'No evidence of paper leak': Education minister Pradhan on NEET-UG result controversy

He also said that the issue of grace marks given to over 1500 students has been taken into consideration and a committee of academicians has been formed.
BJP MP Dharmendra Pradhan (C) assumes charge as Minister of Education, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Ministers of State Jayant Chaudhary (R) and Sukanta Majumdar (L) are also seen.
BJP MP Dharmendra Pradhan (C) assumes charge as Minister of Education, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Ministers of State Jayant Chaudhary (R) and Sukanta Majumdar (L) are also seen.(Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

NEW DELHI: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday rejected allegations of paper leak in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG, saying there is no evidence of it.

Pradhan's response came after the Centre told the Supreme Court that the decision to give grace marks to 1,563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates for admission to MBBS, BDS, and other medical courses has been withdrawn and these students will have the option to take a re-test on June 23. The apex court, however, did not stay the counselling process for admissions.

Denying any corruption or inefficiency on the part of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in announcing the results on June 4, Pradhan said, “There is no evidence of a paper leak in NEET-UG. The allegations of corruption in the NTA are unfounded; it is a very credible body. There is no inefficiency."

“NTA conducts three major examinations—NEET, JEE, and CUET—successfully in the country. We will take action against the people responsible. We will ensure no student is at a disadvantage," said Pradhan, who had held the education ministry portfolio in the second term of the Narendra Modi government.

“In connection with the NEET examination, 24 lakh students appeared in the examination. A hearing in the Supreme Court is underway today and this issue is regarding around 1,500 students. The government is ready to give answers to the court," he added.

Pradhan also said that an “atmosphere is being created that there has been a big anomaly concerning NEET.”

Union Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan with MOS Sukanta Majumdar and Jayant Chaudhary taking charge, in New Delhi.
Union Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan with MOS Sukanta Majumdar and Jayant Chaudhary taking charge, in New Delhi.(Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

“Some greater questions have been raised; the government is ready to address the issues of the students. The government has taken the specific incidents seriously. Those who are responsible will definitely be punished. I want to assure the students and parents that the government of India and NTA are committed to giving justice to students with all transparency. There was no paper leak."

He also said that the issue of grace marks given to over 1500 students has been taken into consideration and a committee of academicians has been formed. “If the candidates, out of the 1,563, do not wish to take the re-test, then their earlier marks, sans the grace marks, will be given for the purposes of the results,” he added.

The results of the re-test will be declared on June 30 and the counselling for admission will start on July 6.

The NEET-UG results, which were announced on June 4, the day Lok Sabha election results were announced, led to widespread protests by students and the medical fraternity, over alleged irregularities.

Allegations of question paper leak and the grant of grace marks to over 1,500 medical aspirants led to noisy protests all over the country. Cases were filed in as many as seven high courts, as well as the Supreme Court, which is hearing the matter. The next hearing in the SC is on July 6.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. Hundreds of students protested in Delhi on June 10, seeking a probe into alleged irregularities. 

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