CBI probe, retest sought in NEET-UG results; NTA panel to review grace marks

Denying any irregularity, NTA Director General Subodh Kumar Singh said they have analysed everything transparently and declared the results.
Students stage a protest demanding re-examination of NEET-UG 2024 results outside the Kashi Hindu University, in Varanasi.
Students stage a protest demanding re-examination of NEET-UG 2024 results outside the Kashi Hindu University, in Varanasi.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The results of the NEET-UG exams have sparked a series of controversies over alleged irregularities, leading to many students demanding a CBI probe and a re-exam.

From a record 67 students — a first — getting first rank, to allotment of compensatory marks — again a first — to the number of candidates achieving perfect scores are all being questioned, putting the spotlight on the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the exam for admission to medical, dental, and AYUSH courses at both government and private institutions across the country.

What grabbed immediate attention was that a record of 67 students got all India 1 rank, which is highly unusual as, before this NEET-UG, it had only one or two toppers. These students scored a perfect 720 out of 720 scores with a percentile of 99.997129.

This led to allegations that the NEET-UG exams, conducted on May 5, were leaked. However, the NTA has vehemently denied the claims.

National Student Union of India (NSUI) members stage a protest against the National Testing Agency (NTA) over the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024 entrance exam results, in Bhopal, Saturday, June 8, 2024.
National Student Union of India (NSUI) members stage a protest against the National Testing Agency (NTA) over the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024 entrance exam results, in Bhopal, Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Further revelations came out that some students have secured 718 or 719 marks, which is not possible as per the marking system. This claim was again denied by NTA, claiming this was due to grace marks given to students in some centres due to loss of time.

However, more discrepancies came out when it was found that out of the 67 toppers, eight were from the same centre in Haryana, with the same sequence numbers.

Some parents have filed a complaint with Additional Deputy Commissioner Jind to probe the alleged anomalies in the exam.

Soon after these controversies surfaced, petitions were filed in various courts in India, including the Supreme Court, raising questions about the results, which were announced on June 4, a day when the Lok Sabha results were out. The NTA has denied that the results were announced in a hurry.

The NTA said the high cut-off scores were due to revision in the answer key in Physics exam and due to compensatory marks for loss of time, a fact not mentioned by NTA in its prospectus.

However, students flagged that grace marks were awarded only to those from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chhattisgarh who moved high courts, raising concerns over loss of exam time.

Speaking to this newspaper, Dr Rohan Krishnan, national chairman of the Federation of All India Medical Association, said what is worrying is that so many students got 720 marks. “It is a very sensitive exam. There are technical lapses, and should be probed.”

Dr Lakshya Mittal, president of the United Doctors Front Association, said, “We demand transparency and justice.”

NTA panel to review grace marks

As the controversy over alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG results intensified, the National Testing Authority (NTA) on Saturday announced that the education ministry has set up a four-member committee to review the grace marks awarded to over 15,000 candidates in six centres.

The announcement came amidst calls for a re-exam from students who have alleged that the grace marks awarded to make up for the loss of time at six exam centres have led to the inflation of marks, resulting in 67 candidates securing top rank, which they said have tampered their chances in getting admission.

National Testing Agency (NTA) Director General Subodh Kumar Singh addresses a press conference regarding NEET-UG medical entrance exam results, in New Delhi.
National Testing Agency (NTA) Director General Subodh Kumar Singh addresses a press conference regarding NEET-UG medical entrance exam results, in New Delhi.Photo | PTI

Denying any irregularity, NTA Director General Subodh Kumar Singh said they have analysed everything transparently and declared the results.

“A high-powered committee has been set up to review the results of over 1,500 candidates. The four-member panel headed by a former UPSC chairman will submit its recommendations within a week, and the results of these candidates might be revised,” he said at a press conference. Singh denied that awarding of grace marks in six centres has impacted the qualifying criteria. He said a total of 1,563 students — six of whom got top ranks — were given grace marks based on a normalisation formula. However, NTA has not shared the process.

He said students of the six centres received grace marks as they could not complete the exam due to administrative reasons. Singh said changes made in NCERT textbooks and grace marks for losing time at the exam centres were some of the reasons behind the students scoring high.

He denied any paper leak. “The integrity of this exam throughout the country was not compromised. We analysed our system and there was no paper leak,” Singh said.

“The concerns raised by candidates through writ petitions and representations about the loss of exam time were ascertained, and 1,563 candidates were compensated. Their revised marks varied from -20 to 720. The score of two candidates is 718 and 719 due to compensatory marks,” he added.

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