NEET-UG: Petitioner to file interlocutory application in SC urging to freeze seat allocation

Hyderabad: After the Supreme Court refused to stay the counselling and issued notice to the National Testing Agency (NTA) seeking clarifications with regard to allegations of question paper leaks in this year’s NEET-UG, advocate J. Nedumpara Mathews, appearing for one of the petitioners, said that their next course of action would be to file an interlocutory petition and try to convince the apex court to stay the allocation of seats in medical colleges.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Mathews said, “The court acknowledged that the sanctity of the exam had been defeated. I believe there should be a retest as it affects a large number of students. Many students were claiming way before the exam that they had the answers before them.” The advocate said that most students who had attained good ranks was undeserving. “The evidence we have got has come from the students themselves. A CBI-level inquiry should take place to investigate this matter. These paper leaks could not have happened without the connivance of an official.”
Mathews said that the number of students who had scored more than 650 marks, out of the total 720, this year was five times higher than in 2023. The number of students scoring 720/720 had shot up manifold.
In Telangana, students from a centre in Asifabad claimed that the question paper set they received — MNOP — was different from the one received by those of other centres which was coded QRSD. “Ours was a little tougher and it affected our marks. The NTA did not mention anything regarding a separate paper set and we were not given grace marks either,” said Swathi Chunarkar, a student who appeared from this centre. About 299 students from the Asifabad centre received marks in the range of 350 to 500. They have written to the Telangana High Court highlighting the issue.
“On May 4, the day before the test, students had expressed concerns regarding the question paper leaks. On social media, many had shared their worries. The NTA wants to sidestep responsibility wants to portray that the issue only concerns 1,568 students who received grace marks. Many more students have been affected," said Dr Navadeep Ashwini, state secretary, Indian Medical Association, Medical Students Network.
Dr Ashwini shared some screenshots with Deccan Chronicle of Telegram chats, where a person named Vishal Chaurasia had claimed to have sold question papers to about 80 students for crores of rupees. As per the chats, Chaurasia claimed after the results that only eight students had genuinely earned 720 marks whereas the rest had got the paper from him.
Chairman of the Telangana Medical Council Dr Srinivas Gundagani said, “The NTA is only responding to the practicality of conducting the exam for about 24 lakh students. They have not clarified various other issues associated with the exam. They have cited a 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court for awarding grace marks but that judgment does not even apply to medical exams.” NTA used a Supreme Court judgment dated 13.06.2018 in writ petition 551 of 2018 to compensate candidates for the loss of time. The judgment stated that it pertains to “3100-Admission To Educational Institutions Other Than Medical & Engineering.” The writ petition was filed for time loss for the National Law Admission Test (NLAT) held in 2018 where a few candidates who lost time due to login issues, screen freeze and software crash.
“First of all, giving grace marks for competitive exams is not right. Grace marks are given for routine academic exams and in a subjective paper. Compensation of loss of time with grace marks does not make sense,” said Dr Ravi Teja, associate professor, radiology, at Osmania Medical College.
Dr Gundagani added that 47 students had got the first all-India rank due to grace marks. The cutoff mark this year was about 100 points higher than last year, causing an inflation of 60,000 ranks. “The NTA needs to clarify these issues as well. Students have been facing many problem because of this. Effective enquiries need to be done,” he said.
( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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