Supreme Court Dismisses Petitions to Postpone NEET PG

The petitions were filed by candidates who said they do not have sufficient time to prepare for the exam because their internships are ongoing.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected petitions to postpone NEET-PG 2023-24, which is scheduled for March 3, by three months.

According to LiveLaw, Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta refused to entertain the petitions, filed by candidates who said they do not have sufficient time to prepare for the exam because their internships are ongoing.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said that in previous years, the gap between the internship deadline and the exam is never more than two months. But for the present year, the gap is more than five months.

“Is there much advantage by rushing the exam in this manner?” he asked, according to LiveLaw.

However, additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the National Board of Examinations (NBE), submitted that the dates were announced six months ago. “In the first window, nearly two lakh three thousand students applied. Only six thousand students applied after the internship deadline was extended. So, the demand is only by a minority,” Bhati said.

She also assured the bench that the NBE plans to commence the counselling process by July 15. The candidates who are yet to complete their internship will be dealt with “on a case-by-case scenario later”, she said, according to Indian Express.

The petitioners had alleged that the NBE issued the notice without checking with all the State Medical Councils regarding the internship period. They said that because the eligibility criteria was modified twice by the NBE, it clearly reflects the “oversight and mismanagement”.

On Sunday, speaking at the 19th Sir Ganga Ram Oration, Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud said that the “sheer amount of litigation in courts” surrounding NEET is “evidence that there is a need for reform in medical education”.

He was speaking on the topic, ‘A prescription for Justice: Quest for fairness and equity in healthcare’.

He said, according to Bar and Bench:

“Often, courts cannot enter policy domain and it is the duty of the state to listen to the representations made by the students. However, whenever injustice is done, it becomes our bounden duty to intervene. The sheer volume of litigation of NEET cases is indicative of the hopes and aspirations of millions of students. It is proof that medicine is one of the most sought-after professions in India. Yet, the litigation is also symbolic of the need for reforms in medical education in India.”