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  • Writer's pictureKoninika Bhattacharjee

SC Issues Notice To Centre For Establishing NEET Exam Centers In Gulf Countries

News Article Covered by Niloy Subir Ghosh

NEET is the premier examination for admissions to Indian medical colleges. It is conducted via pen and paper in centres all around India. Medical aspirants, living in India or abroad, have to appear for it in the country itself. This year, the exam will finally be held on September 13.

With COVID-19 showing no signs of coming to an end, the state authorities are continuously extending restrictions and postponing important events. The worst affected area has been the education sector; with all national level exams (including NEET) being postponed multiple times. Additionally, the drastic reduction in international flights has aided to this conundrum of postponement. Limited flight seats have made the medical aspirants residing in gulf countries anxious since they can appear for NEET only in India.

With regards to this Abdul Azeez, the General Secretary of Kerala Muslim Culture Centre, Qatar representing thousands of parents whose children have been affected, filed a petition in the Kerala high court. The directive sought to either create test centres in the Gulf region or, as an alternative, should postpone the said exam until the situation normalises. However, the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the National Testing Agency (NTA) were of the response that such an exercise was not feasible as it required meticulous planning. Also, they held that the students could be brought back in accordance with the guidelines prescribed. The HC Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chali dismissed the plea in the judgment released on June 30 by holding that the court cannot give direction to NTA and MCI, as they were expert bodies.

The Petitioner, Abdul Azeez, then moved to the SC and was represented by advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap. They challenged the HC decision, which had dismissed the plea seeking directions to MCI and the NTA. The petitioner’s representatives in the said plea have argued that around 4000 registered students throughout the Gulf region have been rendered vulnerable, even when the Centre’s ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ repatriation flights are being carried out. The advocates have further contended that if JEE, a premier engineering entrance exam, can have test centres in the gulf countries, then there was no viable reason for the same conducting authority, NTA to not establish NEET exam centres there. The plea was heard by Justices L.Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat who issued a notice on 29 July to the central government seeking an allocation of test centres for NEET in gulf countries or to postpone the examination until the pandemic subsists.

Read SC's Order of July 29

Supreme Court's Order
Download PDF • 26KB

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