A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, on August 17, had dismissed pleas seeking deferment of JEE Main 2020 and NEET UG examinations which are slated to be held in September.
Pursuant to the August 17 order of the Apex Court, the National Testing Agency (NTA)- earlier this week- notified that the said entrance examination would be conducted as per the revised schedule with the NEET on September 13 and the JEE on September 16.
The review petitions stated that the Supreme Court’s judgment and the NTA’s decision to conduct the said exams, in the midst of the pandemic, is “flawed”.
The petitioners had contended that the said decision fails to ensure the safety, security and right to life of the student candidates appearing for the said exams.
The review petitions further stated that the NTA has ignored the logistical difficulties in carrying the examinations on the proposed dates and also failed to balance the competing but equally crucial aspect of conducting the examination and safety of the students. The review petitioners had also raised the issue of lack of “mandatory safeguards” for carrying the examinations.
The review petitioners had stated that nearly 25 lakh students will appear for the examinations in the midst of the pandemic and at a time when the country has recorded over 3.31 million COVID-19 cases.
With JEE being proposed to be conducted in over 660 exam centres for 9.53 lakh students, roughly 1,443 students will be writing the exam per JEE centre and for the NEET UG exams, 15.97 lakh students are slated to appear in 3,843 centres, meaning that there will be 415 students per NEET exam centre, the pleas state.
The review petitions had been filed by the Cabinet Ministers of six states in their individual capacities.
These are Moloy Ghatak, Minister-in-Charge, Department of Labour & E.S.I. (MB) Scheme and Departments of Law & Judicial, West Bengal; Dr Rameshwar Oraon, Finance Minister, Jharkhand; Dr Raghu Sharma, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Rajasthan; Amarjeet Bhagat, Indian Minister of Food, Civil supplies, Culture, Planning, Chhattisgarh; Balbir Singh Sidhu, Minister of Health and Family Welfare & Labour, Punjab and Uday Ravindra Samant, Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Maharashtra.
Challenging the SC decision, the review petitioners had said that the Apex Court failed to appreciate that the Union Government had adequate time to establish at least one centre for every district for NEET (UG) and JEE (Mains) rather than having several centres in one district. Having at least one centre per district would have minimised the inter-district long travel of the students and thereby reduced the chances of COVID-19 spread.