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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Sanctity of NEET-UG 2024 affected, we need answers for that: Supreme Court

The bench declined to stay the counselling of students as it listed the matter for further hearing to July 8 by which time the authorities are expected to hand in their responses

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi Published 12.06.24, 06:17 AM
Supreme Court of India.

Supreme Court of India. File Photo.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the “sanctity” of the NEET-UG 2024 had “been affected” as it issued notices to the Centre, the National Testing Agency and the Bihar government, seeking their response on the plea to cancel this year’s exam and take fresh entrance exams in view of the alleged paper leak.

While the NTA is the central body conducting the annual NEET-UG exams for admissions to MBBS, BDS, Ayush and certain other courses in government
and private medical colleges, the Bihar government recently arrested certain
persons over this year’s question paper leak.

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A bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, however, declined to stay the counselling of students as it listed the matter for further hearing to July 8 by which time the authorities are expected to hand in their responses.

“The matter is not so simple. The sanctity has been affected (related to how the exam was conducted). We need answers for that,” the bench orally observed while asking the authorities to respond to the petition by Shivangi Mishra and nine other joint petitioners and aspirants seeking cancellation of the exam and a fresh entrance test.

The bench tagged the matter along with another petition filed by another NEET aspirant, Vanshika Yadav, seeking cancellation of the exams on which a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on May 17 issued a notice and sought a response from the authorities.

On Tuesday, advocate Mathew Nedumpura, who appeared for some of the aspirants, sought a stay of the counselling. The bench turned down the plea, saying: “Let counselling go on. We will not stop the counselling.”

When the advocate persisted with the plea for a stay order, the bench warned: “If you argue further, we will dismiss it (the petition).”

The bench also did not concede to the request of advocate Sai Deepak appearing for some petitioners that their pleas to cancel the exams and probe into various irregularities should be tagged with the present petition.

The court asked the counsel to seek appropriate directions from the CJI for listing the matter.

The NEET for undergraduate medical courses was held on May 5, 2024. Around 22 lakh students appeared for the NEET. The NTA conducted the test across 4,750 centres in 571 cities in India, including 14 abroad.

However, there has been a massive outrage among aspirants and their families following an alleged paper leak and the unilateral decision of the NTA to award grace marks to certain students to compensate time wasted during the exam due to technical snags at certain centres. Sixty-seven students scored 720/720 marks of which eight students were from a single exam centre.

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