‘No need to burden 23 lakh students with fresh test’: Union government says ahead of SC hearing on NEET

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 11 July, will hear a batch of petitions regarding the alleged paper leaks and irregularities in the conduct of NEET-UG, 2024.

BySumit Jha

Published Jul 11, 2024 | 10:46 AM Updated Jul 11, 2024 | 11:02 AM

NEET

There is no need to burden 23 lakh students by holding a re-test of the NEET-UG based on unsupported apprehensions, the Union Ministry of Education said in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 10 July.

The submission was made a day ahead of the Supreme Court hearing a batch of petitions regarding the alleged paper leaks and irregularities in the conduct of the National Eligibility Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG), 2024.

The ministry said the Union of India was not taking the present litigation to be adversarial and was duty-bound to address the concerns of the students who have taken the NEET examination.

It also submitted that all efforts were being made to device a solution-oriented mechanism “while ensuring that on one hand no candidate guilty of malpractice gets any benefit and on the other hand, ensuring that 23 lakh students are not required to be burdened with a fresh test merely based upon unsupported apprehensions.”

The government further added that the Union of India was committed to making a robust examination process for conducting all competitive examinations fairly and transparently, which is completely insulated from any kind of room for criminally-minded people to indulge in malpractices.

“The Union of India duly appreciates that the confidentiality of the question papers is the utmost priority in any examination and remains committed toward protecting the interests of lakhs of students who have attempted the question papers fairly and after years of hard work, without trying to obtain any illegal advantage,” the affidavit said.

Meanwhile, depending on an IIT-Madras analysis, the Ministry of Education stated that IIT-M conducted an exhaustive and elaborate technical evaluation of the NEET (UG) 2024 data. It said that IIT-Madras had refuted allegations of widespread malpractices or certain NEET-UG candidates at select centres receiving undue benefits.

Related: IIT-Madras analysis rules out ‘abnormality’ in NEET-UG results

The SC question

The Supreme Court while hearing the batch of petitions on Monday, 8 July, stated that if the sanctity of the medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024 was “lost” and if the leak of its question paper has been propagated through social media, a re-test must be ordered.

“It is clear that the NEET-UG question paper was leaked. We are dealing with the lives and careers of 23 lakh students,” a bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said.

The bench also noted that if the question paper leak had occurred through Telegram, WhatsApp, and other electronic modes of communication, it would “spread like wildfire.”

“One thing is clear: The leak of the question paper has taken place,” the bench, which included justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.

In a set of directions, the Supreme Court instructed the CBI to submit a report indicating the status of the investigation.

The Supreme Court also directed the NTA to inform it when the leak of the question paper first occurred and about the time gap between the occurrence of the leak and the conduct of the exam on 5 May.

(Edited by Majnu Babu)

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