The Union health ministry on Friday postponed the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET, for postgraduate students by six to eight weeks, PTI reported.

The exam was scheduled to be held on March 12. It is conducted by the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences.

The health ministry said the exam was clashing with the dates of NEET PG 2021 counselling, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Many of the interns would not be able to participate in the postgraduate counselling 2022 by the month of May/June 2022,” the ministry told the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences in a communication dated February 3.

A plea was also filed in the Supreme Court seeking an extension in the internship deadline for NEET PG 2022 and deferral of the exam date to accommodate candidates attending 2021 counselling.

The plea was moved by six MBBS graduates and was listed for hearing by a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud on Friday, Live Law reported.

In their plea, the students had said that many MBBS graduates, whose internships were halted due to their duty in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, would be rendered ineligible from appearing in the NEET-PG test due to lack of mandatory internship duty.

“The candidates were not provided with any information, whatsoever, at the time of joining the Covid duties that the internship deadline for next year will remain the same,” the plea had said, according to Live Law. “The same will eventually lead to a situation wherein they will be deprived to even appear in the examination.”