The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking to postpone the 2022 postgraduate National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET-PG 2022, saying it would cause a shortage of doctors and affect patient care, Bar and Bench reported. The exam will be held on May 21.

“This plea cannot be entertained since it will seriously impact the availability of medical care, have a cascading impact on patient care and affect the doctors who have already registered,” said the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant.

The plea was moved by a group of doctors, who wanted to postpone the NEET-PG 2022 as it would clash with the ongoing counselling of 2021 aspirants, PTI reported.

The bench dismissed the petition noting that it cannot postpone the exam and cause hardships to the over 2.06 lakh students who have prepared and registered for it.

The bench noted that there are two categories of students – one seeking to postpone the exam, and the other, comprising over two lakh candidates, who would be affected by the delay, PTI reported.

“It must be borne in mind that there is a large body of students and needs of patient care which cannot be ignored,” the court said according to Bar and Bench. “[...] this postponement will create chaos and uncertainty.”

Senior Advocate Rakesh Kumar Khanna, on behalf of the petitioners, told the court that the delay in counselling of NEET-PG 2021 aspirants has deprived many candidates of their fundamental right to take the exam in 2022, Bar and Bench reported. The candidates have written to the prime minister to express their grievances, the advocate added.

Senior Advocate P Wilson also supported the delay, saying that there could be a shortage of infrastructure if NEET-PG 2021 and NEET-PG 2022 aspirants get admissions during the same time, Bar and Bench reported.

The court dismissed the petition observing that it cannot pass such directions, and the Centre must take the call over the examination timelines.