Allowing NEET PG candidates to Change Centers is Least You Could Do: SC tells NBE
New Delhi: Observing that allowing exam centre choice to the NEET PG candidates is the least that could be done, the Supreme Court has recently issued notice to the National Board of Examination (NBE) and Central Government.
Such directions came from the Apex Court while the bench comprising of Justices UU Lalit, Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath was considering a petition filed by few NEET-PG candidates two of whom are in their last trimester of their pregnancy.
Directing the authorities to decide the matter within two days, the top court bench was quoted saying by Live Law, "Issue notice only with respect to petitioner 1 & 2 who are in their 7th & 8th month of pregnancy respectively."
The petition was filed by few doctors who brought to the Court's notice a very serious and grave problem faced by thousands of NEET PG candidates across the country as the pre-registered candidates are unable to change their choice of centers for the exam even though the new candidates have been provided with the facility.
NEET-PG entrance examination was earlier scheduled to be held on April 18. However, considering the graveness of the second wave of the pandemic, the exam was postponed for four months, and the Prime Minister's Office had earlier announced that the exam would be held only after August 31.
Back in July, the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed that the exam would be held on September 11. Recently, NBE issued a notification where it allowed new candidates to register and apply for the test by extending the registration and edit window.
However, even though NBEMS had decided to extend the cut-off date for Internship completion to 30.09.2021, and had also allowed the already registered candidates to change their category and EWS status, it didn't allow any change in the examination centres for the pre-registered candidates.
Medical Dialogues had reported that FORDA in a letter to NBEMS had demanded that the Edit Window should be extended to everyone so that the candidates who had already applied for the exam gets to change their Exam Centers according to their current place of residence. This would help the already registered candidates avoid the hassle of travel to other States or Cities amidst the ongoing pandemic, FORDA had earlier pointed out.
Recently, pointing out that four new NEET-PG centers have been added in Tamil Nadu, MP Su. Venkatesan from Madurai wrote to the Union Health Minister seeking re-allocation of NEET-PG candidates so that all the candidates from Tamil Nadu can get accommodated within the State. The Parliament member had also opined that considering the ongoing pandemic situation, the students shouldn't be made to travel outside of their states.
Few doctors recently took the matter to the Supreme Court and pointed out that even though the new candidates were allowed to choose the centers, the pre-registered candidates were barred from such privilege.
Filed through the Advocate on record Charu Mathur, the plea contended that previously when the candidates had opted for their examination centre, it was based on their nearest location to their centers as on April 18.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, Senior Advocate Kavin Gulati, who appeared on the behalf of the doctors explained the scenario in detail and also submitted before the top court bench that the candidates were requesting an extension of the window for 24 hours.
"When we first filled up our form we were at the final stage. On 06.08.2021, they said that the new candidates who had filled were allowed to choose the centres & not the ones who had filled the form & were eligible earlier," he was quoted saying by the daily.
He also contended that as soon as the notification was published on the behalf of the NBE authorities, the petitioner doctors had immediately approached them to change the window.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, the counsel for the Centre and NBE, on the other hand, submitted that as the admit cards of the candidates were already released, any generalized observation couldn't be made at this stage.
After listening to the contentions of both the parties, the bench directed the counsel for the Centre and NBE to consider allowing the petitioners changing their centers.
"The situation now is that there is a lot of prejudice caused to the people who want to give the exams. Allowing them change of centre and statuses is the least you can do," noted the bench.
Issuing notice only in the respect of two of the doctors who are in the last trimester of their pregnancy, the order mentioned, "Issue notice only with respect to petitioner 1 & 2 who are in their 7th & 8th month of pregnancy respectively."
The matter is likely to be heard on September 2, 2021.