Students from 11 states on Thursday filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET for medical admissions and the Joint Entrance Exam for engineering courses amid the coronavirus crisis, Bar and Bench reported.

The 11 students argued that the government’s decision to hold the JEE Mains exam from September 1 to 6 in the online mode and the NEET in person on September 13 was “utterly arbitrary, whimsical and violative of the students’ fundamental right to life”.

“Lakhs of young students are likely to appear in the aforesaid JEE (Main) April-2020 and NEET UG-2020 Exams in the months of September, 2020,” the petitioners said. “Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are increasing in India at an alarming rate. Conducting the aforesaid examination across India at such perilous time, is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students at utmost risk and danger of disease and death.”

The students also told the court that making them sit for the exams would put financial strain on their parents in the times of crisis. “In such a situation, further burdening them with the cost of Transportation, Accommodation and Medical Treatment of their wards, for appearing in the examinations is utterly unjust, unfair and unwarranted,” they said, according to Live Law. They also argued that the decision to go ahead with the competitive exams would be especially unfair to students from flood-ravaged Bihar and Assam.

The students also argued that their fellows, who have better access to technology, will be at an advantage as they will be able to take the exams online.

The petitioners said that they must be given parity with Central Board of Secondary Education and Council For The Indian School Certificate Examinations students and those scheduled to take law and chartered accountancy tests, whose exams were cancelled due to coronavirus risks. They urged the top court to direct the National Testing Agency to conduct the exams only when the situation in the country returns to normal.

India recorded 56,282 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total number of infections to 19,64,536. More than 40,000 people in India have died from the coronavirus.