The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a review petition filed by six states against its judgement earlier this month that rejected a plea for the postponement of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) amid the coronavirus crisis, Live Law reported.
Six cabinet ministers from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Punjab and Maharashtra had moved the Supreme Court on August 28, saying that its order failed to secure the safety, security and right to life of the students taking the exam. The petitioners also said the order ignored the “teething logistical difficulties” in conducting the exams on the proposed dates.
The ministers had also said that the decision to go ahead with the exams showed “non-application of mind” on the part of the government, at a time when classroom teaching has been completely disrupted due to the coronavirus lockdown.
On August 26, several chief ministers of non-BJP states had held a virtual meeting to discuss their stand on the competitive exams. The meeting was convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had, then, suggested that they should jointly move the Supreme Court. The suggestion had found support from Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who ordered the state’s attorney general to speak to his counterparts in other states and draw a blueprint for an appeal in the top court.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, meanwhile, had claimed that the government had been under pressure from parents and students to conduct the competitive exams.
The Joint Entrance Examinations for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology began on Tuesday with strict safety rules in place and will continue till Sunday, September 6. The NEET exam is scheduled to take place on September 13.
The exams are taking place amid the worsening coronavirus situation in India. India’s coronavirus count touched 38,53,407 on Thursday, with a record 83,883 new cases reported in 24 hours. More than 67,000 people in the country have died of the infection.