NEET-UG exam row: ‘If a person who played fraud becomes a doctor, it is deleterious to society’, says SC

The bench was hearing two separate petitions raising grievances, including on grace marks given to students in the examination held on 5 May.


Published Jun 18, 2024 | 1:25 PM Updated Jun 18, 2024 | 1:25 PM

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 18  June, said that even if there was “0.001 percent negligence” on the part of anyone in the conduct of the NEET-UG 2024 examination, it should be thoroughly dealt with.

Observing that students have to labour hard while preparing for these examinations, the apex court said the litigation pertaining to the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate)-2024 examination ought not be treated as adversarial.

“Even if there is 0.001 percent negligence on the part of anyone, it should be thoroughly dealt with,” a vacation bench of Justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti told the advocates appearing for the Union government and the National Testing Agency (NTA).

The NTA conducts the all India pre-medical entrance test.

The bench was hearing two separate petitions raising grievances, including on grace marks given to students in the examination held on 5 May.

Also Read: Serious questions on integrity of NTA, how NEET is conducted: Congress

‘Deleterious to the society’

“We all know the labour which the children undergo, especially in preparing for these exams,” the bench said, adding, “Imagine a person who has played fraud on the system becomes a doctor, he is more deleterious to the society”.

“Representing an agency which is responsible for conducting the examination, you must stand firm. If there is a mistake, yes this is a mistake and this is the action we are going to take. At least that inspires confidence in your performance,” the bench told the NTA’s counsel.

Stressing on timely action by the authority, the top court said the pleas would come up for hearing on 8 July along with other pending petitions, including those which have sought a direction to conduct the exam afresh.

It said the NTA and the Union government would file their responses on these fresh petitions within two weeks.

When one of the advocates appearing for some petitioners raised the issue pertaining to a question asked in the exam, the bench said, “They (NTA and Centre) will respond to it”.

“Let us understand the purpose of your submissions. In these matters, we are prepared to sit up to evening,” it observed.

While hearing separate petitions raising grievances over the NEET-UG 2024, the apex court had last week sought responses from the Centre and the NTA on a plea for a CBI probe into allegations of question paper leak and other irregularities in the exam.

Also Read: Scrap NEET, allow states to conduct entrance tests: Karnataka Deputy CM

Cancelled grace marks

The Union government and the NTA had on 13 June told the top court that they had cancelled the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses.

They will have the option to either take a retest or forgo the compensatory marks awarded to them for the loss of time, the Union government had said.

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

There have been allegations of question paper leaks in states like Bihar and other irregularities in the prestigious exam.

The allegations have led to protests in several cities and filing of petitions in several high courts as also the Supreme Court. Scores of students protested in Delhi on June 10 seeking a probe into alleged irregularities.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA’s history, with six from a centre in Haryana’s Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

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.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)

(South First is now on WhatsApp and Telegram)