NEW DELHI: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court by several doctors seeking postponement of the All India AYUSH Post Graduate Entrance Test (AIAPGET)-2020, scheduled on August 29, amid the spike in number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The petition has been filed by 17 Ayurvedic and Homeopathic doctors holding qualifications of Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) and Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) respectively.
The petitioners, who have said that they are working as "frontline doctors/corona warriors" in different hospitals across the country, have sought quashing of August 11 notice issued by National Testing Agency (NTA) for conducting the AIAPGET- 2020 on August 29.
"If they (petitioners) would leave to the place of their exam centre and then quarantined for 14-days as per the local rules, then there will be grave scarcity of the respective doctors at their COVID-19 posting hospitals, due to which the COVID-19 patients will suffer irreparable injuries," said the plea, filed through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava.
The plea further said that the August 11 notice is "violative of unlock-3 guidelines" issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has categorically directed that schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed till August 31.
"The COVID-19 crisis is worsening in India by each passing day and the number of daily added COVID-19 tally is increasing alarmingly," the plea said, alleging that the NTA is "adamant" to conduct AIAPGET-2020 on August 29 which "shows its indifferent and insensitive approach" towards these aspirants.
Referring to the rise in number of coronavirus cases, the plea said that authorities should conduct the examination after normalcy is restored in the country.
It has also sought a direction to the authorities to at least give one-month advance notice to the AIAPGET-2020 aspirants before conducting the test.
The plea alleged that previously, the NTA had postponed the AIAPGET-2020 due to the spurt in COVID-19 cases.
It claimed that last time when NTA had postponed this test on July 15, there were about 9.36 lakh coronavirus cases in the country.
"However, today, when the COVID-19 cases have increased manifold, have crossed the figure of 25 lakh cases in India and the situation has worsened in a critical manner, the decision of the Respondents to conduct AIAPGET-2020 on August 29, 2020, is utterly arbitrary and violative of the right to life of the petitioners and other similarly situated aspirants, as enshrined within Article 21 of Constitution of India," it said.
The plea alleged that authorities have "overlooked" that many states have refused to allow conducting of any professional or non-professional exams at this stage and it is likely to cause unimaginable harassment to the aspirants.
It claimed that authorities have ignored the plight of aspirants belonging to Bihar, Assam and other flood affected states where conducting online or offline examinations is not possible at this stage.