6 now. The JEE Advanced for Main qualified students will take place on 27th September.
The NEET for undergraduate Medical courses has also been postponed twice and is now scheduled for September 13.