NEET and JEE Main 2020: Supreme Court won’t defer entrance exams, says ‘careers can’t be put in jeopardy’

The Supreme Court of India dismissed a plea seeking the postponement of JEE Main and NEET 2020 entrance examinations scheduled to be held in September.

The Supreme Court Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, said that the postponement of exams will result in students losing an academic year and will put their careers in peril.

Appearing for the National Testing Agency, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the exams will have to be conducted and that adequate precautions will be taken for conducting these tests.

Pointing out that “life has to go on” despite COVID-19, the SC Bench said, “ “Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards and all… Are students ready to waste one whole year? Education should be opened up. Covid may continue for a year more. Are you going to wait another year? Do you know what the loss to the country and peril to the students is?,”

Petitioner’s lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava said that a COVID vaccine is “on its way” and the plea does not seek an indefinite postponment of the exams. However, the Bench found no merit in the case and dismissed the petition.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by 11 students, which said that conducting JEE Main 2020, JEE Advanced 2020 and NEET 2020 despite the coronavirus situation in India to be “utterly arbitrary, whimsical and violative of the fundamental right to life of lakhs of affected students”.

The plea also cited the cancellation of remaining Institution of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), CBSE and ISC exams. It mentioned that Common Law Admission Entrance Test (CLAT) and the National Institute of Open School exams have been postponed as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.

JEE Main 2020, the entrance exam for admission into engineering institutes, is to be held online from 1 to 6 September while NEET 2020, held for admission to undergraduate medical courses, is slated to be held offline on 13 September.

Other students have also have filed a plea against University Grants Commission’s decision to conduct final year exams despite the pandemic. The matter will be heard on 18 August.

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