NEET-UG row: Act fairly, admit if any mistake, SC tells NTA

'If there is 0.001% negligence on the part of anyone, it should be thoroughly dealt with,' observed the Supreme Court.
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 06:08 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Union government and National Testing Agency that they must act fairly and admit if any mistake has been committed in NEET UG 2024 and take appropriate action to inspire confidence of students.

A bench of Justices Vikram Nath and S V N Bhatti asked the Centre and the NTA to file their responses to the pleas for cancelling NEET UG 2024 due to paper leakage and other irregularities, saying the matter should be thoroughly investigated as students put a lot of efforts and hardwork to prepare for such examinations.

The court issued notice to the Centre and the NTA on a batch of fresh petitions, raising question mark on the conduct of examination on May 5 and declaration of results on June 4.

The court told the Centre and the NTA's counsel, "The matter ought not to be treated as adversarial. Even if there is 0.001% negligence on the part of anyone, it should be thoroughly dealt with."

"Imagine a situation if a person who has played fraud becomes a doctor, he would be more deleterious to the society. We know the amount of hard work that goes into preparation of such examinations. We want timely actions," the bench said.

Advocate Kanu Aggarwal, appearing for the Centre, "We take it absolutely seriously."

“Representing an agency, which is responsible for conducting the examination, you must stand firm and act fair. If there is a mistake, admit, yes, this is a mistake and we are going to take action. At least that inspires confidence," the bench said.

Citing June 13 order, Aggarwal said, “Perhaps that is what weighed on NTA, therefore the stand was taken on grace marks."

The bench said that it is not difficult to find where things have gone wrong. “How many cell phones were used…rarely we react, that too during vacations we react slowly,” the bench said.

The court fixed the matter for consideration on July 8, when other pleas for cancellation of examination and CBI into paper leakage would come up for hearing.

The NEET UG was conducted on May 5 for admission to undergraduate courses in government and private medical colleges across the country. About 24 lakh candidates appeared in the examination. Students at several places are, however, up in arms against the authorities over the reports of paper leakage and other malpractices like award of grace marks to 1563 candidates due to time loss.

The NTA subsequently decided to withdraw the grace marks and conduct re-test for 1563 candidates on June 23. It had said their results would be declared on June 30, so that counselling can start from July 6.

The court had approved the conduct of re-examination for 1563 candidates but declined to halt the counselling proposed to begin on July 6.

Published 18 June 2024, 06:08 IST

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