NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of 38 rural students aspiring for medical seats, who submitted their applications for NEET exams, a week prior to the last date but could not remit the examination fees online due to non-receipt of a One Time Password. The CBSE is directed to accept the fees from the petitioners with respect to their application forms as registered online through RTGS (Real-time gross settlement systems) on or before May 2, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana said.
“On receipt of the fees, the CBSE is directed to generate the hall ticket and issue the same to them to enable them to sit for the NEET exams,” the judge said. The judge lauded the initiative taken by the CBSE in conducting the examination throughout the country online but said the issue of better connectivity has to be addressed or provisions made for an alternative method for situations like the present case.
A group of students had gone to the same internet centre to make their application form online. Though they were successful till the stage of applying and getting it registered, they were unsuccessful in completing the procedure by paying the required fees, the judge said. “These candidates are from different pockets of the districts in Tamil Nadu. The low internet speed and power outage are the perennial problems faced even in the metropolitan cities. Therefore, no malafides can be imputed to these candidates who could not remit the fees online in the absence of any alternate mode,” the judge said while disposing of a petition from M.Mugunthan and 37 others.
According to petitioners, students in the rural parts of Tamil Nadu had to wait till the last date expecting the policy announcement from the state government for exemption from appearance in the test as was done last year. Since, no such announcement came, most of them were forced to apply online almost on the last date with a result that due to connectivity issues, they were unable to make the payment of the fees.
Their failure to make the payment of fee within the stipulated date viz March 1 was neither willful nor wanton. The situation occurred only because of the fact that people living in the rural areas do not have access to computer and were not proficient in handling of computer, they said.
They had to depend on third parties and in view of the problems arising due to power connectivity and non-receipt of OTP resulted in non-payment of the fee, they added. The judge said in an identical situation in a batch of cases, the court by an order dated April 20 disposed of the same by issuing a positive direction to the CBSE to consider their request to receive the payment for NEET-UG-2017 examination fees in any other manner suitable to it and the order was upheld by a division bench.
Therefore, the CBSE can consider the plea of these aspiring students also in at least accepting their fee remittance to complete the application form which would enable them to sit for the examination, the judge said.