NEET-JEE: 6 Opposition State Govts File Review Petition in SC

A petition seeking the postponement of the exams was dismissed by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on August 17, saying that “life has to go on”, although the court itself continues to function virtually.

NEET JEE petition

Opposition-ruled states including Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand today filed a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging the conduct of the NEET and JEE exams.

The JEE-Main which was originally scheduled in April, and the NEET-UG which was originally scheduled in May, have both been postponed multiple times due to the pandemic and are currently scheduled for September.

A petition seeking the postponement of the exams was dismissed by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on August 17, saying that “life has to go on”, although the court itself continues to function virtually. The petition, filed by 11 students from 11 different states, stated that conducting the JEE online and the NEET offline in centres across the country was “utterly arbitrary, whimsical and violative of the fundamental right to life of lakhs of affected students.” Students across the country began online and offline protests against this decision.

In support of the students seven Chief Ministers, including West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray, who is heading the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government, Punjab’s Amarinder Singh (Congress), Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren (JMM), Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot (Congress), Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel (Congress) and Puducherry’s V Narayanasamy (Congress) had a meeting in which they decided to jointly move the Supreme Court on the issue.

Students are against the exams due to a number of logistical and safety concerns. Due to the lockdown transport to and from test centres will be extremely inaccessible and expensive even if it is possible, low-cost lodging for students near test centres will not be available either. Online exams in other cases have shown themselves to be inaccessible and mismanaged, especially as access to the necessary technology is not available for the majority of the students of the country, and various parts of the country have recently been hit by extreme floods. Most crucial is the risk of contracting COVID-19 and further spreading it, and the subsequent costs of treatment, quarantining, healthcare for the student’s family, and risk to the life of the students themselves. Regions with test centres will face an increase in infections as well.

The chief ministers have now filed a petition seeking a review of its earlier judgment.

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