New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday said life should move on even in Covid-19 times and declined to entertain a plea seeking the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), slated in September.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra noted that the postponement of the exams will put the career of the students in peril. Justice Mishra said if the exams are not held, then would it not be a loss for the country? Students will lose the academic year.
Declining to entertain the plea, Justice Mishra told the petitioners' counsel, "Are you not demanding that the court should be opened up amid Covid? Do you see this glass partition here. When we are getting ready to open up, you say exams should not be held?"
Justice Mishra added that education should be opened up, as Covid-19 may continue for a year more. "Are you going to wait another year?" Justice Mishra posed this question to the petitioners' counsel. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, contended before the bench that exams should be conducted, and all the necessary precautions will be taken.
Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, representing the petitioners, submitted before the bench that the risk of Covid-19 is increasing and several other exams have been cancelled. Justice Mishra replied, "How can you assume the authorities are not aware of this situation?"
The bench said it will not interfere with the policy decision taken by the authorities concerned and took on record Mehta's submission that exams will be held with adequate precautions.
"Lakhs of young students are likely to appear in the aforesaid JEE (Main) April-2020 and NEET UG-2020 Exams in the months of September 2020. Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases are increasing in India at an alarming rate. The deadly pandemic Covid-19 has already affected about 20 Lakh people in India and the situation is worsening by every passing day. Conducting the aforesaid examination across India at such a perilous time, is nothing else but putting the lives of lakhs of young students (including petitioners herein) at utmost risk and danger of disease and death", said the plea.