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SC notice to Centre over plea seeking cancellation of NEET-UG 2024

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: June 20, 2024 17:08 IST
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The Supreme Court on Thursday sought responses from the Centre, the National Testing Agency (NTA) and others on a slew of petitions, including those seeking scrapping of the NEET-UG 2024 exam and a court-monitored probe, amid mounting outrage over alleged irregularities in conducting the all-India medical entrance test.

IMAGE: All India Students Association (AISA) students protesting over the alleged NEET-UG exam scam 2024 and demanding the resignation of Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, at Shastri Bhawan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photograph: Ritik Jain/ANI Photo

The apex court also stayed further proceedings on similar pleas pending before different high courts.

The top court, however, made it clear that it will not stay the counselling process.

A vacation bench of Justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti issued notices to the parties seeking their responses on four separate pleas filed by the NTA seeking transfer of some pending petitions, including those claiming paper leak, from high courts to the apex court.

As the bench issued notices on the NTA's petitions, the counsel appearing for the testing agency urged it to stay the related proceedings before different high courts.

"Issue notice returnable on July 8," the bench said, adding, "In the meantime, further proceedings before the high courts shall remain stayed."

It also dealt with several other petitions including the one filed by 20 aspirants who are seeking scrapping of the exam held on May 5.


These 20 petitioners, represented by advocate Dheeraj Singh, have also sought a direction to the NTA and others to conduct the test afresh.

The bench said all the pleas would be heard on July 8.

The bench, while refusing to stay the counselling exercise, said, "All this has been argued from day one and they (some petitioners) have been wanting stay of counselling. We have denied that."

"Ultimately, if all of you succeed, everything will go. The examination goes and the counselling will also go," the court told the petitioners, one of whom sought deferment of the counselling until after July 8.

When the bench asked the NTA's lawyer about the counselling, he said it will start on July 6 and continue for a few more days.

The bench also issued notices to the Centre and the NTA seeking their responses on a plea by Sorting Hat Solutions Pvt Ltd, which operates a platform for education services under the name 'Unacademy', seeking constitution of an independent committee to scrutinise the alleged irregularities and discrepancies in the results of NEET-UG 2024.

The company, in its plea filed through advocate Sumeer Sodhi, has also sought a direction to the NTA to furnish statistical data to back the methodology used to ascertain the 'time-loss' for candidates who were awarded compensatory marks.

During the arguments, another counsel informed the bench that a person has been arrested in Bihar in connection with the probe into alleged irregularities.

The lawyer said FIRs have been lodged in Bihar and Gujarat over alleged irregularities and police should be asked to submit status reports on their investigations in the two states.

When the counsel appearing for the Centre said many a time coaching institutes also approach courts as petitioners, the bench observed, "They have a right to come. Because their business is, these students only and if you play with them and you meddle with their rights, then these coaching centres will come."

While hearing separate pleas on the NEET (Undergraduate)-2024 examination, the apex court had on June 18 said even if there was "0.001 per cent negligence" on the part of anyone in the conduct of the examination, it should be thoroughly dealt with.

The NTA conducts the all India pre-medical entrance test.

While hearing separate petitions raising grievances over the NEET-UG 2024, the apex court had last week sought responses from the Centre and the NTA on a plea for a CBI probe into allegations of question paper leak and other irregularities.

The Centre and the NTA had on June 13 told the top court that they had cancelled the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses.

They will have the option to either take a retest or forgo the compensatory marks awarded to them for the loss of time, the Centre had said.

The examination was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates took it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4, apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets got completed earlier.

The allegations have led to protests in several cities and sparring between rival political parties.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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