PG NEET-SS 2021 to be held as per old pattern, new pattern from 2022: Centre to SC

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], October 6 (ANI): The Central government and National Board of Examination on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that post-graduate National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Super Specialty (NEET-SS) 2021 will be conducted as per the old pattern and the new pattern will come into effect from the next year.

After facing criticism from the apex court on the last-minute change in exam pattern, the Centre said that the PG NEET-SS 2021 will be held as per the existing pattern.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the government, told a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud that in deference of the Court's observations and interest of students, the Centre has decided that the revised scheme will be implemented from 2022.

The present exam will be held based on the 2020 scheme, she added.

"ASG Bhati for Union of India states that decision has been taken by Union of India in consultation with National Medical Commission and National Board of Examination that modified pattern will be in effect from the academic year 2022-23. Since the grievance stands addressed, petitions under Article 32 are disposed of," the Bench stated in its order.

Yesterday, the Bench observed that "heavens will not fall" if the authorities decide to implement the new pattern of PG NEET-SS 2021 from next year and asked to consider forcing the changes from next year only.

It has slammed the Central government and the National Board of Examinations observing that the sudden changes NEET-SS 2021 pattern were seemingly done to ensure that the seats in the private medical colleges were not lying vacant.

The apex court has also remarked that it is getting the impression that medical education and medical regulation have become a business.

The court was hearing a plea of PG doctors who had approached the apex court alleging the last-minute change in exam pattern for NEET-SS 2021.

The Central government had earlier filed an affidavit before the top court and stated that it has decided to postpone the PG NEET-SS 2021 for two months and now be held on January 10-11, 2022 so as to provide ample time to all the candidates for the preparation for the entrance examination under changed patter.

In an affidavit, it said the exam pattern of the NEET-SS was changed to bring more flexibility for the students and to ensure that they are tested on the basis of the courses which they already know.

The revised pattern will also ensure that the Super Specialty seats will not go vacant, it had said.

The notification for the examination was issued on July 23 2021, however, on August 31 another notification was issued changing the pattern of the exam when only two months remained before NEET-SS 2021 exams scheduled to be held on November 13 and 14.

Earlier, the Bench had pulled up the Central government, National Board of Examination (NBE), and National Medical Commission (NMC) for making a last-minute change in the exam pattern of PG NEET-SS 2021.

Young doctors cannot be at the mercy of the "insensitive bureaucrats" and "cannot be treated like a football", the Bench had said.

While taking into consideration that the exam syllabus was changed after notification of the exam, the Bench had pulled up the agencies and questioned in the last minute syllabus change and asked why cannot it be made from next year.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh for NBE had said that it's a well-considered decision that was going on for sometime, final approval was awaited and as soon we got the approval it was notified.

The petition filed by 41 qualified post-graduate doctors from across the country who aspire to become super-specialists by cracking NEET-SS 2021, sought direction for striking down the changes in the exam pattern.

The plea challenged the move of the government on the ground of lack of authority as well as being manifestly arbitrary.

It had alleged that the exam pattern for the NEET-SS course has been altered only to favour those who have done post-graduation in general medicine at the cost of other disciplines.

The plea said as per the prevailing pattern which has been in existence from 2018 to 2020, 60 per cent marks were allotted from questions in the super-specialty while 40 per cent distributed for questions from feeder courses.

However, as per the new pattern, the entirety of questions for the critical care super-speciality will be drawn from general medicines, it added.

This leaves students from other disciplines at a great disadvantage and the authority should not have brought these changes after the exam notification was issued, and after the students had begun their preparations, doctors have contended.

"They have all along been preparing in terms of the pattern that has been in place for the last three years, especially because on earlier occasions -- 2018 and 2019 when changes in the pattern/scheme were proposed to be made, the changed pattern/scheme was made public almost six months prior to the NEET-SS exams to ensure availability of ample time to the students for making preparations," the plea further stated. (ANI)

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