Delhi High Court Refuses To Direct Authorities To Extend Internship Deadline For NEET PG Eligibility

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The Delhi High Court has refused to direct the authorities to extend the last date for completion of compulsory one-year internship to enable a candidate to participate in NEET-PG examination to be held on September 11, saying it cannot take up the task of administering the examination and fixing the schedule.

The High Court dismissed a petition seeking to direct the examination conducting authorities to extend the date of completion of internship from September 30 to October 31. The petition was filed by a doctor, who has completed his MBBS from a medical college in Bareilly and wishes to pursue a postgraduate degree.

However, his one-year rotational internship will complete only on October 25. Justice Prateek Jalan said the relief sought by the petitioner would lead to an uncertain and cumbersome situation as there will always be some candidates who miss the cut-off by a whisker. The High Court said if it was to accede to the petitioner’s contentions, the grievances of those whose internships will be completed soon after October 31, would then come to the fore.

The petition was opposed by advocate T Singhdev, representing National Medical Commission (NMC), saying that the writ court ought not to interfere with the cut-off date fixed by the examination conducting authorities, which has been fixed keeping all the relevant factors in mind. The counsel also submitted that, in the normal course, the petitioner would not have been eligible to appear in the NEET-PG examination in 2021, on account of the fact that he would not have completed the internship within the normal eligibility date of March 31.

The court said despite some sympathy for the predicament in which the petitioner finds himself, it was of the view that relief cannot be granted in this petition. It said the authorities have already extended the cut-off date for completion of the internship, keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent delay in holding the NEET-PG examination.

“The writ court cannot take upon itself the task of administering the examination and fixation of the schedule. As held in the decisions cited by the respondents, there is a degree of inherent randomness in the fixation of a cut-off date which may, in a given case, cause hardship to a candidate or a group of candidates.

That per se does not lead to the conclusion that the fixation itself is arbitrary,” it said. Justice Jalan said also referred to a judgement passed by the Madras High Court dealing with the same examination which is in issue here, that is, NEET-PG 2021 and added “I am in respectful agreement with the view taken by the Madras High Court, which is also consistent with the binding precedents of this court.

For these reasons, the writ petition, along with the pending application, is dismissed”. The court noted that the petitioner before the Madras High Court will complete his internship by October 4, 2021, by missing the deadline by five days as compared to 25 days for this petitioner.

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