Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the JEE-Main examination, but said any student residing in flood-hit parts of Maharashtra's Vidarbha region who cannot reach the exam centre or reaches late can apply to the National Testing Agency to seek a re-examination.
A division bench of Justices Ravi Deshpande and Pushpa Ganediwala said the National Testing Agency (NTA) shall consider such applications and decide accordingly, after checking the veracity of the same, within 15 days.
The engineering Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main began at 9 am across the country on Tuesday.
"The situation is grim in several districts due to floods. Students should not suffer for no fault on their part," the bench said.
The court said any aggrieved student can file an application to the NTA via their centre coordinator.
"The National Testing Agency shall then decide on the application after consulting with the district collector concerned within a period of 15 days," the court ordered.
Assistant Solicitor General Ulhas Aurangabadkar, appearing for the NTA, told the high court that the agency shall consider any application submitted by a student who was not able to appear for the exam due to the flood situation or problem of transport.
Earlier, the high court on Monday took cognisance of a letter written to it by Nitesh Bawankar, a resident of Maharashtra's Bhandara district, raising concern over how students will reach the exam centres to appear for the JEE amid the flood situation.
Bawankar sought postponement of the exam for students residing in the flood-hit parts of Nagpur, Amravati, Akola, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia and Gadchiroli districts.
Due to floods, students from these areas will find it difficult to appear for the JEE-Main examination, he said.
On Tuesday, Gadchiroli collector told HC that due to heavy rains and flood, inter-district transport is affected and the situation may remain unchanged for a few more days.
In such a condition, the NTA would be the appropriate authority to decide the issue of postponing the exam for students affected by flood, the collector said.
Nagpur collector told the court that 1,284 students were to attend the exam in six centres of the district and that there is no flood-like situation there.
Akola collector also told the court that as there is no flood-like situation in the district, there would be no hurdle in conducting the exam there.
A similar submission was made by Amravati collector.
Chandrapur collector told the court that 21 villages were affected by flood in the district and rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) enquired at local levels if there were any students who needed to appear for the JEE-Main exam, but no response was received.
He also said there are four examination centres at the Chandrapur district headquarters which is not affected by flood and hence, is accessible by road.
Collectors of Bhandara and Gondia told the court that while their districts are worst hit due to heavy rains and release of water from the Sanjay Sarovar dam in Madhya Pradesh, there are no centres for JEE-Main examination in both thes districts.
They submitted that candidates appearing for the examination shall have road accessibility to Nagpur and will not face any problem in appearing for the exam.
The court on Monday directed the Centre, Maharashtra government, NTA and collectors of these districts to consider postponing the JEE-Main exam for students who are residing in the flood-affected areas and are unable to reach the centres to appear for the exam.