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Supreme Court dismisses plea to postpone DNB/DrNB final exams

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date
Supreme Court dismisses plea to postpone DNB/DrNB final exams

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition filed by 4 doctors seeking the postponement of the DNB/DrNB Final Theory Exams, December 2021 that are scheduled to be conducted as per the terms of the notice dated October 23, 2021 from December 16 to December 19.

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A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and Vikram Nath observed that the postponement of the exam is entirely the function of an expert body, which is entrusted with the function of holding the exam, and there were no extraordinary circumstances for the Court to intervene in the matter.

The petitioners had also sought a direction to put on hold the examination schedule till post the MBBS and diploma candidates selected in Neet PG 2021 join their affiliated colleges.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that they were seeking for some “breathing space” for the exam, having regard to the fact that they had worked throughout the COVID period.

“These are doctors who have served right through Covid. We are not asking for postponement of practicals. But to get to the practicals we have to go through a mountain of theory. What we need is a little breathing space. I am not speaking in terms of rights or wrongs”, Hegde submitted.

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“How can we postpone exams? There would be thousands of other students who would have prepared”, Justice Chandrachud observed.

The bench dismissed the petition with the following order :

“The 4 petitioners who are doctors have sought a rescheduling of the DNB/DrNB final theory examination which is scheduled for December 2021. The petitioners have also sought a direction to put on hold the examination schedule till post the MBBS and diploma candidates selected in Neet PG 2021 join their affiliated colleges. Postponement of their examination is entirely the function of an expert body which is entrusted with the duty of holding the examination. There are no extraordinary reasons for this court to breach the norm by entertaining this petition under article 32 of the Constitution. Dismissed”.

Details of the petition

PG Diploma Doctors undergoing DNB training programme have argued that NBE itself had to extend the timeline for course completion and final theory examination for the December 2020 and June 2021 batches by three months but the same was without sufficient spacing, leading to close cropping and poor passing rates in these exams.
“The online teaching programmes and academic training programme conducted virtually or offline during testing times were severely compromised as Petitioners and other DNB doctors (post MBBS as well as post diploma DNB doctors) had to serve for longer hours, in order to discharge covid duty in addition to the specialty specific duty,” petition states in this regards.

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The petitions have thus urged for rescheduling the examination scheduled for December 2021 and extending by three month to allow the NBE to complete admission of DNB doctors through NEET PG 2021 and PDCET 2021.

The same has been sought to allow work distribution and enable the petitioners and other DNB candidates to work as well as prepare for appearing in the DNB Final Theory Exam since NBE does not acknowledge or grant any preparatory leave for DNB doctors to prepare for the exam despite having 6 to 9 months of training tenure still left.

It has been argued that soon after the taking admissions, the petitioners and other doctors served the nation and frontline workers and the NBE conducted webinars as a part of teaching program to enhance knowledge but it failed to appreciate that even during the conduct of webinars most of the doctors served their patients.

“As a result the petitioners and several other DNB doctors were deprived of acquiring skills and finding time for thesis and theory examination preparation. The extension in the schedule of examination as happened in December 2020 and June 2021 batches could afford an opportunity to the petitioners and other doctors to acquire objective measures and train themselves properly for the examination. If such rescheduling is considered by the Top Court no prejudice would be caused to the new batch getting admission based on NEET PG 2021 and PDCET 2021 rank,” the petition states.

Emphasising on the notice dated October 25, 2021 issued by DGHS, New Delhi as per which counselling for NEET PG 2021 has been put on hold due to the pending petition (Neil Aurelio Nunes v. Union of India) before the Top Court, the petitioners have contended that,

“Because of putting the counseling on hold the hospitals and institutes where the Petitioners and other DNB doctors work have not received junior batch of doctors, resultantly forcing the Petitioners and outgoing batch of doctors to discharge their duties too amidst discharging covid and specialty specific duties.”

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The petition has been drawn by Advocate Govind Jee and filed through Advocate on Record Omanakuttan KK.

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