Sanctity Of NEET Affected Supreme Court Seeks Response From NTA, Refuses To Halt NEET 2024 Counselling

New Delhi: Discussing the plea alleging paper leaks and seeking a re-examination of NEET 2024, the Supreme Court of India today issued a notice to the National Testing Agency (NTA). Seeking the agency’s response in the matter, the bench strongly observed, “Sanctity has been affected, so we need answers.” While the apex court has listed the matter for further hearing on July 8th, 2024, it has refused to halt the NEET 2024 counseling process. A vacation bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah was approached by the petition filed by Shivangi Mishra and nine others on June 1.

During today’s hearing, the counsel for the NTA submitted that the petition should be tagged along with an earlier petition on which notice was issued by a bench led by the Chief Justice of India on May 17. That petition is listed for July 8, he informed. The bench then posted the present petition along with the earlier petition which is listed on July 8.

The petition claimed that NEET-UG 2024 was fraught with “irregularities,” citing numerous instances of paper leaks that had come to the petitioners’ attention.

The purported paper leak was in breach of Article 14 (right to equality) under the Constitution, as it unfairly advantaged certain candidates over others who attempted the examination honestly, according to a TOI report.

Upon acknowledging the petition, Justice Amanullah informed the counsel for the National Testing Agency,

“It isn’t as straightforward as assuming that your actions are unquestionable. The integrity of the process has been compromised, so we need answers.”

“How much time do you need? Can you provide answers as soon as the court reopens? Otherwise, the counseling process will begin,” Justice Amanullah informed the NTA’s counsel.

Pending Matter Before Supreme Court:

Several petitions have been submitted to the Supreme Court, alleging irregularities in the conduct of NEET 2024, including the ‘arbitrary’ awarding of grace marks. Today, the apex court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking the cancellation of NEET 2024 due to an alleged paper leak and other irregularities this year. Similar petitions are also pending in various High Courts, including those in Delhi and Calcutta.

One of the petitions before the Supreme Court specifically refers to allegations that the paper was leaked in Patna and that incorrect question papers were distributed to candidates in Rajasthan. On May 17, while considering another petition seeking similar relief, the Supreme Court refused to stay the declaration of the NEET-UG exam results. Although the bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, issued a notice on that petition and scheduled the matter for July, it stated that the results of the exams held on a pan-India basis could not be stayed.

NEET UG 2024 Results and Alleged Irregularities:

This year’s NEET results were surprising, with 67 candidates achieving All India Rank 1 in the MBBS entrance exam. Following reports of numerous students scoring perfect marks (720 out of 720), allegations of a NEET paper leak scam began circulating on social media.

Several users on X (formerly Twitter), including doctors and health activists, questioned the NEET marking pattern, particularly how some candidates secured 718 or 719 marks. According to the NEET marking scheme, candidates receive 4 marks for every correct answer, and 1 mark is deducted for each incorrect answer. Therefore, after achieving full marks (720), candidates could only score 716 marks if they left one question unanswered, and 715 marks if they answered one question incorrectly.

Concerns were also raised about multiple students from the same centre securing the AIR 1 rank. When the NTA justified the NEET 2024 conduct by stating that several candidates were awarded grace marks to compensate for lost time, further questions arose.

Backlash from Candidates:

Candidates from various states have been protesting, both in the streets and on social media, against the alleged irregularities in NEET and are demanding action from the authorities.

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