Supreme Court refuses to postpone GATE 2022, exams to be held as per schedule


Guwahati: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to postpone this year’s Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE 2022) exams amid the third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), pointing out that delaying the exams might lead to “chaos and uncertainty” among students.

GATE is an examination that primarily tests the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering and science for admission to the master’s programme and recruitment by some public sector companies.

With a green signal from the top court, the GATE 2022 exams will now be held physically as per schedule on February 5, 6, 12, and 13.

As many as 11 GATE candidates had appealed to the Supreme Court, urging it to issue directions to the central government and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur (the organisers of GATE 2022) for postponement of the exams in view of the recent Covid-19 surge.

“With the current third wave, Covid-19 due to its new variant Omicron has spread severely in several states, cities. Several studies including one done by IIT Kanpur predict that the peak of the 3rd wave is expected in early February and the wave will end by April. Therefore, the peak is most likely to coincide with the usual exam dates of GATE,” the petition read.

“If the exam dates are not postponed, the candidates appearing for GATE 2022 run an imminent risk of getting infected and spreading it thereby getting threat to their life as well as their family member’s lives,” it added.

However, a bench of the apex court, led by Justice DY Chandrachud, told the petitioners today that the exams are a policy matter on part of the government, and any interference by the court at this stage would only lead to “chaos and uncertainty” among students.

The court said that the first and the second Covid-19 waves were different from the third and in recent times, as many as 20 exams conducted by government bodies had to be postponed in a similar manner.

“We cannot start postponing exams like this,” noted the court, according to excerpts published by Bar and Bench. “Everything is opening up now, we cannot play with the careers of students like this. One petitioner is a coaching center. This is an academic policy matter.”

The Supreme Court also noted that while lakhs of students across the country have been preparing for the exams, only 20,000 candidates had signed the online petition seeking postponement of the exam. Thus, to avoid chaos and uncertainty among the rest of the students, the top court said it has decided to dismiss the plea seeking postponement of the GATE 2022 exams.