HC refuses to stay medical, dental examinations in Maharashtra

The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday refused to stay final-year examinations for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses, starting from August 17 and August 25, respectively.

“We don’t think it is proper to stay the examinations,” said the bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Surendra Tavade. “There could be students, other than the petitioners, who are willing to appear for the physical examination and might have prepared for the same. It would not be proper to stay the examinations behind their back.”

The bench was hearing a petition filed by 24 students of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) courses from different districts of the state, challenging the decision of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to hold final-year examinations, requiring physical presence of students for both, practical and theory papers.

Their counsel, advocate Kuldeep Nikam, submitted that due to the unprecedented and alarming situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic in Maharashtra, it would be difficult for the students to physically appear for the examinations.

He added that the petitioners and other students were not averse to appear for online examinations, as has been suggested by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Nikam also pointed out that on Thursday, two medical students tested positive for Covid-19.

“You are doctors. If you are not prepared to appear physically for these examinations, how will you treat patients in hospitals?” the judges asked.

It also clarified that if any of the petitioners do not appear for the examinations starting August 17 and August 25, and later the court finds that they were justified in refusing to appear for the physical examinations, it will order MUHS to hold separate examinations for them.

MUHS counsel, advocate Rajshekhar Govilkar, however, pointed out that all deemed universities in Maharashtra have already held their final-year examinations, and if postgraduate students do not appear for these examinations, they will not be able to apply for admission to super-speciality courses.

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