NEET Exam Row: Supreme Court Demands Thorough Investigation of Negligence, Urges Decisive Action by NTA and Centre

In the ongoing controversy surrounding the NEET-UG 2024 exam, the Supreme Court has made it clear that even the slightest negligence, as minor as “0.001 percent,” must be thoroughly investigated and addressed. Recognizing the immense effort students put into preparing for these exams, the court emphasized a non-adversarial approach to resolving any issues related to NEET-UG 2024. “Children have prepared for the exams; we cannot forget their labour,” stated the Supreme Court.

The vacation bench, consisting of Justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti, conveyed this stern message to the advocates representing the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA), the body responsible for administering India’s pre-medical entrance test. The court was hearing two petitions that highlighted concerns, including the allocation of grace marks in the exam held on May 5.

“We all know the labour which the children undergo, especially in preparing for these exams,” remarked the bench. “Imagine a person who has played fraud on the system becomes a doctor; he is more deleterious to society.” The court directed the NTA’s counsel to remain firm and take decisive action in case of any errors, stressing the importance of timely responses. The next hearing is scheduled for July 8, alongside other pending petitions, including those requesting a re-examination. The bench also instructed the NTA and the Centre to provide explanations regarding specific exam questions.

On June 13, the Centre and the NTA informed the Supreme Court that they had revoked the additional marks granted to 1,563 candidates who appeared for the MBBS and related courses entrance exam. The candidates were given the option to either retake the test or forgo the compensatory marks provided for the time lost during the exam, as per the Centre’s statement.

The NEET-UG 2024 exam, conducted across 4,750 centres with approximately 24 lakh candidates, saw its results declared earlier than expected on June 4 due to expedited answer sheet evaluations. Allegations of question paper leaks in states like Bihar and other irregularities have sparked protests and legal petitions in various courts, including the Supreme Court.

An unprecedented achievement was noted with sixty-seven students scoring a flawless 720, including six students from a Faridabad centre in Haryana, which raised concerns about potential irregularities. Allegations suggest that the allocation of grace marks played a role in these students attaining the highest rank.

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