New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain pleas seeking postponement of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)-PG 2023, which is scheduled for March 5, saying there is nothing in this world to prevent somebody who has not made it to try again. The apex court was dealing with two petitions seeking postponement of the postgraduate medical entrance test.
The petitioners had sought postponement of the exam, saying they did not get adequate time to prepare for the exam and that the counseling has to be conducted after August 11 since the cut-off date for internship has been extended to that date.
A bench of Justices S R Bhat and Dipankar Datta was informed by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the National Board of Examinations (NBE), that admit cards for the exam have been issued on Monday as per schedule and the counselling may commence from July 15.
She told the bench that the date of exam was announced in September last year.
“There is no date available in the near future with our technology partner to conduct the exam,” she told the bench.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners, said the examination can be postponed by some weeks and asked if the counselling has to take place after August 11, is there much advantage by rushing the exam in this manner.
Bhati said administrative arrangements have been put in place for the scheduled exam.
Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who also appeared for the petitioners, said for every candidate the subject and the college is very important.
“There is nothing in this world to prevent somebody who has not made it to try again,” the bench observed.
Tankha said this has become “acute” because of NEET as every state earlier used to have its own exam for medical admission.
“Right or wrong, all this is a part of the evolutionary process. Sometimes…it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong. You will take it as it comes,” the bench said, adding, “We are not entertaining the petitions”.
On February 24, the NBE had told the apex court that around 2.09 lakh candidates have registered for the NEET-PG exam 2023 and no alternative date for conducting it may be available in the near future if it is postponed.
The NEET-PG examination will be conducted as per schedule on March 5 for those aspiring to get admission to postgraduate medical courses, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had told Lok Sabha on February 10.
To ensure that no one is left out, the ministry has extended the cut-off date for all those MBBS students who are yet to complete their internship, he had said while replying to a question by a Congress member.
The ministry had extended the cut-off date from June 30 to August 11 for the NEET-PG aspirants to complete their mandatory one-year internship.
While hearing the pleas last week, the apex court had observed, “For those who are waiting for this (examination), it is really a mental torture.”
“When we postpone a judicial exam, there is agony for the candidates who are preparing for it. The whole dynamics change,” the bench had said.
Sankaranarayanan had then argued that students are undergoing internship for 12 hours a day and there was no adequate time for them to prepare for the examination.
The petitioners had also argued that the issue has arisen because different states have different schedule for internship.
The petitioners, through their counsel Tanvi Dubey, have raised the issue of eligibility criteria been modified twice by the NBE and claimed that it reflects the oversight and mismanagement on its part of not consulting the state medical bodies in advance, thereby giving no time to the candidates to prepare.