Supreme Court Seeks Answers from NTA, Centre Over NEET-UG Exam

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the Central government over alleged irregularities in this year’s NEET-UG medical entrance exam, saying the “sanctity of the examination” has been affected.

A vacation bench headed by Justice Vikram Nath was hearing a petition filed by 10 NEET-UG candidates demanding a stay on the results announced on June 4 and holding of a fresh exam amid allegations of paper leaks and discrepancies.

“The matter is not so simple. The sanctity (of the examination) has been affected. We need answers for that,” the bench observed while keeping the matter for further hearing on July 8 along with a pending case on the issue.

However, the court declined to stay the ongoing counselling process for NEET admissions for the time being. It issued notices to NTA and the Centre to file their responses.

Over 2.4 million students appeared for the NEET-UG 2024 exam held on May 5 across 4,750 centres in India and abroad. But the results have been marred by controversies over alleged paper leaks, inaccurate marking, and the award of grace marks by NTA.

Several petitions have been filed across high courts challenging the NEET results. Opposition parties have also demanded probes and accused the government of compromising the integrity of the crucial entrance test.

During the hearing, the bench was apprised about an earlier Supreme Court order on May 17 dealing with the paper leak allegations. As that matter is pending before a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, the vacation bench directed NTA to file its response and said the present petition would be clubbed with the pending case.

NTA had earlier announced grace marks for 1,536 candidates from six centres who complained of not getting the full time for the exam. The marking scheme has also raised eyebrows as 67 candidates scored a perfect 720, including six who benefitted from the grace marks policy.

While NTA has denied any paper leak, the Education Ministry has set up a panel to review the grace marks awarded. The controversy has snowballed into a political firestorm, with the Congress and other parties questioning the government’s handling of the matter.

The Supreme Court has now sought answers from NTA and the Centre in the interest of protecting the “sanctity” of the crucial medical entrance exam taken by millions every year.

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