Supreme Court dismisses plea to postpone NEET PG 2022 exam

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition to postpone NEET PG 2022 exam, saying tinkering with the time schedule would lead to “chaos and uncertainty” and cause a “cascading effect”.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud accepted the Union government’s submission that “any delay in conduct of the exams would mean fewer doctors in hospitals” at a time when the nation was just coming out of the pandemic haze.

The court also noted that further delay in the exams would prejudice over two lakh students who have prepared for the exam.

“What must be borne in mind is that there are students who have registered for the exam. As the country gets back on the rails after the disruptions caused due to the pandemic, the time schedule must be adhered to,” the court noted.

The exam is scheduled for May 21.

“We held extensive consultations on the conduct and timing of the exam… Any delay would infract upon patient care, since this will lead to fewer number of resident doctors as there are supposed to be three batches of postgraduate doctors available in hospitals as opposed to only two batches available now,” Additional Solicitor-General Aishwarya Bhati, for the Health Ministry, submitted.

The court acknowledged that the issue pertained to policy domain and the court need not intervene unless there was “manifest” arbitrariness apparent.

“Needs of patient care and treatment must be paramount in the clash of the ones who have registered and those who have not registered… What must be borne in mind by the court is that there is a large body of students on the other hand, and needs of patient care cannot be ignored,” the court observed.

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