NEET-UG paper leak: SC asks Centre, NTA to initiate action against wrong beneficiaries, next hearing on July 11

by IANS |

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Asking the Centre and National Testing Agency (NTA) about the action initiated against the wrong beneficiaries in the NEET-UG examination held on May 5, the Supreme Court on Monday remarked that denial to the allegations of paper leak is only adding to the problem.

To decide if a re-test should be ordered in entirety, a bench, headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud directed the NTA to make a full disclosure before the apex court regarding the nature of the paper leak, the places where leaks took place, and lag of time between the occurrence of the leak and the conduct of the examination.

The Bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, asked the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to file a status report indicating the status of investigations and the material collected during the course of investigations.

"The IO shall place the material collected during the course of investigation when the leak is alleged to have taken place and when the leaked question paper was made available,” it ordered.

Further, the apex court said if feasible, it would utilise technology and law to identify the beneficiary of wrongdoings, so 23 lakh students do not need to appear in re-exam.

The matter will be heard next on July 11.

In a preliminary affidavit filed before the top court last week, the Centre opposed the cancellation of the NEET-UG exam saying that scrapping the entire exam would seriously jeopardise the lakhs of honest candidates who attempted the question paper held on May 5.

The affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Education said: "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. It is submitted that in any examination, there are competing rights that have been created whereby the interests of a large number of students who have taken the examination without adopting any alleged unfair means must not also be jeopardised."

As regards the alleged instances of irregularities, including cheating, impersonation, and malpractices, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is undertaking an investigation and has taken over the cases registered in different states, it added.

The issue relating to the grant of grace marks in the NEET-UG exam has already been closed by the Supreme Court after NTA submitted the scorecards of 1,563 candidates, who were awarded compensatory marks on account of the loss of time, had been withdrawn and cancelled. These candidates were given the option to appear in a re-test or may appear in counselling on the basis of actual marks obtained in the exam without normalisation.

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