NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused pass an order on setting up exam centres abroad for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for students residing overseas amid the covid-19 pandemic. It, however, asked the Centre to consider making travel arrangements for students via Vande Bharat mission flights.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed against the Kerala High Court order which had dismissed the plea for setting up overseas examination centres or postponing exams until the pandemic was brought under control.

An apex court bench headed by Justice Nageswara Rao also refused the plea to waive off quarantine condition for students returning from abroad, citing public interest. The bench though allowed students to approach state authorities for relaxation of the 14-day quarantine rule.

Advocate Haris Beeran, representing petitioners, submitted that some of the students have been allotted a Joint Entrance Exams centre abroad and these students are also appearing for NEET. Beeran apprised the bench that the JEE exam is scheduled to take place during 1-6 September and NEET is due on 13 September and as such it would be difficult for students to appear for both.

He added that about 60% of students plan to take both the exams.

“We don’t know how it is happening outside but in India, those who write NEET usually don’t write any other exams. The subject stream in 10+2 is different. Students usually start preparing from an early class for medical entrance,” the top court bench said.

It added that none of the students taking both the exams have approached the court.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking the postponement of NEET and the Joint Entrance Exam scheduled to be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the verdict, the Centre on Friday said the exams will not be postponed.

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