SC dismisses pleas for JEE & NEET postponement; exams to be held in September

Supreme Court dismisses plea to cancel JEE & NEET; exams likely to be held as scheduled

The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Mains will be held from September 1 to 6 through offline mode and the the National National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will be held on September 13. The JEE advanced examination is scheduled for September 27.

This became clear after the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the petition filed by 11 students from as many states seeking the postponement of the examination in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The plea, filed through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, had referred to COVID-19 pandemic and said authorities be directed to conduct these exams only after normalcy is restored.

The plea had also sought direction to the authorities to increase the number of examination centres.

"Conducting the entrance examination across India at such perilous time, is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students (including petitioners herein) at utmost risk and danger of disease and death. The best recourse at this stage can be to wait for some more time, let COVID-19 crisis subside and then only conduct these exams, in order to save lives of the students and their parents," the plea had said.

The plea had also alleged that authorities concerned have ignored the plight of lakhs of students from Bihar, Assam and north eastern states, which are presently reeling under flood, and conducting either online or offline exams in such places may not be possible.

While dismissing the plea, Justice Arun Mishra, who presided the three-judge bench, said the postponement of the exams would put the career of the students in peril, reported legal website, Live Law. "Career of students cannot be put under jeopardy for long," Justice Mishra said. "Life should move on even in COVID-19 times. Can we just stop exams? We should move on," he said. Justice B R Gavai and Justice Krishna Murali were the other members of the bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehtra, who appeared for the National Testing Agency, which conducts the examinations, argued that examinations should be conducted as per the existing schedule. He also assured the court that adequate precautions will be taken against COVID-19.

The petitioners argued that the decision to conduct the examination is 'utterly arbitrary, whimsical and violative of the fundaments right to the life of the lakhs of affected students." They also pointed out that many examinations, such as the Institution of the Chartered Accounts of India, CBSE, ICSE, ISC and Common Law Admission Entrance Test, were cancelled because of the pandemic.

The JEE mains was originally scheduled for April and May this year. It was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Around 25 lakh students have registered for the JEE examination while around 16 lakh students have applied for NEET entrance exams this year.

(With inputs from PTI)

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