NEET sanctity breached, retest if tainted can’t be segregated: Supreme Court : The Tribune India

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NEET sanctity breached, retest if tainted can’t be segregated: Supreme Court

Directs CBI to submit status report on probe | Next hearing on July 11

NEET sanctity breached, retest if tainted can’t be segregated: Supreme Court

Students at the Supreme Court on Monday. Mukesh Aggarwal



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, July 8

Asking the Centre not to be in self-denial, the Supreme Court on Monday highlighted several ‘red flags’ in the NEET-UG 2024 examination held on May 5 and made it clear it will order a retest if it’s found that the paper leak is widespread.

Don’t be in self-denial

Let us not be in self-denial…. One thing which is very clear is that the leak has taken place…. the question is how widespread is the leak. SC Bench

“One thing which is very clear is that the leak has taken place… That the sanctity of the exam has been breached is beyond doubt. The question is how widespread is the leak,” three-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud said, while hearing petitions seeking scrapping of NEET-UG 2024 over alleged paper leak and other malpractices.

“Is it the case of NTA today that there is no (paper) leak? We take it that there is an admitted position that there is a leak. The nature of the leak is the fact we are determining,” the CJI said.

The top court, however, said: “Before we decide to order a retest, we must understand what is the nature of (paper) leak... is it widespread or isolated… Asking 23 lakh plus students to appear for a retest is tough.”

However, it said: “In a situation where breach affects the entirety of the process and it’s not possible to segregate the beneficiaries from others, it may be necessary to order a retest.”

Around 24 lakh students appeared for NEET-UG 2024 examination conducted on May 5 by the NTA across 4,750 centres in 511 cities and 14 centres abroad for admission to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in more than 700 government and private institutions to fill 1.08 lakh seats.

Highlighting the red flags, the Bench noted an unusually high number (67) of students got a perfect score of 720 out of 720 in the results declared on June 4 and some of the rank 1 holders had the same sequence of roll numbers, which raised suspicion of malpractice and irregularities.

The Bench, which also included Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, directed the CBI to submit a status report on the probe into the paper leak and posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday i.e. July 11.

It asked the Centre and the NTA to clarify if it’s possible to identify and segregate the ‘wrongdoers’ from honest candidates. “If we have to separate the grain from the chaff, we have to identify the red flags,” it said.

The Bench sought to know the timing of paper leak and duration between leak and actual test as also the number of wrongdoers identified so far and methodology adopted for the paper leak.

The court asked the NTA to inform it about the steps taken to identify the centres and cities where the question paper leak took place, the modalities followed for identifying the beneficiaries and their numbers ascertained so far. Noting that the Centre had already set up a high-level committee headed by former ISRO Chairman Dr K Radhaakrishnan to suggest effective measures “for conducting transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations” by the NTA, the CJI hinted at adding a few more experts to the panel to make it a multi-disciplinary committee.

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