Education & Literature

    NTA to move SC for transfer of petitions against alleged irregularities in NEET-UG exam from different HCs

    The Hawk
    June12/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    The National Testing Agency (NTA) plans to seek the Supreme Court's intervention in transferring petitions filed by NEET-UG 2024 candidates over alleged issues such as random grant of grace marks, paper leak, and anomalies in answer evaluations.

    NEET-UG 2024 protest in Kolkata

    New Delhi: The National Testing Agency (NTA) will approach the Supreme Court seeking transfer of petitions filed by NEET-UG candidates before several high courts over alleged random grant of grace marks, paper leak and anomalies in evaluating answers to certain questions, the Delhi High Court was informed on Wednesday.

    A vacation bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, meanwhile, issued notice and asked the NTA to respond to four petitions filed by National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG), 2024 candidates raising these grievances.

    Following in the footsteps of the Supreme Court, the high court also refused to stay the counselling process.

    The court granted the NTA counsel's prayer for time to respond to the petitions and listed the matter for further hearing on July 5.

    At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that several pleas have been filed in seven different high courts relating to alleged irregularities in the conduct of the NEET-UG, 2024 examination and some are pending before the Supreme Court.

    He said the NTA will soon file a transfer petition in the apex court for consolidating all the pleas.

    "We are filing transfer petitions in the Supreme Court because there is a likelihood of conflicting views by different high courts. Could your lordship consider waiting for a week or two? We will file a transfer petition," Mehta told the court.

    The law officer said these petitions can be broadly categorised as raising the issues of grant of grace/compensatory marks, alleged paper leak and anomalies in answers to certain questions.

    The counsel for some of the petitioners urged the court to direct the authorities to not start the counselling for the time being or note that the counselling will be subject to the outcome of these petitions.

    The high court, however, refused to pass such an order.

    Mehta referred to the apex court's order where no such relief was granted.

    One of the petitioners drew the court's attention to a question that had two correct answers in the answer key and prayed that equal marks be awarded to those who did not attempt the question as has been done for those who attempted either of the two correct answers.

    The petitioner said the principle of fairness in a competitive examination mandates that all candidates should be evaluated on an equal footing and alleged that the authorities compromised the fairness by awarding marks to two correct options when the instructions clearly indicated that only one option was correct.

    In order to avoid a negative impact on her score, the 17-year-old petitioner chose not to attempt the question and scored 633 out of 720 marks, with a total percentile of around 98 and an all-India rank close to 44,700 in the entrance examination, the plea has said.

    The petitioner has said a single mark can significantly alter her all-India rank and therefore, sought a direction to the NTA to correct and re-publish the NEET-UG 2024 results, ranks and percentiles based on the revised marks.

    “On June 3, the respondent published the final answer key. It was observed that for question no. 29 of Test Booklet Code R5, both options 2 and 4 were considered correct, contrary to the instructions that stated only one option could be correct."

    “Not awarding marks in the case of a wrong question and forcing candidates to mark one, in the case of a question having two correct answers, is antithetical to the instruction that only one answer shall be right. It is submitted that it is extremely arbitrary for the respondent to expect candidates to attempt a wrong question, when there is negative marking and each mark can make a difference of hundreds of ranks, if not thousands,” it has added.

    The NEET-UG 2024 examination was held by the NTA on May 5 across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates took it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4, apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets got completed earlier.

    The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.