NEET-UG 2024: SC Seeks NTA Response on Plea Seeking Re-Examination

NEET-UG 2024

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA) to respond on a plea seeking a fresh conduct of the NEET-UG 2024 medical entrance exam. The plea is based on allegations of a question paper leak and other malpractices.

Acknowledging the seriousness of the allegations, a vacation bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah emphasized the importance of addressing the concerns raised. They stated, “It is not that simple that because what you have done is sacrosanct. Sanctity has been affected, so we need answers.”

While the court declined to halt the counseling process for successful candidates seeking admissions to MBBS, BDS, and other courses, it issued notices to the Centre, NTA, and the Bihar government, responding to allegations of malpractice in the state.

The bench inquired about the timeline for receiving responses, particularly considering the imminent commencement of counseling. They noted, “How much time do you want? Immediately on the re-opening? Otherwise, the counselling will start.”

Petitions By Aspirants

The plea, filed by Shivangi Mishra and nine other MBBS aspirants, was tagged with a pending petition, and the NTA was instructed to file its response during the interim period. Regular hearings at the apex court will resume on July 8 following the summer vacation.

NEET-UG 2024 took place on May 5, with results declared on June 4, earlier than the expected date of June 14. The examination, conducted by the NTA, serves as a gateway for admissions to various medical and related courses across the country.

While directing the NTA to respond, the bench dismissed the request for staying the counseling process, affirming, “Let the counselling start, we are not stopping the counselling… We will not stop the counselling.”

The court acknowledged submissions to consolidate the fresh plea with an earlier similar petition, which is scheduled for hearing on July 8.

Allegations of Rampant Malpractices

The fresh plea alleged rampant malpractices during NEET-UG 2024, contending that these infringements violated Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality. It was filed by Shivangi Mishra and others on June 1, prior to the declaration of results.

Following the declaration of results, additional petitions have been filed challenging the NTA’s decision to award grace marks to several candidates. These petitions are yet to be listed for hearing.

Pending Petitions and Allegations

On May 17, a bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud refused to stay the NEET-UG 2024 results but agreed to issue notice regarding the plea for re-examination.

Similar petitions are also pending in various high courts, addressing allegations such as paper leaks in Patna and distribution of incorrect question papers in Rajasthan. Reports have also highlighted an unusually high number of candidates achieving a perfect score of 720 out of 720.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte