NEET row: Supreme Court slaps notice on NTA, stays HC proceedings; no stay on counselling process

The NTA had earlier decided to withdraw the grace marks and conduct re-test for 1,563 candidates on June 23. It had said their results would be declared on June 30, so that counselling can start from July 6.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 05:52 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday once again declined to stay the proposed counselling of the NEET UG 2024 from July 6, even as it admitted for consideration fresh petitions raising question marks over alleged irregularities during the all India test on May 5.

A bench of Justices Vikram Nath and S V N Bhatti asked the Union government and the National Testing Agency, which conducted the test, to respond to the petitions filed seeking CBI inquiry into the matter.

"Let the Union government and the NTA respond to the petitions on July 8," the bench said.

As a counsel for the petitioners sought a stay on the counselling, the bench said, "No stay on the counselling. If examination goes after final hearing, then counselling also goes."

The court also referred to a case of Lucknow girl who initially claimed to have received torn OMR sheet from NTA but subsequently withdrew her petition from the Allahabad High Court after it was revealed that she used wrong registration number.

On a request made by advocate Kanu Aggarwal for the NTA, the bench stayed the proceedings pending before various High Courts with regard to the NEET UG test on a plea for transfer of those cases before the top court.

The court also issued notice to the NTA and the Centre on a plea by some candidates from Meghalaya who contended there was about 40 minutes delay on start of their examination on May 5 and they must be given a chance to appear in retest on June 23.

The counsel argued that the 12 petitioners’ from Meghalaya are similarly placed as 1563 students, who were awarded grace marks, as they lost 40-45 minutes in the exam.

The results of NEET UG 2024 were declared on June 4. Candidates at several places across the country protested against irregularities as 67 students reportedly secured the maximum marks. They demanded re examination, alleging paper leakage as Bihar, Delhi and Gujarat police lodged separate FIRs in this regard.

The Centre and the NTA agreed to hold a retest for 1563 candidates after withdrawing grace and compensatory marks awarded to them due to time loss.

A counsel raised the issue of composition of independent committee which recommended for retest for 1563 candidates.

Advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing on behalf of the 'Unacademy', contended that the Supreme Court should not rely on the reports submitted by the Grievance Redressal Committee and the High-Powered Committee since the High-Powered Committee is headed by the chairman of the NTA and therefore there is a clear conflict of interest.

He asked the court to form an independent committee and cited the Adani-Hindenburg case, where the apex court had formed an independent committee.

The bench issued notice on the plea and tagged it with the petitions listed on July 8.

The court had earlier issued notice to the Centre and NTA on pleas for holding fresh examination for admission to undergraduate courses in government and private medical colleges across the country but declined to stay the counselling process. The court had fixed all the petitions for consideration on July 8.

Published 20 June 2024, 05:52 IST

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