New Delhi, 03 February 2022: The Supreme Court has dismissed the two writ petitions seeking postponement of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering Exam (GATE)due to the COVID pandemic situation. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana, Justice A S Bopanna, and Justice Hima Kohli took note of the submissions of lawyer Pallav Mongia seeking listing of the issue and declined the pleas. Thus, the GATE 200 exam will be conducted as per schedule, starting from 5 February 2022.
Note: One writ petition has been filed by the students seeking postponement of the exam, the other is a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking the same relief.
[ GATE EXAM 2022]
Supreme Court allows urgent listing of petition filed against conduct of #GATE examination scheduled on 5th February
Adv Pallav Mongia mentions before Bench led by CJI: 9 lakh students are appearing, please list the matter
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) February 2, 2022
GATE 2022: SC’s Response
- Any decision about GATE 2022 exam postponement can be taken by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur only.
- During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud stated that as the pleas came before the court only 48 hours prior to the scheduled exam, it is not in a position to interfere in the matter.
- Any judicial order regarding postponement of GATE would lead to “chaos and uncertainty”.
- To avoid this, the SC dismissed the pleas for postponement of the GATE 2022 exam.
- The bench also observed that students should have been prepared and it can’t play with students’ careers.
- Before dismissing the pleas, the court noted that if IIT Kharagpur wants to postpone the exam, it can take a call. However, the top court won’t issue any order to hold the exam.
GATE 2022: Plea Details
- The petitioners have challenged the instructions of 15 January 2022, issued by the Centre in which instructions to the candidates appearing for the exam were notified. The pleas stated that the instructions to the candidates were mentioned in the admit cards.
- The petitioners also argued that the country is currently suffering from a third wave of rising COVID cases. However, IIT Kharagpur has not taken into consideration the possibility of conducting GATE 2022 in physical mode turning into a potential super-spreader event.
- Moreover, the petitioners have pointed out that the instruction allows asymptomatic students, who have the virus but do not show any symptoms, to appear for the exam and that center officials have no way to identify such students. Therefore, in such a situation, it is extremely risky for students to appear for the exam in physical mode when no proper medical guidelines or procedures are in place at the exam center.
GATE 2022: Petition Details
- The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) states that the instructions give an upper hand to candidates who might be showing symptoms of COVID to not get tested for COVID (as a positive test will bar them from appearing for the exam as per the instructions).
- On the contrary, the instructions allow candidates who are showing symptoms but have not tested positive for COVID to appear for the exam.
- The PIL also stated that such a classification defeats the efforts of the government to test maximum people for proper tracing and treatment in order to win the fight against the virus.
GATE 2022: Guidelines In View of COVID-19
- Students without proper facemasks will not be allowed inside the exam centre.
- Masks should be in the proper position throughout the candidate’s presence in the GATE 2022 examination hall.
- Before an entry inside the exam centre, the authorities at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IITKGP) Graduation Aptitude Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) exam centre will assess the health of aspirants.
- Aspirants should adhere to COVID-related protocols in compliance with the orders and directives of the Government of India.
- Any candidate who is COVID-19 positive, having any contagious or infectious disease, will be denied entry inside the exam hall.
- Students with fever higher than 99.4 degree, cough or runny nose will be taken into an isolation area of the exam.
- On the exam day, students should not have any COVID symptom, not in quarantine or or should not be in close contact with any COVID patient during the last fortnight.