Updated February 21st, 2024 at 11:29 IST

NEET MDS postponement plea: Supreme Court asks union government to decide

The SC bench refrained from providing an immediate stance on the NEET MDS postponement, instructing the Union Govt to handle the representation within a week.

Reported by: Nandini Verma
SC asks govt to decide on NEET MDS postponement request | Image:ANI/File
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The Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, weighed arguments on Tuesday regarding the plea for the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Masters of Dental Surgery (NEET MDS) 2024. The original schedule had slated the examination for March 18th. Representing the petitioners, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves challenged the stipulated internship cut-off date of March 31st.

The bench, led by CJI Chandrachud comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, commenced the hearing at 10:30 AM. Sr Adv Gonsalves urged an expeditious resolution. 

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However, the bench refrained from providing an immediate stance on the postponement, instructing the Union Government to handle the representation within a week. Emphasizing that the government was actively engaged in addressing the matter, the bench highlighted the ongoing data collection process by the National Dental Commission.

In light of the policy decision involved in setting the cut-off date, the bench hinted that further representations from the petitioners might be more appropriate than direct judicial intervention. Justice Chandrachud underscored the necessity of granting the government adequate time to address the complexities of repeatedly adjusting cut-off dates, noting the government's demonstrated seriousness in tackling the issue. 

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The bench while pronouncing the order said, "Let's wait for some time since the govt is looking into the matter. It is very difficult for us to keep extending cut-offs. We will dispose of the matter. The govt is more suited to take a call on the issue, points to their seeking data from National Dental Commission as indicator of their seriousness to address the issue. ...Cut-off for completion of internship has been fixed for March 31, whereas cut-off for NEET-PG has been fixed for August 15. Gaurav Sharma informs the court that the union govt is already seized of the matter, seeking data from the National Dental Commission...Since issue of fixing cut-off date essentially pertains to policy domain, it would be more appropriate to submit a representation. Sr Adv Colin Gonsalves submits that such a representation has already been made. We direct that representation be dealt with expeditiously and preferably within a period of one week from the date of this matter. We clarify that we have not expressed any opinion and it will be open to the union govt to take a call."

Despite Sr Adv Gonsalves' objections, Justice Chandrachud maintained the importance of allowing the government sufficient time. Meanwhile, the counsel representing the medical council informed the bench about efforts to reinstate the original examination timeline, acknowledging delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Protesting against the current cut-off date, Sr Adv Gonsalves pointed out potential implications for seven states. As the hearing concluded without a definitive verdict, the petitioners now await the next steps in the legal process.

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Published February 21st, 2024 at 11:29 IST