The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has decided that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Super Speciality exam for 2021 can be deferred by a period of two months and be held on January 10-11, 2022.
Responding to a plea against the syllabus for the (NEET) PG Super Speciality exam 2021, the Centre said: "In terms of the revised scheme, the candidates are going to be tested/adjudged on the curriculum which they have already studied in their post-graduation course and have qualified for the final examination of their respective universities based on the same curriculum. Therefore, the modified scheme has not mandated the applicant candidates to study something different from which they have not studied already".
The matter is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday. The affidavit was filed by the National Board of Examinations.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the petitioners, had argued that notification for the examination, scheduled to be held on November 13-14 this year, was issued on July 23.
He added that, however, on August 31, another notification was issued changing the syllabus of the exam, which has put the candidates in a great disadvantage due to paucity of time for preparations.
The affidavit said: "The modifications of 100 per cent weightage to the questions pertaining only to the feeder course of broad speciality (MD/MS etc.) where they have already undergone those courses, yet in the circumstances it was decided that NEET-SS be deferred by a period of two months and be held on January 10-11, 2022 so as to provide ample time to all of them for their preparation for the entrance examination under the revised scheme."
The affidavit said that by the revised scheme, it has been ensured that candidates are given the option of full range of choices that are available as the eligible super-specialties in respect of the broad specialty that the candidate concerned has pursued for the past three years before taking his NEET-SS.
"Through the modified pattern now adopted, the candidate would be tested to the extent of 100 per cent on a domain which he or she has already studied," it added.
On September 27, the top court had pulled the National Medical Commission (NMC) and the National Board of Examinations (NBE) over last-minute changes to the syllabus for the (NEET) PG Super Speciality exam 2021. The top court emphasised that doctors cannot be left at the mercy of insensitive bureaucrats and warned of issuing strictures, if a solution is not found.
The bench had told the Centre's counsel: "Don't treat these young doctors as footballs in the game of power. Hold the meeting and put your house on order."
The Centre's affidavit was filed in response of a plea by Prateek Rastogi and 40 postgraduate qualified doctors, who challenged the abrupt last-minute changes, contending that they were made to favour general medicine candidates.