Supreme Court of India (HT File )
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NEET, JEE network 2020: Congress, TMC, JMM and Shiv Sena said Friday non-NDA leaders have asked the Supreme Court to postpone NEET and JEE to keep an eye on student health and safety amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Ministers from six opposition-ruled states requested a review of its order that allowed the center to conduct the National Proficiency Test (NEET) and Joint Admission Test (JEE) this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The reason for the review was submitted by ministers from West Bengal (Moloy Ghatak), Jharkhand (Rameshwar Oraon), Rajasthan (Raghu Sharma), Chhattisgarh (Amarjeet Bhagat), Punjab (BS Sidhu) and Maharashtra (Uday Ravindra Sawant).

In a joint online press conference for the parties, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the reasons why her petition for review was filed have not yet been heard by the court and are different from the petitions rejected by the Supreme Court.

The request to postpone the entrance exams covers issues such as student health and safety, logistics required to conduct the tests with 25 lakh students, and the balance between student health and education.

The reason for the review was filed on Friday against the backdrop of the Supreme Court on August 17, refusing to disrupt the conduct of the medical and technical entrance exams – NEET and JEE – scheduled for September. Life has to go on and the students cannot lose a precious year because of the pandemic.

Singhvi said they only requested postponement or postponement of NEET and JEE and not cancellation as they do not want the students’ academic year to be wasted.

“Although a petition was rejected by the court in this regard, none of the points we raised were previously discussed by the court. We made a request to postpone, not cancel, exams, ”he said.

On August 17, the Supreme Court rejected a motion by Sayantan Biswas and others filing an instruction to the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts both the NEET and JEE exams, for postponement after Attorney General Tushar Mehta had assured that all protective measures would be taken.

This new petition is a constructive, non-negative, non-destructive approach to postponing the exams rather than canceling them, said the congressional spokesman.

“We do this as our duty to the youth and students of our country and in the public interest. We are not deterred by clearly recognized time and prior rejection restrictions that were totally avoidable and none of these questions raised. Without denying the limitations, there is always hope, ”said Singhvi.

He claimed that this petition comprised around 30 percent of the country’s area and population.

Singhvi suggested that the exams, which start September 1, be postponed to November and the academic session started from January to save the academic year.

While JEE is September 1-6, NEET begins September 13th.

The petition follows a meeting of the prime ministers of seven states. It was convened virtually by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday.

Singhvi also accused the central government of being insensitive and inefficient, calling it a “government of apathy and contradictions”.

The petition says that it will be listed in the Supreme Court at the earliest, otherwise serious and irreparable damage and injury would affect our country’s student community, not just health, welfare and safety.

Singhvi said students appearing for NEET and JEE could be at risk, but overall public health would also be at serious risk during these COVID-19 pandemic times.

Trinamool Congress chairman Derek O’Brien said that conducting exams of this magnitude when the infection peaks poses serious health risks to the students, their parents, and those taking those exams.

He said the issue would also be up for discussion in parliament, where all parties will meet.

“It is very clear that we will speak with one voice. The petition for review is only one step in this direction. It’s beyond politics and in the interests of the students, ”said O’Brien.

He added that various governments have shown “great teamwork” in jointly filing the petition and that it is being tabled in the “true spirit of federalism”. O’Brien added that this is a huge step in the struggle for student rights that will be advanced in 2020.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren said that many students are unable to take these exams because of fear or logistical difficulties.

Additionally, he said, some might even have underlying health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, making it even more dangerous for them to physically show up at exam centers. “It appears that the central government is persistent and persistent in holding the exams,” Soren said, asking who will be responsible for the students’ health.

He urged the Supreme Court to take a holistic view on the matter, noting that the central government has apparently shifted its responsibilities to the states and does not care about controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

Maharashtra Minister Uday Samant was also present but had to go to a meeting.

Singhvi argued that performing a physical exam of this magnitude could be disastrous, given recent information about the virus’s spread.

He said with the prime minister preaching about safety every day, holding such reviews would mock COVID safeguards.

The congress director noted that COVID is inactive and people are asymptomatic and temperature rifles in exam centers would not be enough as protective measures in exam centers with a density of 1500 students per center for JEE and 450 for NEET.

“The exam centers are a recipe for disaster when it comes to student health,” he said.

When asked about the chances of the petition, Singhvi said: “We will not be put off.”

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