The Supreme Court on Monday declined a plea to allow online exam centres for students in foreign countries to appear in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2020 for admission to medical courses. A bench comprising Justices Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat asked the Central Government to arrange the candidates’ travel from abroad via Vande Bharat mission flights, to make travel for students easier.
The bench also refused to waive off the condition of quarantine for such students and said that the quarantine was mandatory in the interest of public health.
“The Petitioner requested for relaxation of 14 days quarantine. We are afraid such a direction cannot be given as it would endanger public health”, the bench observed.
Advocate Harees Beeran, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that while the National Testing Agency is conducting Joint Entrance Examination via online mode, it is conducting NEET via physical mode, which is discriminatory. NTA has set up centres for JEE in Dubai, Muscat, Riyadh, Doha etc, he submitted.
Also, 60% of the students are appearing in both JEE and NEET. JEE is being held online on September 6. So, the students who give JEE will not be able to appear for NEET physical exam in India on September 13, if they have to undergo the mandatory quarantine period after returning, explained the counsel.
However, the bench expressed disinclination to accept this plea.