SC commences hearing on pleas related to controversy-ridden NEET-UG exam

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NEET-UG 2024 Supreme Court

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court commenced hearing on Monday more than 30 pleas related to the controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024, including those alleging irregularities and malpractices in the May 5 test and seeking a direction to conduct it afresh.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra is also hearing a separate plea of over 50 successful Gujarat-based NEET-UG candidates seeking a direction to restrain the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA) from cancelling the controversy-ridden exam.

The lawyers representing a petitioner started the submissions, saying that they were seeking the cancellation of the exam on grounds such as paper leak, OMR sheet manipulation, impersonation and cheating.

The Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts NEET-UG, recently told the apex court through their affidavits that scrapping the exam would be "counterproductive" and "seriously jeopardise" lakhs of honest candidates in the absence of any proof of large-scale breach of confidentiality.

The NTA and the Union education ministry have been at the centre of media debates and protests by students and political parties over alleged large-scale malpractices ranging from question paper leaks to impersonation in the test held on May 5.

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. Allegations of irregularities, including paper leaks, have led to protests in several cities and sparring between rival political parties.

The Centre and the NTA on June 13 told the court that they had cancelled the grace marks awarded to 1,563 candidates.

They were given the option to either take a re-test or forgo the compensatory marks awarded for loss of time.

The NTA announced the revised rank list on July 1 after issuing the results of the re-test held on June 23.

A total of 67 students had scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a Haryana centre figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities in the examination. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to the 67 students sharing the top rank.

The number of candidates sharing the top rank in the NEET-UG was reduced to 61 from 67 as the NTA announced the revised results on July 1.

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