The Union government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the revised pattern for the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test post-graduate super specialty examination will be implemented from 2022 and not this year, Bar and Bench reported.

The Centre made the statement after the court criticised the regulatory body for medical education for making last-minute changes to the syllabus. The court had said that “heavens will not fall” if the authorities implement the pattern from next year.

The entrance exam meant for postgraduate students to take up super specialty medical courses (meant for studying specific diseases) is scheduled to be held on November 13 and November 14. The exam dates were notified on July 23, but a change in the syllabus of the test was announced on August 31.

Forty-one post-graduate doctors had approached the Supreme Court challenging the last-minute change to the syllabus. The plea argued that the decision was taken to favour candidates learning general medicine (the study of a broad spectrum of illnesses).

Earlier, the exam’s pattern comprised of 60% questions from super-speciality fields and 40% questions from general medicine, reported NDTV. However, the syllabus was changed this time to contain all questions from the general medicine field.

On Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the court that the Centre has decided not to implement the revised pattern in 2021 in view of the larger interest of the students.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna recorded the Centre’s statement and disposed of the matter, PTI reported. The court, however, clarified that it has not pronounced any verdict on the validity of the revised pattern.

In an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court had noted that students had been preparing for the examination for months. Justice had Chandrachud had asked authorities not to “treat these young doctors as football in this game of power”.