NEETexam: SC directs dual translation of question paper

NEETexam: SC directs dual translation of question paper

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the National Testing Agency, tasked to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test 2019-20 for admission to MBBS courses in medical colleges, to adopt dual translation approach to eliminate chances of ambiguity in the question paper.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao approved the new method where the translation will be done from the target language to the source language and back to the target language. For example, a question in English translated to Tamil will be re-translated back to English.

“It was also proposed that in case of any ambiguity between a regional language and English, the English version will be final,” the court noted.

The court issued the direction after considering an affidavit filed by Dr Vikas Gupta, director of National Testing Agency, as it set aside a Madras High Court judgement of July 10, 2018 that directed awarding four grace marks to 24,000 students, who wrote the NEET-UG examination in Tamil as 49 questions had been “incorrectly translated”.

Primary duty

On CBSE's plea, the top court said the Madras HC “lost sight of the primary duty of Court in such matter, that is to avoid arbitrary results”.

“The list of students who opted to write the NEET-UG 2018 examination in Tamil after the addition of 196 marks is startling. For instance, a student who got 260 marks has been awarded a total of 456 marks. A student with 137 marks becomes entitled for 333 marks and a student who got 92
marks becomes entitled for 288 marks. Even students who scored  21 marks are entitled to 217 marks,” the court said.

The court also noted that even the students writing NEET-UG examination in regional language must have basic knowledge of English as MBBS/BDS courses throughout the country are in English.

The number of students who appeared in the NEET-UG 2018 was 13,23,672, of whom roughly 10.5 lakh wrote in English, 1.5 lakh opted for regional languages and out of these nearly 24,000 candidates opted Tamil language.

“Because of a mistake in translation which could have been detected and avoided by the students, we find it unjust that all the students across the board who took the examination in Tamil have been awarded four marks for all the 49 questions without any reference to the answers to those questions,” the bench said.

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