Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of B. V. Nagaratha and Hanchate Sanjeev Kumar, JJ., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.
The instant writ petition was filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India seeking appropriate writ or order or direction in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction be issued to the respondents to ensure that NEET Exams should not be postponed for a further period of four months from the earlier stipulated date i.e. 18-4-2021.
It was submitted by the petitioners that on account of the postponement of NEET, one day prior to the date it was to be held (it was to be held on 18-4-2021) i.e., on 17-4-2021, the doctors, aspirants for post-graduate studies, are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression as their plans to study post-graduation has been unsettled on account of procrastination. It was also submitted that the said decision to postpone the holding of NEET, a day prior to the date of Test, was not in accordance with law and the said decision is an arbitrary one and hence, the same has been assailed.
Counsel for the respondents submitted that the said decision is a policy decision which is very sound and it may not be interfered with by this Court, as it is not an arbitrary decision but having regard to the serious nature of the resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic. It was also submitted that Courts do not intervene in academic schedules and matters, which are purely academic in nature.
Learned Assistant Solicitor General submitted that the dates would be notified for holding NEET after 31st August, 2021 after giving time for preparation by the aspirants.
The Court observed that that the postponement of NEET was on account of the circumstances as they emerged and based on the views of the experts. This is not a case where there is the cancellation of NEET this year but only of postponement of the Test from April-2021 to a period subsequent to 31st August, 2021 due to “second wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Court further observed that Supreme Court declined to approve postponement of the exam last year as the pandemic was not as severe last year, the doctors including NEET aspirants were not requested to perform duties during this “second wave” of the pandemic. But, if such doctors have offered their services during the period April-July, then they would require time to prepare for the Test. Hence, the postponement of NEET will be beyond 31st August 2021.
The Court held “we find no merit in the writ petition. Hence, it is dismissed.”[Late G.B. Kulkarni Memorial Legal Trust v. Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 12692, decided on 10-06-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Counsel for petitioner: Mr. Vinod G.Kulkarni (party-in-person)
Cousnel for respondents: Mr. M.B.Naragund and Mr. Madhukar Desphande