The NHRC has sent notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the CBSE over alleged hardships faced by students who had to travel long distances to write their National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).
The commission in a statement on Monday observed that the state government and CBSE authorities had "failed" to provide examination centres to aspirants within Tamil Nadu, resulting in hardships for not only students, but also their parents.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) chairperson and the Tamil Nadu chief secretary, seeking a detailed report explaining as to why students had to travel across the state to appear for the examination.
The commission also said it would like to know as to what steps were being taken by both the authorities to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
"The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report alleging that a lot of hardships were faced by young students, who had to travel across the state to write their NEET, organised by the Central Board of Secondary Education," the rights panel said in the statement.
"In one such incident, a 46-year-old man from Tamil Nadu, who had to travel a long distance of 500 km with his son to appear in the NEET at a centre in Kerala, died due to cardiac arrest on Sunday," the NHRC said.
According to the media report, carried today, a statement issued by the CBSE said that "at least 3,685 medical aspirants from Tamil Nadu had to travel out of state to take the exam".
The commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights.
"The students pass through tremendous pressure due to examination. It is the duty of the state to ensure that they should not be subjected to any kind of discomfort, while they are appearing for the entrance examinations," it said.
However, as per a news report, CBSE and NEET authorities have not commented on why they "failed to create enough exam centres within Tamil Nadu", the NHRC said.
"It is also mentioned that in the news report, the Tamil Nadu state government had announced on May 5 that every student from Tamil Nadu, who travelled to other state to appear for the NEET, will be given train fare in addition to monetary assistance of Rs 1,000 per candidate," the statement said.
Over 13 lakh candidates appeared for the national medical entrance exam NEET yesterday at 2,225 centres across the country.