NEET UG Row Explained: From court PILs to setting up of a high-level committee, what's next in store? | Education - Hindustan Times

NEET UG Row Explained: From court PILs to setting up of a high-level committee, what's next in store?

By, New Delhi
Jun 10, 2024 04:24 PM IST

Two fresh petitions have been filed in Supreme Court challenging the NTA's decision to award grace marks and seeking scrapping of the results. Full story below.

The NEET UG 2024 fiasco has been seemingly grabbing headlines for the last few days even as an apparent solution to the issue still needs to be reached. In a fresh development, a NEET applicant from Andhra Pradesh has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court wherein he has challenged the decision of the National Testing Agency to grant grace marks to students in the examination. Check the live updates on NEET UG 2024 controversy

The NEET UG 2024 row has intensified with applicants filing fresh petitions in SC. (Image source ANI)
The NEET UG 2024 row has intensified with applicants filing fresh petitions in SC. (Image source ANI)

A report by Live Law stated that the Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution by Jaripate Karthik, which challenges the NTA's action in awarding grace marks to 1536 candidates on the grounds of 'loss of time'.

Additionally, the counsels for the petitioner have even sought for an early listing of the matter.

Besides, another petition was filed in the Supreme Court to recall the NEET-UG 2024 results, thereby seeking fresh examinations.

Notably, the exam was conducted by the NTA on May 5, 2024, from 2 pm to 5.20 pm IST at 4750 Centres in 571 cities (including 14 cities abroad) for more than 24 lakh candidates

For the unversed, the controversy erupted over an alleged paper leak case and a consequent outrage over the “inflation of marks” of 1,563 students who were compensated for the loss of time. Students from at least six centers in states, including Meghalaya, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Surat, and Chandigarh, had complained about the loss of time during exams.

NTA officials had opined that the students at these centers could not get the full 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete the exam due to administrative reasons, including the distribution of the wrong question paper, torn OMR sheets, or delay in the distribution of OMR sheets, among others.

Also read: Take steps to eliminate NEET, says panel; wants Plus 2 marks as sole criteria for medical admission

Subsequently, the results announced on June 4, 2024, triggered a massive uproar, with several aspirants and parents demanding a probe and seeking a “re-exam”, alleging that the paper was leaked at certain centers where students got high scores.

PILs filed in Court so far

Apart frm the latest petition filed the Supreme Court, several other NEET aspirants have filed petitions in high courts as well as the Supreme Court soon after the emargo began. For instance, a few days ago, a group of candidates moved to the Apex Court seeking fresh conduct of examination. In the plea, the petitioners The plea alleged that the NEET-UG test held on May 5 was riddled with malpractices as various instances of paper leak came to the knowledge of the petitioners. The case is scheduled for its next hearing on July 8.

Also read: NEET UG results 2024: Demands for probe and re-examination growing, here is what Netizens are saying

Likewise, the Calcutta HC on Thursday asked the National Testing Agency for a response concerning the alleged irregularities in the exams. If that was not all, another plea was filed in the Delhi High Court that challenged the NTA's decision to grant grace marks in the NEET UG exams.

Reactions from the political arena

It did not take long for the political leaders, especially those from the opposition to attack the center and demand a thorough probe into the case.

On June 7, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the Modi government over alleged irregularities in the NEET medical entrance exam and called for resolution of students' "legitimate complaints" through an investigation. Taking to X, Ms Gandhi wrote, “Why is the government ignoring the voice of lakhs of students? Students want answers to legitimate questions related to the rigging in the NEET exam results.”

Further, she asked, "Is it not the government's responsibility to resolve these "legitimate complaints" by conducting an investigation?"

Following the Congress general secretary was her brother and congress leader Rahul Gandhi who made a scathing attack on the Modi government, while adding that he would be the voice of the students in the Parliament and raise this issue at the earliest.

In a Twitter post written in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi stated that Narendra Modi had not even taken oath as the PM and the scam in the NEET exam had devastated more than 24 lakh students and their families. "6 students from the same exam centre top the exam with maximum marks, many get such marks which are technically not possible, but the government is continuously denying the possibility of paper leak," he wrote.

Reactions also poured in from other leaders. Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal had targeted the BJP accusing it of "totally botching the NEET examinations and destroying the future of medical aspirants. He even wrote to K Sanjay Murthy, Secretary of the Ministry of Education, and sought an exhaustive inquiry into the NEET-UG Exam 2024 irregularities conducted by the NTA.

Likewise, the Aam Admi Party or AAP leader Jasmine Shah demanded a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into the alleged irregularities in NEET-UG, stating it is a serious matter concerning the future of the country's youths. The AAP leader went on to say that although BJP asserted that it would make India a "Vishwaguru", it is unable to properly conduct an entrance exam.

NTA refutes allegations

On June 7, the NTA issued an official press release wherein it claimed that no case of paper leak had occurred and maintained that the integrity of the examination was not compromised. It also issued clarifications regarding the queries and concerns raised by the candidates who attempted the NEET-UG 2024 examination. In the release, the NTA said out of the 67 candidates who got 720/720 marks, 44 are on account of the revision in one Answer Key of Physics, and 06 are on account of compensatory marks for loss of time.

It also pointed out that loss of examination time was ascertained for candidates who had filed Writ Petitions before the High Court of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Chhattisgarh. The NTA said the loss of time was compensated with marks based on their answering efficiency and time lost, as per the set mechanism. "The revised marks of such candidates vary from -20 to 720 marks. Amongst these, the score of two candidates also happens to be 718 and 719 marks respectively due to compensatory marks."

Ministry of Education forms high-level committee

Amid the nationwide outrage, the Ministry of Education held an official press conference on June 8 to address the growing concerns of students and stakeholders regarding the NEET UG 2024 results. At the conference, Subodh Kumar Singh, Director General of NTA, informed the education ministry had set up a four-member panel to review the grace marks awarded to more than 1,500 candidates in the NEET-UG medical entrance exam. The committee will submit a report in a week and accordingly, a decision will be made.

Also read: Panel to look into the issue of grace marks to NEET candidates, results to be revised if required, says NTA

The committee in question is being headed by a former UPSC chairman, as informed by the DG NTA. He further stated that the integrity of the exam was not compromised as out of 24 lakh students, the issue has risen for only 1600 students.

What's next in store?

Even as an apparent respite seems unlikely soon, one has to wait for the report of the high-level committee which is supposed to present its report in a week. Will the NTA hold the exam again? or Will there be a revision of existing results? Only time can answer.

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