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Case title

Dr Prateek Rastogi & Ors v National Board of Examination and Ors

Key Takeaways

  • This case was heard by Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna.
  • The learned counsel of the petitioner was Senior Advocate Shyam Divan.
  • Only the Central Government through Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has the power to make changes in the paper pattern and the scheme of the NEET-SS exam.

Background of the case

  • A petition was filed by 41 qualified post graduate doctors from all over the country who wanted to become super specialists by giving NEET-SS 2021.
  • This petition was filed to strike down the changes made in the exam pattern of NEET-SS 2021.
  • The learned counsel on behalf of the petitioners submitted that the notification for the date of examination was issued in July 23, 2021 and the exam was to be held on November 13/14, 2021. The notification of the changes made in the exam pattern was issued on August 31, 2021.
  • The counsel also stated that as per the previous pattern, 60% marks were drawn from the questions regarding super specialty and 40% marks were drawn from the feeder course but as per the new proposed paper pattern the entire questions shall be drawn from the general medicines. The counsel argued that the concerned authority should not have brought the changes after the notification stating the exam date was issued. The students had already started the preparation according to the previous paper pattern.

What is mentioned in the petition

  • The doctors in the petition mentioned that although the notification stating the date of examination was issued in July but the notification of change of the exam pattern was made in August, when only two months were left for the exam.
  • The petitioners also stated that they had been preparing for the exam in terms of the paper pattern followed since 2018 and even when the changes proposed to be made in 2018 and 2019, it was made public 6 months prior to the exam so the students did not have a good amount of time to prepare according to the paper pattern.
  • It was also stated that there was absolutely no reference about the change in the paper pattern given in the notice issued in July.
  • It was further stated that the National Board Examination and the National Medical Commission did not have the authority to make the changes in the exam pattern or even to approve those changes. In the NationalMedicalCommissionAct, 2019 there is no such provision which empowers the National Medical Commission to make the changes in the exam pattern.
  • It was only the CentralGovernment through Ministry of Health and FamilyWelfare that could make the changes in the paper pattern and the scheme of NEET-SS exams.
  • The doctors who filed the petition also contended that the previous paper pattern was designed particularly to test the student in the subject in which he wished to be a specialist but according to the new paper pattern the students would end up choosing the subject for super specialty even if they do not like them.
  • In the petition it was prayed by the doctors for the restoration of the previous exam pattern which was followed in 2018 and 2019 NEET-SS exam. They also prayed for non- implementation of the changes in the exam pattern.
  • The petition will next be heard on 27th September 2021.

Hope you like the snippet.

Questions
1) What are your views on the changes made in the exam pattern?
2) Can the National Board of Examination and the National Medical Commission make the changes?

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