27 Sep 2021: Cannot introduce changes last minute: SC to Centre on NEET-SS
The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Centre for announcing last-minute changes to the pattern of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Post-Graduate Super Specialty exam 2021 (NEET SS 2021). The SC asked the Centre to hold meetings with the concerned authorities and submit a response on October 4. The court was hearing a petition filed by 41 post-graduate doctors challenging the changes.
Details: 'Don't treat doctors as footballs in game of power'
When the SC questioned the Centre's hurried approach to making changes in the exam pattern, the National Board of Examinations' counsel submitted that necessary approvals had been taken. He, however, sought time to file a reply. Dissatisfied with his response, the court said, "Don't treat these young doctors as footballs in the game of power...We can't put these doctors at the mercy of...insensitive bureaucrats."
SC: 'You set your house in order,' SC to Centre
Asking why the changes couldn't be implemented later, the SC asked the NBE and the National Medical Commission to consult with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and "set the house in order." "Just because somebody has the power, you can't yield the power in any manner," the SC said. "This is so important for their career...Now you cannot introduce changes last minute."
SC: 'Will issue strictures if you don't come up with solution'
Highlighting the importance of the exam pattern, the SC said students prepare for super-specialty courses "months and months" in advance. "The pattern of study is according to the pattern of exams. If you change it suddenly, then what will happen?" It also warned of issuing "strictures" if authorities fail to come up with a solution. "Please deal with young doctors with sensitivity," it added.
Fact: What is the issue?
According to the prevailing pattern of NEET-SS, 40% of the questions come from general medicine and 60% from super-specialty. This format has been in existence from 2018 to 2020. However, the newly proposed changes say that all questions are to be from general medicine.
Petition: What did the petition say?
The main contention is that the changes were announced after over a month of announcing the dates for the exam. The dates of NEET-SS 2021 were announced on July 23, whereas the changes in the pattern were announced on August 31 "when only two months remained before the NEET-SS 2021 exams". The petition sought that the announcement on August 31 should be made "illegal."
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