GATE 2022: SC agrees to hear pleas for exam postponement due to COVID-19 – TBE

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear the plea for a postponement of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering Exam, 2022 (GATE 2022) in view of the third wave of the COVID-19.

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Judges AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli will list the case after attorney Pallav Mongia, who appeared before the petitioners, called the case for urgent consideration.

Two petitions have been filed in the matter – one by the students/candidates appearing for the GATE 2022 exam – and another is a PIL on behalf of Umesh Dhande, who runs an educational institute that guides students for GATE and other exams.

“The country is currently suffering from a ‘third wave’ of rising COVID cases with a number of daily cases reaching a record 3 lakh and more. In this terrifying situation that has engulfed the entire country, the petitioners are being forced to close the GATE write 2022 physically, which poses a huge health risk to the lives of many aspirants like the petitioners,” the pleas said.

The GATE 2022 is scheduled for February 5, 6, 12 and 13.

The petitioners also objected to the instructions of 15 January 2022, issued by the Center, in which instructions were communicated to the candidates who appeared for the exam. The pleas for the notice/instructions to the candidates were attached to the admission cards.

Although the petitioners claimed that more than 9 lakh students appear for the exam in 200 exam centers, they said no guidelines have been issued or procedures have been established to assess the health status of the students appearing for the exam.

“Also, the instructions provided are unclear, creating confusion among students as it creates an unnecessary classification between students who are allowed to appear for the exam and those who would be disfellowshipped without a medical or legal basis. The instructions allow asymptomatic students who show symptoms before the exam but not those students who have tested positive but are asymptomatic. There is no intelligible difference in such classification by the respondents as per the instructions and therefore it is contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the Supplications said.

It is pertinent to point out that the instructions encourage students who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19 not to be tested for COVID-19 as a positive test will prevent them from appearing for the exam, the plea added to.

It further stated that the instructions actually allow students who show symptoms to appear for the exam but have not tested positive for Covid. The pleas read: “This classification is absurd and contradictory, and defeats the government’s determination to test as many people as possible for proper detection and treatment.”

The petitioners also said that many states have already postponed some of their exams scheduled for January and February 2022 in light of the third wave hitting the country.

Sajal Jain
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