NEET-UG: SC adjourns petition alleging involvement of NTA officers in manipulating OMR Sheets

The Vacation Bench of Justices Manoj Misra and S.V.N. Bhatti adjourned the same to next week after asking the petitioner to withdraw a similar petition filed before the High Court.
Supreme court
Supreme courtPhoto | PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing to next week on the petition alleging the involvement of National Testing Agency (NTA) officers in manipulating the OMR sheets in the NEET-UG examination conducted on May 5.

A two-judge Vacation Bench of the top court, led by Justice Manoj Misra and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti, adjourned the plea filed by Sabareesh Rajan to next week after asking the petitioner (Rajan) to withdraw a similar petition filed before the High Court.

Rajan had moved the apex court seeking judicial intervention into the alleged paper leak, the award of grace marks for time lost, and irregularities that occurred during the conduct of the NEET-UG Examination.

During the hearing on Monday, the lawyer for the NTA pointed out that a similar writ petition had been filed before the Delhi High Court.

Opposing this, advocate Ravi Kumar, representing Rajan, clarified that while the matter was mentioned before the High Court, it had refused to hear it on the grounds that the Supreme Court was already seized of the NEET matters.

Students and many educational institutions across India had moved the Supreme Court and various State High Courts after the NEET-UG examination was mired in allegations of paper leaks, irregularities, and malpractices, seeking various directions and orders to the NTA.

A petition was also filed by a group of 10 students who had appeared for the exam, seeking directions for the CBI and the ED to investigate the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG held on May 5. The petition also sought a direction from the top court to the Bihar Police to expedite the investigation and file a report.

"The petitioners are fully aware of the ramifications of the cancellation of the examination but there is absolutely no other alternative," the plea filed before the apex court stated.

On June 22, the Supreme Court refused to defer the counselling date for the NEET-UG 2024 examination, which is set to start on July 6, noting that it is not an "open and shut" process. It said this after hearing a batch of pleas.

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The apex court issued notices to the NTA, Centre, and others, seeking their respective replies after hearing the petitions seeking cancellation of the exam over the alleged irregularities.

The top court, in another development, stayed the proceedings on the batch of pleas filed before various State High Courts on the same issue after hearing the plea filed by the NTA and issued notice on the agency's plea in connection with this year's NEET-UG exam.

All the pleas were tagged along with the pending pleas already filed before the court for further hearing on July 8, when the Supreme Court resumes after almost 45 days off for summer vacations.

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There are over 45 petitions, including a fresh petition filed by a group of 20 students who had appeared in the medical entrance exam, seeking a direction for scrapping the NEET-UG 2024 exam and an apex court-monitored probe by the CBI or any other independent agency into the alleged irregularities.

Recently, the NTA informed the apex court that scorecards of 1,563 candidates who received "grace marks" in the NEET-UG 2024 would be cancelled, and the students would have the option to reappear for the exam.

The NTA further elaborated to the apex court that a committee has been constituted to review the results of 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 be noted that the NEET-UG examination, conducted by the NTA, is the process for admission into MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

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