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Government to go by SC ruling concerning NEET-UG exam, steps will be taken to bring more transparency: Dharmendra Pradhan

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan (Photo: ANI)

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that the government has accepted the Supreme Court’s decision that 1.563 candidates who had been compensated for “time loss” in NEET-UG exam be given the option to either reappear in the exam or accept the original total, without grace marks.

Pradhan hoped that the doubts surrounding the NEE-UG exam will end following the Supreme Court observations.

National Testing Agency, which holds the NEET-UG exam, said on Thursday said that the grace or compensatory marks awarded to all 1563 students stand withdrawn.

“Subsequent to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Observations on the Report of NTA’s High Powered Committee, the grace / compensatory marks awarded to all 1563 students stand withdrawn. A re-test of all the 1563 candidates will be held on June 23, 2024,” NTA said in a communication.

“NTA will issue a Public Notice shortly and will also contact these 1563 candidates through email to ensure that they receive the official communication,” it added.

Pradhan said that NEET-UG exam is conducted in around 4,500 centres and some centres abroad also.

“Regarding the NEET issue, the Supreme Court made a decision today. Around 24 lakh students appeared for the NEET exam and around 13 lakh students qualified. Around 4,500 centres are there for the exams conducted in 13 languages. This time when the exam was held, in six centres out of 4500 centres, the wrong question papers were sent mistakenly,” he said.

“The correct question paper was later provided but this took a little bit of time. Around 1,563 students were giving the exams in these centres and had to face time loss. Supreme Court’s standing order says that instead of re-examination, grace marks are given,” he added.

Pradhan said NTA constituted an expert committee and applied the grace mark rule.

“Later it was found that some students got 100 per cent marks. After this, some people went to the Court. Supreme Court made it clear that 1,563 students will be given the option to either reappear in the NEET exam or accept the original marks (without grace marks). I accept the verdict of the Supreme Court. The government has taken this issue seriously. Over 50 lakh students appear for NEET, JEE and CUET exams that are conducted by NTA. Action will be taken on the people responsible for creating problems in the examination,” he added.

The minister said some other issues have come to the notice of government and government has taken them seriously.

He said NTA’s credibility has increased as it was conducting NEET, JEE and CUET exams and steps will be taken to bring more transparency to so that there are no doubts.

He said the government will present its viewpoint on the larger issue pending before the Supreme Court.

Pradhan had earlier told the media that there has been “no paper leak” in the NEET-UG paper and government is ready to give answers to the Supreme Court which is hearing the petitions related to the exam.

Pradhan took charge as Union Education Minister for his second successive term on Thursday.

“I want to assure the students and their parents that the Government of India and NTA are committed to providing justice to them. Twenty-four lakh students have successfully taken the NEET examination. There is no paper leak, no proof has been found yet. A court-recommended model was adopted for around 1560 students and a panel of academicians has been formed for the same…We will accept the verdict of the Court,” he said.

“There is no corruption. In connection with the NEET examination, 24 lakh students appear in the examination. A hearing in the Supreme Court is underway today and this issue is regarding around 1,500 students. Govt is ready to give answers to the Court. This specific issue is being taken into consideration and a committee of academicians has been formed. The Government will present this in front of the Court…NTA conducts 3 major examinations that is NEET, JEE and CUET successfully in the country…We will take action against the people responsible…,” he added.

Answering queries, Pradhan said the system of two sets of question papers “is not a new practice”.

“It has been in practice for many years. The final set is decided on the day of the examination, just before the exam. In six centres, the wrong set was circulated which delayed the exam there, by 40 minutes. The issue pertains to that incident only. The practice of two sets of question papers didn’t appear suddenly,” he said.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that score-cards of 1563 candidates who got “grace marks” in the 2024 National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) exam will be cancelled and the candidates will have a chance to reappear for the exam.

NTA told a bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta that a committee has been constituted to review the results of over 1,563 candidates who were awarded “grace marks” to compensate for the loss of time suffered while appearing for NEET-UG.

“The Committee has decided to cancel the score-cards of 1563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates who were given grace marks and these students will be given the option to take a re-test,” NTA said.

“Exam will be conducted on June 23 and result will be declared before June 30,” it added.

The Apex Court reiterated that it will not stay the counselling of NEET-UG, 2024.

“Counselling will go on and we will not stop it. If the exam goes then everything goes in totality so nothing to fear,” said the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court will hear the petitions on July 8.

The Court took into record the statement of NTA that a re-test of 1563 students will be notified today itself and it would likely be held on June 23 and results would be declared before June 30 so that counselling which is set to begin in July is not affected.

Advocate Shwetank said they filed PIL regarding the NEET exam issue “and our main issue was regarding the paper leak and other malpractices by the NTA”.

“The Court has directed that a re-examination will be conducted on 23rd June.”

Aspirants have raised the issue of leakage of question paper, awarding compensatory marks and anomalies in question of NEET 2024.

Several petitions were filed in the apex court seeking direction to recall NEET-UG 2024 results and to conduct the examination afresh, alleging paper leakage and malpractices in the test held on May 5.

NEET-UG examination, conducted by NTA, is paves the way for admission to MBBS, BDS and AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.