Home LATEST Six non-BJP state ministers move SC against JEE, NEET | India News...

Six non-BJP state ministers move SC against JEE, NEET | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Cabinet ministers from non-BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand moved the Supreme Court on Friday seeking deferment of JEE (Main) and NEET-UG to protect over 25 lakh students from serious health risk, given the rising number of infections and deaths from Covid-19.
The move followed Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s recent meeting with CMs of these states. The joint petition was filed by West Bengal law and labour minister Maloy Ghatak, Jharkhand finance minister Rameshwar Oraon, Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma, Chhattisgarh food and civil supplies minister Amarjeet Bhagat, Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu and Maharashtra higher education minister Uday R Samant.
The ministers sought review of the August 17 order of a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, which had dismissed PILs seeking postponement/cancellation of JEE (Main) and NEET-UG due to the pandemic. With solicitor general Tushar Mehta assuring the court that the National Testing Agency (NTA) has taken all precautions to protect students from infection, the SC had said examinations could not be cancelled as “life must go on”.
In the review petition, filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, it was argued that the health risk to 25 lakh students, who would appear for both examinations, was more than real because of the rising number of daily Covid-19 cases, and that the SC could not have dismissed the petitions without hearing states through an order that was “cryptic, non-speaking, did not discuss, let alone enumerate, the various aspects and complexities involved in a matter of this magnitude and complex nature”.
JEE (Main) will be held from September 1-6 in 660 centres and more than 9 lakh students are likely to sit for it. NEET-UG is scheduled for September 13 and more than 15 lakh students are expected to appear in 3,843 centres. The petitioners said this would require a large movement of people and would expose students to huge risk of infection.
The ministers said when India was on course to become the worst affected nation globally, “the ‘life must go on’ advice 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 JEE (Main) and NEET-UG”. “Large movement of people will prove to be a serious health hazard and will totally defeat the twin present-day solutions we have of combating the Covid-19 pandemic, ie social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings,” they said.
Non-BJP-ruled states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu did not lend support to the petition, which cited the difficulties faced by both Odisha and Bihar. The petitioners said in Odisha, which had demanded postponement of the exams, there were over 50,000 aspirants for NEET-UG and JEE (Main) but the state had examination centres only in seven towns. Bihar, with 38 districts, has nearly a lakh aspirants but NTA has notified only seven centres for JEE (Main) and two for NEET-UG.
The petitioners said, “The August 17 order fails to appreciate that safety of students and other stakeholders is not merely restricted to their physical safety but also pertains to psychological welfare of students, especially when they are going to appear in probably their most important and life defining examination.”

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