Let us go to the Supreme Court: Chief Ministers

Akaskd alskd asldk Wed, 23 Sep 2020

Let us go to the Supreme Court: Chief Ministers

Let us go to the Supreme Court: Chief Ministers

New Delhi: Lakhs of Students and parents from across the country are rightfully agitating and demanding to postpone the JEE-NEET exams, scheduled to be held in the middle of the ever burgeoning Covid-19 crisis. However, an ever insensitive and mindless Central Government is moving ahead with the decision to hold these exams despite the obvious risk it holds. The decision to hold these exams during the Covid-19 crisis has created huge concern among the students and parents, owing to the fear of Covid-19 infection if forced to sit physically for an offline examination at designated centres. Apart from the very obvious vulnerability to and risk of infection, the decision to hold the exams will undoubtedly make it increasingly difficult for students to appear for the exams, due to the availability of limited transport and lodging during the pandemic.

While holding exams during Covid-19 crisis has put the students in a state of extreme mental stress, the grim flood situation in states like Assam and Bihar will further put students from those states, at a severe disadvantage.

Congress President today held a virtual meeting with opposition Chief Ministers to discuss this concern. The Chief Ministers reiterated that this move of the Central Government has to be opposed collectively. They also decided to move Supreme Court against the decision of the Central Government.

The Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry decided on the move; noting that even though the Supreme Court had rejected such a request once, it was worth petitioning the court to reconsider in the interest of students.

The Bengal Chief Minister said state governments were being “bulldozed” by the centre in the name of cooperative federalism. “Let us go to the Supreme Court. Let us talk about this matter. This is a mental agony for students. I have not seen so many atrocities in a democracy. The situation is very serious. We have to speak up for the children,” Ms.Mamata Banerjee said.

Ms. Banerjee said that she had written to Prime Minister NarendraModi several times to intervene in the matter and urge the Supreme Court to review its decision in the interest of the student community.

The Chief Ministers discussed that since the exams start in a week, the next move would have to be fast.

The JEE is scheduled from September 1 to 6 and the NEET exam is to be held on September 13. The Supreme Court had last week rejected a petition by 11 students from 11 states asking for the exams to be deferred.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Shri Hemant Soren made an impassioned case for not having the exams now. He said both his parents were coronavirus positive.

“Exams must happen, but we are hurrying up. In my state we have very few centres. To accommodate these students, we will have to open all hotels and buses. Chances of contracting Covid-19 will be higher. The Centre must help by taking more time. Otherwise, the Centre will blame states all over again if something goes wrong. We will have to jointly raise these issues,” Shri Soren said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackeray said: “We have to decide whether we want to fear or fight the government. The people who elected the BJP at the centre also elected all of us. But if we do something, it is paap (sin) and if they do anything, then it is Punya (Virtue)?” He pointed out that while his state was gradually emerging from the lockdown, schools remained shut.

Chief Ministers said that they need to “together fight Centre for undermining states’ rights”. Four Congress Chief Ministers, Capt. Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Shri Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh), Shri Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Shri V Narayanasamy (Puducherry), also attended the meeting.

Capt. Amarinder Singh said that he had written to the PM three times to delay exams. “I endorse Mamata Banerjee’s view that we should collectively approach the Supreme Court again,” said Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.

Mr. Soren suggested that before going to the Supreme Court, the Chief Ministers should meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To which, Mamata Banerjee said: “We can meet the PM but if he does not listen then we must move the Supreme Court.”

Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi called the meeting along with Mamata Banerjee, in an attempt to evolve a united opposition response on the exams and on compensation to states who have reported a loss of revenue, because of the pandemic ahead of a meeting of the GST council on 27th August, 2020.