SC Allows To Conduct NEET-PG Exam Next Week, Says Delay Has Serious Consequences In Patient Care

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Highlights:

  • SC noted that postponement would lead to “chaos and uncertainty” for more than 2 lakh doctors who have registered for the examination
  • The apex court was hearing a petition lodged by a group of doctors who requested the court to postpone the May 21 NEET-PG 2022 examination
  • ASG Bhati urged the court to put medical admission back on track after it was derailed owing to the pandemic

On Friday, the Supreme court permitted the national eligibility entrance examination (NEET) for postgraduate medical admission for 2022 to be conducted next week as it noted that any delay to hold the examination has serious consequences on patient care and treatment and would lead to “chaos and uncertainty” for more than 2 lakh doctors who have registered for the examination.

The apex court was hearing a petition lodged by a group of doctors who requested the court to postpone the May 21 NEET-PG 2022 examination by two months as they had failed to register by the last date of March 25 due to the delayed counselling schedule for the NEET-PG 2021 admissions, with the state counselling concluding on May 12.

Their representation on this issue was turned down by the ministry of health and family welfare on May 10 after detailed consideration. A bench of Justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant voiced “How can we do this” after it was informed by additional solicitor general (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati appearing for the Centre that almost 206,571 doctors have applied for the examination and preparations for conducting NEET-PG 2023 in January next year had commenced.

The bench voiced, “While the prayer of petitioners seeking postponement may seem innocuous, this will seriously impact patient care and availability of doctors and have a cascading effect on patient care as well as the career of doctors….Over 2 lakh doctors have registered. Their schedule will be seriously affected and any postponement will create chaos and uncertainty.”

ASG Bhati noted to the court, “Delaying this exam is bound to have a serious adverse impact on patient care and treatment and will also have a cascading effect on other ancillary issues including the course of super-speciality. Consider who is not before the court. There are a large number of students on the other side. It has a cascading effect on patients who also cannot approach this court.”

The bench accepted the submission and remarked, “What must be borne in mind is that on the other side are a large body of students and needs of patient care which cannot be ignored. Postponement of any examination is replete with serious consequences. Patient care needs to be paramount.” ASG Bhati urged the court to put medical admission back on track after it was derailed owing to the pandemic.

However, the petitioner doctors, senior advocates Rakesh Khanna, Anand Grover and P Wilson held a spirited argument mentioning that the number of affected doctors would be approximately around 50,000 and that the country should not be deprived of meritorious doctors. The bench replied, “Nothing prevented you from registering for the examination. The only thing that came in your way was the thought that you will succeed in getting admission in the 2021 exam.”

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