Supreme Court refuses to allow NEET exams abroad; students allowed to return by Vande Bharat flights
The court also told the Medical Council of India (MCI), which is the body that conducts the NEET exam, that it should consider holding the exam online from next year
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea to set up centres for the NEET exam abroad, and directed the Centre to allow overseas students wanting to appear for NEET 2020 to travel to India on Vande Bharat flights.
The Bench, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao, added that the students must be quarantined for 14 days. However, the court allowed students to approach the respective state governments with pleas for a shorter quarantine period.
The court also told the Medical Council of India (MCI), which is the body that conducts the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam, that it should consider holding the exam online from next year.
"If the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) can have an online exam, then you should consider NEET also to be held in online from next year onwards," the court told the counsel for MCI.
Passing the order, the Supreme Court said, "We request the SG to consult the concerned ministries to ensure that the students who wish to visit India to write the NEET exam should be permitted to travel through Vande Bharat Mission flights."
The court was hearing a petition which sought for the National Testing Agency (NTA) to set up exam centres abroad, so that aspirants can appear for the NEET exam outside India, Bar and Bench reported.
The petitioners submitted that "like JEE, which has exam centres abroad, NEET should also have centres as the students cannot come to India to write the examinations," NDTV reported.
However, according to Hindustan Times, the Medical Council of India, in an affidavit, said, "In order to fairly conduct an examination like NEET, which has to be a uniform examination, it is imperative that the examination is conducted at the same time everywhere, which shall not be possible, if the examination is conducted in outside countries due to various reasons including different time zones, logistical issues, the secrecy of test papers being a booklet-based examination, etc."
The plea comes days after the NTA said that it will conduct the JEE Main 2020 and the NEET 2020 as per schedule in September.
JEE Mains will be held between 1 and 6 September and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, NEET UG will be conducted on 13 September.
The NTA has also created a detailed protocol on how to conduct the examination. As per a notification by NTA, candidates will be given staggered time slots for reporting at the exam centre to avoid crowding. Both, staff members and candidates will have to undergo temperature scans. Anyone displaying known COVID-19 symptoms will be placed in separate isolation rooms.
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