No NEET exam abroad, students can take Vande Bharat flights: SC

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi (NVI): The Supreme Court today declined to pass a direction to Centre to hold NEET Undergraduate 2020 at examination centres in Gulf countries, but asked Centre to consider allowing students to come via “Vande Bharat Mission” flights to appear for the exam scheduled on September 13.

Citing travel as one of the major concerns, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to make necessary arrangement and ensure that such students return to India in time to appear for the exam.

Regarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine, the apex court said there can be no relaxation as it involves public safety, but gave the petitioner liberty to approach the concerned state authorities to seek relaxation.

The top court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to speak to ministries concerned to ensure aspirants, for the NEET scheduled on September 13, residing in the Middle East are permitted to come to India in Vande Bharat Mission flights.

The bench said the exam will be offline and the students who fly in will have to maintain the 14 days quarantine in view of public health.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said this while hearing a petition filed by one Abdul Azeez, a social worker situated in Middle East who was pursuing the interest of NEET students. The petitioner claimed that close to 4,000 students in the Gulf region are taking NEET but were unable to travel to India due to ban on international flights.

Azeez wanted the undergraduate MBBS entrance examination to be either made online or in the alternate, demanded examination centre in Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Recently, the Medical Council of India has told the apex court that postponement of the NEET-UG 2020 examination of this year any further shall be a “drastic deviation” from the academic schedule which may affect the subsequent academic years of the students.