COVID-19: SC declines to postpone, cancel PG final year medical exams

Top court observed that NMC has already issued an advisory in April, where it had asked universities to examine Covid situation before announcing dates for final year examination

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to pass an order directing medical universities to either cancel or postpone the final year postgraduate exams, as the examinee-doctors have been engaged in COVID-19 duty.

The top court observed that National Medical Council (NMC) has already issued an advisory in April, where it had asked universities to examine COVID-19 situation before announcing dates for final year examination.

Bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah said it cannot pass any general order to all the universities to not conduct or postpone the final year exam.

MS Education Academy

At the beginning of the hearing, the bench clarified that it is not allowing the doctors to be promoted without taking the postgraduate exam.

The bench noted, “We have interfered where it was possible like postponing by one month the INI CET examination conducted by AIIMS, New Delhi.”

The court declined to entertain arguments advanced by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, representing 29 doctors, who filed petition seeking direction for NMC to issue directions to all the universities to give reasonable time to students to prepare for the examination.

The bench emphasised that the court interfered when it saw no justification in fixing schedule for the examination without giving appropriate time to students to prepare.

The bench added that it does not know what could be reasonable time to conduct the examination, and what roles do courts have to make a decision on it?

“Let the university decide on the basis of the advisory of NMC as per the pandemic situation,” the bench said.

Counsel representing NMC submitted that not all doctors were engaged in COVID-19 duty and the council had issued an advisory in April to all the universities after taking into account COVID-19 situation in their respective areas.

Hegde contended since the doctors were engaged in COVID-19 duty, they could not prepare for the examination.

The bench noted that the pandemic situation cannot be the same everywhere in the country and it cannot pass any general order without hearing the universities.

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