Supreme Court On NEET-UG Row

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the centre and NTA, or National Testing Agency, over a petition seeking to cancel results of the NEET-UG 2024 – an ultra-competitive entrance test for undergraduate medical courses – amid allegations the paper was leaked. 

“It is not that simple… that because you have done it (held the exam) it is sacrosanct,” the court told the NTA, “Sanctity of (the examination) has been affected… so we need answers.” 

The court, though, said counselling for admissions will continue. Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said, “We are not stopping counselling”. The matter was then posted to July 8 and will be heard with a plea filed before Chief Justice DY Chandrachud.

The court was hearing a fresh petition in the ongoing row over the NEET-UG 2024 results that claim discrepancies in scores and alleged preferential treatment to some students.

The petition asked for the scores from the May 5 exam to be cancelled.

The petition also asked for a fresh exam to be held.

The petitioners – from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – have claimed variances in grant of grace marks, for which they say there is “no defined logic”, and drawn the court’s attention to “statistically impossible” marks, including students scoring the maximum – 720 of 720.

“There has no defined logic for grace marks given (and) no list has been shared as per given grace marks. Moreover, the reason for awarding grace marks is ‘wastage of time’… but this was never disclosed in information bulletin before the exam,” the petitioners claimed.

The petitioners have also pointed to the fact 67 students from one particular coaching centre got a full 720 marks, and also that a provisional answer key released by the NTA had been contested by over 13,000 students as the problem pointed to a different answer.

Underscoring the dangers of cheating in a medical test, the plea said, “This field requires a deep understanding of scientific and medical knowledge… cheating or using unfair means to pass an exam can lead to a lack of competence and endanger lives of patients.”

The petitioners also noted that cheating in exams “undermines the principles of meritocracy and equal opportunities, which are essential for social mobility and fairness in society”.

“It perpetuates inequalities by favoring those who can afford to pay for leaked exam papers or engage in fraudulent activities, while disadvantaging those who rely on their hard work and merit to succeed and the same also impacts the society as a whole,” the plea said.

On May 17, while the bench led by the Chief Justice was hearing a similar plea, the court issued a notice but did not halt declaration of results. 

Meanwhile, the NTA has decided a high-powered committee will analyse the grievances of 1,600 students who have already appeared for the NEET 2024 exam.