The National Board of Examinations (NBE) on Friday told the Supreme Court that around 2.09 lakh candidates have registered for NEET-PG exam 2023, scheduled on March 5, and if the exam were to be postponed, then no alternative date may be available in the near future.
A bench comprising Justices S R Bhat and Dipankar Datta orally observed that postponing the exam would be a mental torture for those who are waiting for the exam, and added that it will not pass any order either way.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the NBE, to bring a solution on the issue raised by the petitioners in connection with National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)-PG exam.
The bench noted: "When we postpone a judicial exam, there is agony for the candidates who are preparing for it. The whole dynamics change."
The top court was hearing two petitions seeking postponement of the NEET-PG exam saying that counselling has to be conducted after August 11 since the cut-off date for internship has been extended to that date.
Sharing the information in connection with the exam, Bhati said around 2.09 lakh candidates have registered for the exam and all preparations have been made to conduct the test, which involved engaging a technology partner to conduct the test.
Opposing the postponement of the exam, she contended that no alternate test date may be available in the near future as the technology partner may not be available and authorities are trying to follow the schedule affirmed by the top court earlier.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners, told the bench that though 13 petitioners have come before the court, the issue raised by them affects nearly 45,000 candidates. He added that when one would go to the counselling, the person would need to carry the internship certificate and since the date has been extended to August 11, therefore the counselling should happen after this date.
Sankaranarayanan contended that internship is for 12 hours a day and for these students there is not much time to prepare for the examination.
The bench noted that students preparing for months would have to wait.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who also appeared for the petitioners, submitted that different states have different schedules for internship and the issue has arisen due to this.
After hearing arguments, the bench told Bhati: "We are not indicating that it will be postponed... we are not passing any order either way. We are keeping it open. You come with the figures".
The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on February 27.