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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

NEET UG 2024: Supreme Court issues notices to Centre, NTA on plea for CBI probe into ‘paper leak’

The bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sandeep Meha granted the authorities two weeks to respond and posted the next hearing to July 9

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 15.06.24, 05:15 AM
Supreme Court.

Supreme Court. File Photo.

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre, CBI, Bihar and the National Testing Agency on a plea for a CBI probe into an alleged question paper leak during this year’s NEET-UG, held for admission to undergraduate medical seats.

The bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sandeep Meha granted the authorities two weeks to respond and posted the next hearing to July 9.

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Currently, Bihar police are probing the alleged paper leak but some aggrieved students have petitioned the court for a CBI investigation.

The bench rejected a plea for an ex-parte order for a CBI probe, saying it had to hear the government first.

On Thursday, the court had accepted the Centre’s proposal to cancel the grace marks awarded controversially to 1,563 NEET-UG candidates — ostensibly for time lost to technical glitches at their exam centres — and conduct a retest for them.

If the candidates do not wish to take the retest, they will be awarded the actual marks they have obtained, minus the grace marks.

On Friday, when counsel for one of the petitioners claimed urgency about the alleged paper leak, citing instances of student suicides in the Rajasthan educational hub of Kota, the bench said the present case had no relevance to it.

“Don’t make unnecessary emotional arguments here,” Justice Nath remarked.

The counsel persisted, saying the NEET involved the future of 24 lakh students, to which the bench observed: “We understand that. We are conscious of all that….”

The bench also allowed the National Testing Agency — which conducted the exam — to seek a transfer to the apex court of the various NEET-related petitions pending before different high courts to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and conflicting orders.

Around 22 lakh students took this year’s NEET-UG, conducted on May 5 across 4,470 centres in 571 cities, including 14 foreign cities.

However, there was massive outrage among the aspirants after the NTA unilaterally decided to award grace marks to some candidates for time lost during the exam.

There was also controversy over a record 67 students — of whom 8 were from the same exam centre — scoring a full 720 out of 720 and two others securing 718 and 719. Some students are also unhappy at the NTA announcing the results 10 days before schedule.

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