‘Physics Wallah’ moves Supreme Court, challenges award of grace marks to over 1,500 candidates in NEET-UG, 2024

The plea challenges the alleged award of grace marks on account of loss of time apparently due to several reasons.


Published Jun 12, 2024 | 4:46 PM Updated Jun 12, 2024 | 4:46 PM

Supreme Court

The chief executive of EdTech firm “Physics Wallah”, Alakh Pandey, has moved the Supreme Court against the alleged random award of grace marks by the National Testing Agency (NTA) to over 1,500 candidates who took the controversy-ridden NEET-UG, 2024 for admissions to MBBS, BDS and others courses.

The top court had said on Tuesday that the sanctity of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG), 2024 has been affected and sought responses from the Centre and the NTA on another plea seeking holding of the examination afresh on grounds of alleged question paper leak and other malpractices.

Lawyer J Sai Deepak, who appeared for Pandey, mentioned the plea for urgent listing on Tuesday before a vacation bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah. The bench asked him to approach the apex court registry with his plea.

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‘Our petition slightly different’

“Multiple petitions have been listed in the Court. Some of the petitions were filed before the declaration of results on the basis that there had been a leak of the paper itself. Notices have been issued in regard to those petitions. Our petition is slightly different.”

“We represent Alakh Pandey, who has collected signatures from about 20,000 students which clearly shows that close to about 70 to 80 marks have been awarded in grace marks randomly to at least 1,500 students. We are challenging the arbitrary award of grace marks. The court has indicated that our matter will also be taken up with the other matters but the court is clear that it will not stay the counselling process at this stage,” lawyer Sai Deepak said.

The plea challenges the alleged award of grace marks on account of loss of time apparently due to several reasons. The petition is yet to be listed for hearing.

The NEET (UG) 2024 examination was held by the NTA 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 was completed earlier.

The plea said the intimation about the award of grace marks was done by the NTA as a reaction and not on its own at the time of declaring the results.

“So much so this clarification came about only when queries were raised as to how 718/719 marks out of a total of 720 marks can be awarded when the same was not technically possible as per the marking scheme,” the plea said.

The plea has sought a thorough investigation into the conduct of the examination by an independent high-powered committee.

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‘What is the policy for grace marks?’

It asked on what basis the policy for awarding grace marks was adopted when it was not the practice the NTA had adopted in the preceding years.

It demanded that the NTA must provide the details of the 1563 candidates who were provided compensatory marks for the loss of time mentioning therein the original marks of such candidates, the grace marks granted to them and the revised marks they secured.

The plea filed on 1 June, emanates from a Bihar police probe into the alleged leak of question paper meant for the exam. As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in NTA’s history, with six from a centre in Haryana’s Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities.

Scores of students protested in Delhi on 10 June seeking a probe into alleged irregularities. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

While issuing the notice on another plea filed by 10 students including Shivangi Mishra, the top court had on Tuesday, however, refused to stay the counselling of successful candidates.

It tagged the plea filed by Shivangi Mishra with a pending petition and asked the NTA to file a response in the meantime. The top court will now hear the pleas on 8 July when the summer vacation which commenced on 20 May comes to an end.

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