The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain the petition filed by six states, seeking a review of the court’s August 17 order to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and the Joint Entrance Examination (Mains) examinations. The bench said the examinations will be held as per the schedule.

On August 17, the court had refused to entertain a petition by students to postpone the NEET and the JEE. It said that a crucial year of students “cannot be wasted” and life has to go on. Ministers from six Opposition-ruled states filed a review petition against the order to conduct the examinations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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 for undergraduate medical courses is scheduled to take place on September 13.

The petition filed by the ministers said the Supreme Court order ignored students’ “right to life” and “teething logistical difficulties” in conducting the exams. It also said lakhs of students should not fall prey to the Centre’s “knee-jerk” and “haphazard” plans, which would prove “worse than the disease itself”. “The advice of ‘life must go on’ may have very sound philosophical underpinnings but cannot be a substitute for valid legal reasoning and logical analysis of the various aspects involved in the conduct of the NEET UG and JEE exams,” the petition said.

The review plea was filed by ministers Moloy Ghatak of West Bengal, Rameshwar Oraon from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh’s Amarjeet Bhagat, Maharashtra’s Uday Ravindra Samant, Raghu Sharma from Rajasthan and Balbir Singh Sidhu of Punjab on August 28. The decision to move the Supreme Court came after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi held a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of six non-BJP states.

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has maintained that the government had been under pressure from parents and students to conduct the competitive exams.

Meanwhile, data released has shown that over 1.14 lakh students have dropped out from appearing for the Joint Entrance Exam in the first three days. The drop-out rate is at 25% with 3,43,958 of the 4,58,521 registered students appearing for the entrance exam.

India reported a record rise in coronavirus cases on Friday with 83,341 new infections, pushing the total to 39,37,017. The toll rose by 1,096 to 68,472.

Also read: No Parliament but JEE-NEET will proceed? Decision on exams shows arbitrariness of India’s Covid plan