NEET-UG Exam Row: SC Asks Centre To ‘Stand Firm Even If There Is Mistake, Negligence’

NEET-UG Exam Row: SC Asks Centre To ‘Stand Firm Even If There Is Mistake, Negligence’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the central government and the National Testing Agency (NTA) to thoroughly deal with alleged irregularities in NEET-UG 2024, as candidates labour very hard for the prestigious exam and this cannot be ignored.

The apex court said that even if there is 0.001% negligence on the part of anyone that should not be allowed to escape the scanner and stressed if there is a mistake in the conduct of the examination, the agency should accept it and say that it will take action.

A bench comprising justices Vikram Nath and S V N Bhatti said: “Even if there is 0.001% negligence on the part of anyone it should be thoroughly dealt with”. Justice Bhatti told the Centre’s counsel that these petitions against the NEET exam should not be treated as adversarial litigation.

“Imagine a person, who has played fraud on the system becomes a doctor. He is more deleterious to the society…we all know the labour children undergo especially for preparing for this exam”, said Justice Bhatti.

Advocate Kanu Agarwal, representing the Centre, agreed with the court's observation regarding children labouring for the prestigious exam and added, “We take it absolutely (seriously)….”.

“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 we are going to take action. At least that inspires confidence….”, said Justice Bhatti.

Referring to the June 13 order, Agarwal said: “Perhaps that is what weighed on NTA, therefore the stand was taken on grace marks." The bench observed that it is not difficult to find where things have gone wrong and added, “how many cell phones were used…rarely we react, that too during vacations we react slowly”.

The apex court made these observations while hearing a petition in connection with paper leaks and malpractices in the NEET-UG 2024. The apex court issued notice to the Centre and NTA and scheduled the next hearing on the matter on July 8.

Last week, the top court allowed the Centre to withdraw compensatory or grace marks allotted to 1563 candidates of NEET-UG 2024 for time loss and hold an optional re-test for them on June 23 and declare the result on June 30.

“This Court finds that the recommendations made by the Committee on 12th June 2024 after deliberations held on 10th, 11th and 12th June 2024, are fair, reasonable and justified. Accordingly, the respondent NTA may proceed for holding the re-test”, said the bench, in its order.

Several candidates who took the medical entrance exam NEET have alleged inflation of marks which led to a record 67 candidates bagging the top rank, including six from the same exam centre. However, the NTA has denied any irregularities.


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