New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the review petition filed by ministers from six Opposition-ruled states, challenging the court’s earlier order rejecting petitions to postpone NEET-JEE exams in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari refused to entertain the petition filed by ministers from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, opining that there is no merit in the plea.
While Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Mains, organised by the National Testing Agency, began on 1 September and is scheduled to go on till 6 September, the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) will be conducted on 13 September.
On 17 August, the Supreme Court had rejected students’ petitions against postponement of the exams, saying that the career of students “cannot be put under jeopardy for long”.
“Life has to go on. Life has to move ahead. Precious year of students cannot be wasted,” the court had then observed.
A review petition was then filed by West Bengal Labour and Law Minister Moloy Ghatak, Jharkhand Finance Minister Dr Rameshwar Oraon, Rajasthan Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Raghu Sharma, Chhattisgarh’s Food Minister Amarjeet Bhagat, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, and Maharashtra Education Minister Uday R. Samant on 28 August.
SC failed to secure safety of students, said ministers’ plea
The review petition asserted that the Supreme Court’s decision “fails to secure the safety, security and right to life of students-candidates appearing for the NEET/JEE exams”.
It submitted that “the advice of ‘Life Must Go On’ may have very sound philosophical underpinnings but cannot be a substitute for valid legal reasoning and logical analysis of the various aspects involved in the conduct of the NEET UG and JEE exams”.
The petition also criticised the Supreme Court judgment for lacking “an authoritative and comprehensive judicial scrutiny” of the issues involved.
It argued that the judgment “ignored the teething logistical difficulties in conducting the examinations at the proposed dates”.
It, however, clarified that the petitioners “do not wish to make any value Judgment or Political criticism of the Union Government in such times”.
“The undisputed facts are that there has been an exponential increase in both the COVID-19 positive cases as well as the deaths/mortality arising out of COVID-19 from April 2020, when these exams were originally scheduled till August 2020, when the Union Government decided to conduct the said examinations,” the petition had noted.