New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to postpone the INI CET 2021 exams by at least a month.
The exam, earlier scheduled for June 16, can be held anytime after the expiry of one month, it added.
A division Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah was hearing petitions filed by two groups- one filed by a group of 23 MBBS doctors and another filed by Indian Medical Association, Medical Student Network (Chhattisgarh Chapter) along with 35 resident doctors currently serving in Covid duties.
‘Considering that the candidates have been rendering Covid duties far away from Centres chosen and inadequate time for preparation, we are of view that fixation of date on June 16th is arbitrary. We direct AIIMS to postpone exam by at least one month. Needless to mention that authorities of AIIMS would give an appropriate date from one month from 16th June”, the Court directed.
The petitioners challenged the conduct of the exams on June 16, 2021 saying since most of the doctors were on Covid duties in various hospitals, they do not have enough time to prepare for the exams.
They sought directions to postpone the exam being conducted for admission to postgraduate courses in leading Government Medical Institutes in the country including AIIMS, JIPMER and NIMHANS.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior Advocate Arvind Datar drew the bench’s attention to the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to MBBS doctors to join COVID-duties and the assurance made by him to postpone the NEET exam. If the NEET exams scheduled in May were postponed to August, why can’t INI CET be also deferred? he asked.
In the instant case, only 19 days prior notice is given. Also centres for examination are in different states or far from the aspirants’ place of working which may require travelling and thereby facing travel restrictions,” the petition said.
“We have signed bonds with the state government and we can’t leave without notice. CA, NCLAT etc are all canceled or postponed. My suggestion is that it may be conducted with NEET PG, as most students write both exams”, Datar argued.
“Why this examination when NEET is postponed”, Justice Shah asked the counsel of AIIMS. “At least give them one month notice”, Justice Banerjee said.
“In the prevailing circumstances due to COVID-19, the conducting of this examination is resulting in building up pressure on the graduate doctors from across India to sit for the examination on 16th June, 2021, when under the present circumstances the Board examinations (Central Board of Secondary Education 10th and 12th Grade) and other professional examinations have been either cancelled or postponed,” the petition stated.
The counsel of AIIMS, Dushyant Parashar, told the bench that the prospectus was issued in May and the candidates were aware of the exams from May 1. If the exams are stayed, there will be a scarcity of doctors, the AIIMS counsel argued.
The AIIMS counsel further informed that arrangements for exams are ready in across 32 states. He further said that the COVID situation has improved in in many parts of the country.
However, the bench insisted that the exams should be deferred at least by a month’s time. Although the AIIMS’s counsel sought time till Monday to get instructions. , the bench refused, saying it was too close to the date of the exams.