NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and National Medical Council (NMC) on a plea by post-graduate doctors alleging the last-minute change in exam pattern for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Super Specialty (Neet-SS) 2021.
A Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice BV Nagarathna sought the response from the Centre and NMC and posted the matter for hearing on Monday, September 27.
The petition filed by 41 qualified post-graduate doctors from across the country who aspire to become super-specialists by cracking Neet-SS 2021, sought direction for striking down the changes in the exam pattern.
The plea challenged the move of the government on the ground of lack of authority as well as being manifestly arbitrary.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that notification for the examination, scheduled to be held in November this year, was issued on July 23, however, on August 31, 2021, another notification was issued changing the pattern of the exam when only 2 months remained before Neet SS 2021 exams scheduled to be held on November 13 and 14.
Divan contended that the exam pattern for the Neet-SS course has been altered only to favour those who have done post-graduation in general medicine at the cost of other disciplines.
The plea said as per the prevailing pattern which has been in existence from 2018 to 2020, 60 per cent marks were allotted from questions in the super-speciality while 40 per cent distributed for questions from feeder courses.
However, as per the new pattern, the entirety of questions for the critical care super speciality will be drawn from general medicines, it added.
Divan argued that this leaves students from other disciplines at a great disadvantage and the authority should not have brought these changes after the exam notification was issued and after the students had begun their preparations.
It is a well-settled principle that the rules of the game cannot be changed after it has started, he added.
"They have all along been preparing in terms of the pattern that has been in place for the last three years, especially because on earlier occasions -- 2018 and 2019 when changes in the pattern/scheme were proposed to be made, the changed pattern/scheme was made public almost six months prior to the Neet-SS exams to ensure availability of ample time to the students for making preparations," the plea further stated.