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NEET to be uniform but no relief now

The Supreme Court today asked the Central Board of Secondary Education to ensure uniformity of question papers in English, Hindi and all regional languages for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test from 2018 to avoid complaints of unequal competition.

By Our Legal Correspondent
  • Published 11.08.17
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New Delhi, Aug. 10: The Supreme Court today asked the Central Board of Secondary Education to ensure uniformity of question papers in English, Hindi and all regional languages for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test from 2018 to avoid complaints of unequal competition.

The court, however, iterated its decision not to set aside the 2017 NEET results or stay the ongoing counselling for medical admissions across the country as it might disturb the process involving the careers of over six lakh students.

"We want commonality in exams and identical question papers in English Hindi and regional languages (from) next year. We want you to consult experts and file an affidavit as to how you are going to implement uniformity of standards," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitav Roy and A.M. Kanwilkar told additional solicitor-general Maninder Singh, appearing for the CBSE.

On June 12, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for the declaration of this year's NEET results for admission to MBBS and BDS courses across the country, staying a Madras High Court order that had put an embargo on the publishing on the ground that it would be subject to the final outcome of a batch of petitions filed by students challenging the exams.

The Madurai bench of the high court had on May 24 stayed the NEET held on May 7 while dealing with petitions filed by nearly a dozen students who alleged vast difference between the question papers in English and Tamil.

The students had claimed that the questions in Tamil and other regional languages were comparatively easier than those in English, alleging violation of Article 14 of the Constitution that guarantees equality.

Today, the Supreme Court pulled up the CBSE for setting different question papers in English, Hindi and regional languages.

"Why do you choose a difficult path for students? If experts do not know how to translate the questions, then they are not experts. There should be only one question paper in English and there should be translation of the questions in Hindi and other languages," Justice Misra, heading the bench, said.

The court told senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for some students, that it would be difficult to disturb the admission process as over six lakh students had passed the NEET this year.

The bench said if the questions are uniform across languages, it will help the students select the language of their choice. Justice Misra said that when there are uniform questions, the evaluation of the students will also be uniform. The court adjourned the matter to October 10.