NEET-UG 2024 exam: SC stays proceedings before state High Courts; issues notice on NTA plea

The petition, filed by by a group of 20 students who had appeared for the medical entrance exam, has also sought a direction from the top court to the NTA and others to conduct the test afresh.
Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.
Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.FILE Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Thursday in its order stayed the proceedings before the State High Courts after hearing the plea filed by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and issued notice on the agency's plea on the same issue in connection with this year's National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) exam.

The apex court's two-judge Vacation Bench, led by Justice Vikram Nath and Justice SVN Bhatti, on Thursday, stayed the proceedings related to NEET-UG exam, before various state High Courts, as the NTA told the SC that the pleas filed across various state HCs be transferred to the top court.

The case has been tagged along with the pending pleas already before it and it fixed the matter to be heard next on July 8, when the SC would be open, over almost 45 days off, after summer vacations.

During the course of the hearings, the lawyer for the NTA asked the Court for a stay on High Court proceedings, the Court allowed it's appeal and said, "Please tell the High court that notice has been issued now."

The top court, however, refused to stay the counselling on the NEET-UG. "No stay on counselling. If examination goes after final hearing, then counselling also goes," the top court said, in its order.

There are more than 35 petitions, including a fresh petition filed by a group of 20 students, who had appeared in the medical entrance exam, in the Supreme Court, seeking a direction for scrapping of the NEET-UG 2024 exam and an apex court-monitored probe by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or any other independent agency into the alleged irregularities in the test held on May 5.

The petition, filed by these 20 students who had appeared for the medical entrance exam, has also sought a direction from the top court to the NTA and others to conduct the test afresh.

Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.
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"The sanctity of the examination is questionable in view of the confirmed cases of leakage of question paper, with respect to which FIRs have been lodged and several persons have been arrested, as per the media reports," the plea, drawn by advocate Dheeraj Singh, said.

The plea sought a direction for a Court appointed Committee, or any independent agency to conduct post-exam analysis including academic background check, forensic analysis, and investigate all such candidates who have scored 620 and above, under the supervision of the top court.

"Issue rule, order or direction by scrapping the NEET(UG)-2024 examination conducted on May 05, 2024 and to further direct the respondents to conduct the same afresh," the petition copy, accessed by TNIE, filed before the top court, said.

The petitioners also sought direction to the respondents (Union of India, NTA and Others) to take effective steps to ensure transparency and fairness in the examination process and to address the concerns pertaining to fraudulent practices, leakage of question papers, impersonation, unfair means, etc in NEET(UG) in future.

The fresh plea of these 20 students, said that in view of the 'rampant irregularities and fraudulent practices', re-examination would only help in short-listing deserving students to get admission in medical institutions.

Recently, a two-judge vacation bench of the top court, led by Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sandeep Mehta sought the response from NTA within two weeks, raising similar issues of malpractices and irregularities in the NEET-UG, before it, which are listed on July 8.

Recently, the NTA had told the apex court that score-cards of 1563 candidates who "got grace marks" in the NEET-UG 2024, will be cancelled and the students will have the option to reappear for the exam.

NTA had also further elaborated to the apex court that a committee has been constituted to review the results of over these 1,563 candidates who were awarded “grace marks” to compensate for the loss of time suffered while appearing for the exam.

It is to ne noted that NEET-UG examination, conducted by NTA, and is the process for getting admitted into MBBS, BDS and AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.
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