4000 NEET aspirants move Supreme Court demanding centres abroad or postponement of NEET 2020
New Delhi: Challenging the Kerala High Court verdict, around 4,000 Indian students in Gulf countries, the majority from Kerala, have now moved the Supreme Court seeking a directive to the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA) to either allot centres for NEET 2020 overseas or the postpone the entrance exam till the COVID situation improves.
The petition to this effect has been filed by general secretary, Kerala Muslim Culture Centre, Qatar, on behalf of the 4,000 NEET aspirants and their parents who are seeking the concerned authorities to conduct National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) by allotting the examination centres abroad including Qatar and other Gulf countries. They also sought the court to either order deferment in the NEET 2020 considering the prevailing coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier, a similar petition was also filed in the Kerala High Court. However, the Kerala High Court had dismissed the plea. The HC had taken note of the submissions made by the NTA and the Medical Council of India (MCI) earlier.
Medical Dialogues had reported about the same wherein the NTA and the MCI together had informed the Kerala High Court that arranging examination centres for National eligibility cum entrance test (NEET) in abroad is not practical since it is not feasible to conduct NEET online in a single shift for all candidates. The authorities also told the court that allotting exam centres for this upcoming MBBS entrance test, is not possible as it takes meticulous planning and the exam is about to be held next month; which evidently gives them not enough time.
NEET is scheduled for July 26th and NTA and MCI had informed the court that within this short amount of time allotment of examination centres outside the country is not possible. While giving reasons for their inability to arrange new examination centres in UAE or Gulf countries, they stated that NEET, unlike joint entrance examination (JEE) is not held online and it is an offline examination.
Hence arranging new centres requires sending examination materials including question papers outside the country. Those materials and questions papers have to be transported from the India NEET headquarters to a large number of examination centres and it requires a great deal of planning and strategic advancement, they had submitted. Moreover, they needed extreme security as question papers are highly confidential which is not possible to arrange within this short amount of time.
NTA and MCI also informed the HC that conducting the NEET examination in online mode is also not possible as organizing the test online in a single shift for all candidates is not feasible at all, adds the daily.
The Centre also informed the court that students could be brought back to the State by following the guidelines prescribed for overseas Indians.
Now, the parents of applicants for the NEET 2020 working in Qatar have moved the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court order dismissing their demand for allotment of NEET centres in the Gulf region.
They have demanded that if it was not possible to have NEET examination centres abroad and the test should be postponed until the COVID-19 crisis was over.
The petitioner has contended that NTA has the capability and willingness to open examination Centres in Gulf countries as they have been doing so for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admissions to NITs and IITs. However, NTA had said that it would open examination centres abroad only if the Medical Council of India approved the proposal, reports TOI
"But the MCI, in its communication dated May 21, had informed that the online test for NEET is not possible. During these exceptional circumstances, the MCI and the Union government need to be flexible so as to facilitate these students to sit for the NEET," the petitioner said.
It is submitted in the petition that students had already booked their tickets for India to write the exam but COVID-19 lockdown led to a ban on international flights making it impossible for the students to travel to India. They said even after resumption of flights via Vande Bharat mission, the petitioners could not get a seat booked in these flights.
Most of the students had registered with the Indian embassies in Qatar, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia to travel to India but they could not be accommodated in the flights as priority was accorded to other categories of passengers stuck abroad.
"Students are helpless to write the examination as international travel is banned to and from India. Assuming that they have seats in Vande Bharat Mission flights, the students will be exposed to COVID-19 risks as also they would have to undergo quarantine on their arrival in India. The duration in quarantine will go up to 21 days depending upon their destination of arrival. The above factors will add to the mental stress of the students, who, if no other alternative is available will be forced to travel and take the exam," the parents, represented by advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap, told the Hindu.