New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the National Board of Examinations to the petitions filed by an aspirant of NEET-PG 2023 to postpone the exam scheduled on March 5.
A Bench comprising Justices Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta will consider the matter on Monday.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan said although the petition is by 13 doctors, the issue affects over 45,000 students across the country. The NBE subsequently extended the cut-off date for internship on February 7 to 11.08.2023.
"When you go for counselling you have to show the completion of internship. So, counselling can only happen after 11.08.2023", the senior counsel submitted.
Over 2 lakh candidates have registered for the exam
Replying to a query by a bench, the senior counsel said that over 2 lakh candidates have registered for the exam. So, the persons who are likely to be affected by the decision are 45,000 as claimed by the petitioners are in a minority, the bench noted.
These students are now undergoing over 12 hours of internship work daily and hence there is no adequate time for preparation, the lawyer said.
The bench however expressed concerns about the agony which will be caused to students who have been preparing for months together. For those who are waiting, it is really a mental torture", the judge said.
Different states have different internship schedules
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, also appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the issue arises as different states have different internship schedules. If the counselling is to take place after August, why can't the exam be deferred by a few weeks, he asked.
NBE in its response said that the Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing on our behalf, informed the bench that over 2.09 lakh candidates have registered. There's a technology partner whose services have been roped in to conduct the exams and if the exams are postponed, possible dates may not be available in the near future as the partner may not be available.
Clarifying that it is not indicating to postpone the exam, the court says it wants responses to the concerns raised by the petitioners.
The bench also told the petitioners that they became eligible only because of the internship deadline extension given by the NBE. "In normal course you had to wait for months. Now you have got a chance, but you want to defer the exam," Justice Bhat commented.
No time to prepare for the examination
The petitioners said the National Board of Examination (NBE) informed the candidates on the revised eligibility criteria as late as February 7, leaving no time to prepare for the examination scheduled for March 5.
The petition argues that there is a 5 month gap between the date of examination and the date the counselling which cannot commence before 11.08.2023 (the final internship cut-off date) and the same would be detrimental to the post resident doctors.
The petitioners, who are led by Ganesh Pawar, therefore seek to defer NEET-PG exam by three months in view of the fact that the counselling cannot happen before August 11.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)