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SC to hear batch of pleas related to NEET-UG today

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Retest for CUET-UG candidates only if grievance raised by them found correct

NEW DELHI, July 7: The Supreme Court will hear on Monday a batch of pleas related to the controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024, including those alleging irregularities and malpractices in the May 5 test and seeking a direction to conduct it afresh.
The Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts NEET-UG, recently told the apex court that scrapping the exam would be “counterproductive” and “seriously jeopardise” lakhs of honest candidates in the absence of any proof of large-scale breach of confidentiality.
According to the cause list for July 8 uploaded on the court’s website, a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra is scheduled to hear a total of 38 petitions related to the exam.
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.
The NTA and the Union education ministry have been at the centre of media debates and protests by students and political parties over alleged large-scale malpractices ranging from question paper leaks to impersonation in the test held on May 5.
The Union education ministry and the NTA have filed separate affidavits in the apex court, opposing the pleas which have sought scrapping of the exam, a re-test and a court-monitored probe into the entire gamut of issues involved.
In their responses, they have said the CBI, the country’s premier investigating agency, has taken over the cases registered in different states.
“It is also submitted that at the same time, in the absence of any proof of any large-scale breach of confidentiality in a pan-India examination, it would not be rational to scrap the entire examination and the results already declared,” the Centre said in its preliminary affidavit filed by a director in the ministry of education.
“Scrapping the exam in entirety would seriously jeopardise the lakhs of honest candidates who attempted the question paper in 2024,” the ministry said.
The NTA, in its separate affidavit, reiterated the Centre’s stand and said, “The cancellation of the entire examination on the basis of the aforesaid factor, would be hugely counterproductive and significantly harmful to the larger public interest, especially to the career prospects of the qualified candidates.” The agency said the entirety of the NEET-UG 2024 exam was carried out fairly and with due confidentiality without any illegal practices, and the claim of “mass malpractice” during the exam is “completely unfounded, misleading, and lacks any basis”.
“It is submitted that if the entire examination process is cancelled without there being any tangible factors warranting such actions it would be highly detrimental to the larger public interest involving the academic career of lakhs of students who have attempted the examination fairly without any wrongdoing or even an allegation of wrongdoing,” the NTA said.
The ministry and the NTA have said there was no proof of any large-scale breach of confidentiality in the examination which was taken by over 23 lakh candidates at 4,750 centres in 571 cities.
The government said it has constituted a high-level committee of experts to suggest effective measures for conducting transparent, smooth and fair examinations by the NTA.
Retest only if greivance raised valid
The National Testing Agency will conduct a retest for CUET-UG candidates from July 15 to 19 if any grievance raised by them about the conduct of the exam is found correct, officials said on Sunday.
The NTA also announced the answer key for the undergraduate entrance exam, paving the way for the announcement of the results, albeit delayed.
“The candidates can submit their challenges for the answer key by 6 pm on July 9,” a senior NTA official said.
“The NTA is also addressing public grievances regarding the exam conducted for CUET-UG that were received up to June 30. If a grievance is found genuine, the NTA is committed to redoing the exam for these candidates at selected centres any day between July 15 and 19,” the official added.
While the NTA officials did not comment on the grievances received by the agency, candidates claimed there was loss of time at certain exam centres and technical issues.
“Challenges made by the candidates will be verified by a panel of subject experts. Based on the revised final answer key, the result will be declared,” the official said.The delay in CUET-UG results comes amid a raging row over alleged irregularities in competitive exams, including NEET and NET.
The CUET-UG exam conducted in a hybrid mode for the first time across the country was cancelled in Delhi a night before the exam, citing logistical reasons. The exam was conducted in the national capital later.
The NTA had earlier announced that the third edition of CUET-UG will be completed in seven days and there will be no normalisation of scores as all exams will be conducted in a single shift.
For 15 subjects, the tests were in pen-paper mode and for the other 48 subjects, the exam was held in computer-based mode.Over 13.4 lakh candidates registered for the common entrance test for admission to undergraduate courses in 261 central, state, deemed and private universities this year. (PTI)

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