NEET-UG row: Supreme Court to hear over 30 petitions today

A batch of 38 petitions on the NEET examination controversy will be reviewed by a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud. While petitioners demand a re-test, the government and NTA argue against it.
NEET-UG row: Supreme Court to hear over 30 petitions today
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

The Supreme Court on Monday will hear a batch of petitions regarding the medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024. The pleas include those seeking a direction from the court for conducting the exam afresh, alleging irregularities and malpractices in the May 5 test.

A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, will review 38 petitions related to the exam, a nationwide test for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, and other medical courses in both government and private institutions across India.

The allegations of irregularities, including paper leaks and discrepancies in granting grace marks, have sparked protests and political outcry by the opposition across India. An unprecedented 67 students initially scored a perfect 720, with suspicions of irregularities arising from six top scorers being from a single centre in Haryana. The results were announced on June 4, 10 days prior to the scheduled date.

The government and the National Testing Agency (NTA), which administers NEET-UG, have argued against scrapping the exam, citing the lack of evidence for a large-scale breach of confidentiality and the potential negative impact on thousands of honest candidates.

The Union Education Minister, in its affidavit to the court, said, "It is also submitted that at the same time, in the absence of any proof of any large-scale breach of confidentiality in a pan-India examination, it would not be rational to scrap the entire examination and the results already declared.”

"Scrapping the exam in its entirety would seriously jeopardise the lakhs of honest candidates who attempted the question paper in 2024," the government added.

Echoing this sentiment, the NTA's affidavit called the cancellation of the exam "counterproductive and significantly harmful" to public interest and the career prospects of qualified candidates. The agency maintained that the exam was conducted fairly and securely, dismissing claims of widespread malpractice as "unfounded and misleading."

Considering a similar petition on June 11, the Supreme Court had observed that the "sanctity of the exams has been affected" and "we need answers” as it sought responses from the Centre and NTA.

"It is not that simple. Because you have done it, it is sacrosanct. Sanctity has been affected, so we need answers," Justice Amanullah told NTA’s counsel.

The petitions seek to scrap the exam, request a re-test, and seek a court-monitored investigation into the issues raised over the examination, which was taken by over 23 lakh candidates across 4,750 centres in 571 cities.

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NEET-UG row: Supreme Court to hear over 30 petitions today

Meanwhile, the CBI has taken up the probe into the allegations and cases registered in various states. The government has formed a high-level expert committee to propose measures for ensuring transparent, smooth, and fair examinations by the NTA. The agency’s chairman was also changed.

Source: India Today

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