Maharashtra seeks nixing of NEET-UG exam, parents demand halt to admissions, CBI probe | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra seeks nixing of NEET-UG exam, parents demand halt to admissions, CBI probe

Jun 08, 2024 08:40 AM IST

Results of the exam were declared on June 4, showing 67 students secured all-India rank one by scoring 720 out of 720 marks, leading to an uproar

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government will approach the National Medical Commission (NMC) with a plea to cancel the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduates, state medical education minister Hasan Mushrif said on Friday. Results of the exam were declared on June 4, showing 67 students secured all-India rank one by scoring 720 out of 720 marks, leading to an uproar and allegations of corruption and other malpractices.

The NEET (UG) is an all India entrance test for students to want to pursue medical courses. (Photo by Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
The NEET (UG) is an all India entrance test for students to want to pursue medical courses. (Photo by Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

“I believe the NEET exam results were declared after accepting bribes. Last year, only two of 720 candidates could clear the exam with full marks, but this year so many have secured full marks because grace marks were given to them,” said Mushrif, claiming no student from Maharashtra would be able to qualify for admission in either government-run colleges or private colleges this year on account of the skewed results.

Parents of medical aspirants and associations of medical colleges and doctors have also demanded a halt to the medical admission process and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the NEET results, as grace marks were awarded to many students without any policy for the same.

On Friday, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) wrote to the National Medical Commission (NMC), the country’s apex body which regulates medical education and professionals, demanding that the NEET exam documents and results be handed over to the CBI. The association said admission counselling should be suspended till a thorough inquiry was conducted, and those who had been given grace marks were re-examined.

The association also demanded an inquiry into the purported leak of NEET 2024 papers, as 67 students had scored 720 out of 720 in the exam, which was highly unusual. “The paper was leaked at many locations, but the NTA (National Testing Agency) refused to acknowledge it instead of getting the matter investigated by a reliable agency,” the letter from IMA to the NMC noted.

Meanwhile, parents of medical aspirants in the state plan on moving the Bombay high court to seek a stay on the admission process. The Calcutta high court has already sought a response from the NTA regarding alleged irregularities in the NEET exam this year.

The NTA, which administers the pre-medical entrance test, had clarified on Tuesday that grace marks were awarded to students who raised concerns about the loss of exam time. But students responded to the statement with dissatisfaction, saying it lacked clarity.

“The 140-page information brochure of NEET doesn’t have a single word on grace marks. It refers to a supreme court judgement in support of grace marks, which is applicable for law entrance exams and not NEET,” said Ajay Katkar, parent of a medical aspirant from Mumbai.

A group of parents have also submitted their representation on the matter to the Maharashtra medical education minister Hasan Mushrif, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), and the commissioner of the state common entrance test cell, requesting them to suspend counselling rounds (admission rounds) till the NTA provides a clarification.

Parents said conducting a re-examination of all candidates was not a solution. “We are requesting the NTA to publish the optical mark recognition (OMR) sheet for all candidates who appeared for the exam. It will clear all doubts,” said Katkar. Like other parents, he also raised concerns about students who had scored high marks using unfair means. “It is very dangerous for society if these students secure admission and become future doctors,” he said.

Yogesh Jadhav from Jalgaon, also a parent of a medical aspirant, said, “It is very difficult to create a mindset among students for re-examination. For the last two years, these students studied hard and now, they are all stressed about not securing admission in a government medical college. My son has not been eating properly since last two days even though he scored more than 625 marks.”

In their representation submitted to the state medical education minister, parents also demanded that the NTA declare a formula to accord grace marks and state how many students had benefitted from the same this year. This was in addition to seeking a re-evaluation of OMRs against actual results, a forensic audit, and clarifications regarding how some students had secured higher rank than those with high marks.

Mushrif said, “We are with the parents and students, and will forward all their representations to the union minister to address the queries.”

Tutors of NEET also posted videos on social media platforms pointing at anomalies in the merit list. Dr Rajshekhar Yadav, convener of the Unaided Private Clincs and Hospitals Association of Rajasthan (UPCHAR), said, “This year, the difficulty level of the examination was the same as last year. If last year’s cut off for government colleges was 610, this year’s cut off should not have been more than 612 or 615. But NTA declared it as 655, which was a loss to many students. Considering this, we stand with meritorious students as well as the parents and demand that a revised merit list be published and an inquiry be conducted into the whole scam.”

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