The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday is going to hear the review petition challenging the permission granted to the Centre to hold NEET and JEE. Notably, the JEE exams have been already conducted after the SC granted permission. But, several states have reported poor attendance of candidates amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Six non-BJP state governments, through their Cabinet ministers, have approached the Supreme Court seeking postponement of JEE and NEET exams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The review plea has been filed by ministers from West Bengal (Moloy Ghatak), Jharkhand (Rameshwar Oraon), and Rajasthan (Raghu Sharma). Chhattisgarh (Amarjeet Bhagat), Punjab (BS Sidhu) and Maharashtra (Uday Ravindra Sawant) are also party to the review petition.
The plea has been filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes.
Students can’t lose a precious year
The SC on August 17 had refused to interfere in the conduct of the JEE and NEET scheduled in September. The court had said that life must go on and the students cannot lose a precious year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The apex court had dismissed a plea by one Sayantan Biswas. He had sought direction to National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts both the NEET and JEE exams, to postpone them. The court had said there was no merit in his plea.
Safety measures prescribed by NTA
Notably, NTA has already adopted stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the safety of students and examination staff during the examination.
As per the SOPs, the candidates who will appear in the exam will have to maintain social distancing. A proper seating plan will be chalked out to maintain social distancing. In addition, staggered slots will be there for the candidates reporting at exam centres.
Gloves and masks have been made mandatory for all staff on examination duty. Gloves and masks will be provided to candidates in case they do not come with their own. Moreover, hand sanitisers will be there at the entry and inside the examination centres.
Notably, the exam centres will be thoroughly disinfected and thermal screening will be done before providing entry. The verification of the examination staff will be carried out and they will have to give self-declaration for exam functionary. In addition, body pat frisking will not be done.
Students, political leaders want exams to be postponed
Protests are going on across the country against the conduct of the entrance exams. During the recent meeting of chief ministers of non-BJP ruled states, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had proposed the idea of approaching the Supreme Court together against the Centre’s decision to conduct the exams.
Various political leaders have sought the postponement of the exams in the current scenario. It includes Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Delhi’s deputy CM Manish Sisodia, etc.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg had also tweeted in support of the students. She had requested the government to postpone the entrance exams.
Sonia Gandhi issued video statement
Sonia Gandhi on August 28 issued a video statement on the issue. In the video statement, she said: “My dear students, I feel for you because you are now facing a very difficult situation. The issue of your exams, of when they should be held and where, is the most important issue not only for you but your family too.”
“You are our future. We depend on you to build a better India. Therefore, if any decision has to be taken regarding your future, it is important that it is being taken with your concurrence. I hope the government listens to you, listens to your voices and act upon your wishes. This is my advice to the government. Thank you. Jai Hind,” she added.
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