'Judges can't be subject experts': SC refuses to hear plea challenging NEET question papers

The petitioners claimed that the answer keys of four NEET questions were incorrect.

Published: 14th June 2019 07:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th June 2019 07:41 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court. (File Photo | EPS)


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea moved by a group of students claiming that the answer keys of four questions in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses were incorrect. The test was held on May 5.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Surya Kant said that the judges cannot become subject experts, and therefore, cannot sit as an appellate body over the National Testing Agency (NTA). 

"... Of late interference from courts in such issues is too much ...we sometimes think if we should consider ourselves as experts?" the court observed, while declining the plea.

The court also said that the judges are not better experts than those who have examined the questions. 

"If we become subject expert then will every multiple choice question be scrutinized by the courts?" the court asked the petitioner.

The court also declined to appoint any subject matter experts to examine the queries of the petitioner.

The petitioner, consequently, withdrew the plea from the apex court. 

The counseling for the NEET exam is scheduled on June 19.

ALSO READ | Government made Rs 15.50 crore from NEET counselling in 2018-19: RTI

On Thursday, a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi agreed to hear the writ petition, which was filed by advocate Mahfooz Nazki representing Kayathi Rohan Reddy and three others, hailing from Hyderabad. The students claimed that the error can potentially jeopardize prospects of lakhs of students, who had appeared for the test.

The counsel for the petitioners urged the top court to direct the quashing of the final answer key published on June 5 by the NTA, the agency which conducts NEET UG -2109. 

"Pertinently, no option was given to the candidates to file any objections. To the shock and chagrin of the petitioners, not only did the Key continue to have errors, some answers that had been correctly notified earlier, stood changed to a wrong answer", said the petitioners.

The court, initially, declined to allocate a hearing on the matter, but at the insistence of the counsel allowed the plea for hearing.

The petition claimed that the answer keys first published by the NTA on May 29 had a number of questions answered wrongly. 

On May 30, the petitioners, through a representation, pointed out the flaws in the official answer keys yet again, and, subsequently, these were published on June 5 after a revision.

"The respondents (authorities concerned) have not only failed to rectify the defects/errors in the question papers but have also refused to accept any representations sought to be made by the petitioners in respect of the revised key. The whole process is, therefore, vitiated and is liable to be set aside", said the petition.

It also claimed that the authorities concerned discarded the representation sent by students on June 9, citing that the matter has already been referred to the specialists in the field, and the final answer keys were published subsequently. 

The petitioners had cited National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) textbooks in their defence.


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