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SC rejects plea for NEET centres overseas, asks Centre to allow students to come via Vande Bharat flights

The Supreme Court of India, today, declined to pass a direction to Centre to hold National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2020 at examination centres in Gulf countries. However, the top court has asked the government to allow students who wish to sit for the exam to come via "Vande Bharat Mission" flights.

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SC rejects plea for NEET centres overseas, asks Centre to allow students to come via Vande Bharat flights
Supreme Court of India
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The Supreme Court of India, today, declined to pass a direction to Centre to hold National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2020 at examination centres in Gulf countries. However, the top court has asked the government to allow students who wish to sit for the exam to come via "Vande Bharat Mission" flights.

The order was passed by the Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupt and S Ravindra Bhat.

The court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to speak to ministries concerned to ensure aspirants from the Middle East are permitted to return to India in Vande Bharat Mission flights.

The apex court was hearing a plea by students that sought setting up of overseas centres for the NEET exam, mainly middle east, so that the aspirants won't have to come to India amid COVID-19. The petitioners had argued that Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) also has centres abroad, the same should be applicable for NEET aspirants as well.

The students would have to follow the 14-day quarantine procedure and the exam would be conducted offline only, the top court said. However, it also suggested to the Medical Council of India (NEET conducting body) that from 2021, the exam can be held in an online form.

"If the Joint Entrance Exam can be held online then you should consider NEET also to be held in an online form from next year," the court said.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had junked the petition seeking deferment of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and gave a green signal for the conduct of examinations scheduled to be held in September 2020.

The NTA has scheduled the exams to be conducted in September. A notice was issued by the body on July 3, announcing that the NEET UG examinations will be conducted on September 13 and the JEE Main will commence on September 1 and conclude on 6, 2020.

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