SC refuses to cancel, postpone PG final year medical exams

The court also noted that the universities have not been made parties in the case.

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to pass a sweeping order to postpone the final exams of the postgraduate medical courses in universities across the country.

A Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah was hearing pleas by PG medical students who said preparing for the exams amidst COVID-19 duties was difficult. They sought more time to study for their exams.

But the court said it could not possibly be asked to pass a general order to postpone exams of which dates had not been announced as yet.

The Bench said the National Medical Commission would keep in mind the COVID-19 situation and doctors working round the clock during the pandemic. The court also noted that the universities have not been made parties in the case.

"How do we pass a general order when hundreds of universities are involved?" the court asked.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the students, said his clients would be made to choose between their COVID duties and taking time off to study for their exams.

He submitted this was something doctors should not be compelled to do during these dire times for public health. He said the court should intervene on behalf of the doctors to ensure that they would be given a "reasonable time" to prepare for the exams.

On June 11, the court had refused a plea by these students to waive the exams.

The Bench said the court had however intervened on behalf of the students wherever possible. On June 11, the court, in a separate case, had ordered the postponement of the AIIMS’ Post Graduate Entrance Test-INICET exams, scheduled for June 16, by a month after taking into consideration the fatigue within the medical community after battling a particularly devastating second wave of the pandemic.

In that case, a group of doctors had similarly moved the Supreme Court challenging an AIIMS notification which announced the exam in June in "utter disregard" of an assurance from the Prime Minister’s Office to postpone PG exams by four months.

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