By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Amid rising chorus against holding JEET/NEET in the midst of a pandemic, the CMs of seven Opposition-ruled states met on Wednesday to discuss the prospects of filing a joint petition in the Supreme Court to postpone the exams. 

The development comes a day after the Centre decided to increase the number of examination centres for JEET and NEET to ensure social distancing. Both the exams are scheduled to be held in early September. 

During a virtual meeting called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee mooted the idea of filing a joint petition before the SC seeking a review after it rejected a plea on August 17 to postpone the exams.

OPINION: Reconsider holding JEE, NEET exams now

“Let us go to the Supreme Court and talk about this matter. This is a mental agony for students and with limited trains and flight operations, I don’t know how they will commute to sit for the exams. The situation is very serious with cases rising, we have to speak up for the children,” said Banerjee.

Other CMs supported Mamata’s suggestion. Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren said a delegation should also meet President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. Keeping in mind the urgency of the matter, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted after the meeting: “I have asked Advocate General, Punjab to coordinate with his counterparts in other States and to file a review petition in Supreme Court on NEET/JEE issue.

In the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is not safe for lakhs of students to appear for these examinations.” Addressing the Chief Ministers, Sonia said the Centre is indifferent to the difficulty students will have to endure if they have to write the exams amid Covid-19 induced restrictions. 

She also accused the government of handling the whole issue in a careless manner. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray cited a US report that said 97,000 children there were infected when schools reopened and expressed concern what will states do if such a situation arises here. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel and Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy agreed that they are ready to approach the apex court on the matter. 

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