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Supreme Court Directs NEET Retest After Grace Marks Controversy

Supreme Court Directs NEET Retest Candidates After Grace Marks Controversy


Supreme Court Directs NEET Retest After Grace Marks Controversy

In a significant development, the Supreme Court has directed that the scorecards of 1,563 candidates awarded grace marks in the NEET-UG 2024 examination be withdrawn. These candidates will be offered the opportunity to sit for a NEET retest, scheduled to take place on June 23. This decision follows the Union government’s submission to a Vacation Bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta on June 13.

 Scorecards Cancelled and Retest Scheduled

The Union government informed the court that 1,563 candidates who were initially granted grace marks due to not being allowed the full examination period of 3.2 hours will have their scorecards cancelled. These candidates will be notified of their actual scores, excluding the grace marks. If they choose not to participate in the NEET retest, their original scores without the grace marks will be considered final.

Controversy Over Grace Marks

The petitions challenging the award of grace marks were based on claims that these compensatory marks, awarded using a “normalisation formula,” skewed the results. The National Testing Agency (NTA) had initially recommended these marks to compensate for the lost time during the exam at specific centres. However, rising public outcry and questions regarding the fairness of this measure led to further scrutiny.

In response to the controversy, the NTA formed a subsequent committee to re-evaluate the decision to award grace marks. Between June 10 and June 12, this committee deliberated and concluded that granting compensatory marks had created an imbalanced situation. The grace marks were primarily limited to unattempted questions, further complicating the results’ fairness.

Re-examination Details

Advocate Kanu Agrawal, representing the Union, submitted that the re-examination for the 1,563 candidates would address the discrepancies. The Supreme Court recorded that candidates who opt not to take the NEET retest will have their results based on the actual marks obtained without grace marks in the original exam held on May 5, 2024. For those who choose to take the NEET retest, their new scores will replace their previous ones.

Senior advocate Naresh Kaushik, appearing for the NTA, confirmed that the re-examination date would be officially notified on June 13, with the likely date set for June 23. The results of this retest are expected to be declared by June 30, ensuring that the counselling sessions scheduled for July 6 remain unaffected.

How Grace Marks Led to 67 Students with Perfect Scores

The NTA revealed that 17 students scored a perfect 720/720 in NEET-UG 2024, including six out of the 1,563 candidates who received grace marks. Additionally, 44 students were awarded AIR 1 after being given grace marks for a disputed physics question. Based on an old NCERT book, this question on atoms was marked as correct in the provisional answer key released on May 29. However, 13,373 students contested this answer, arguing it did not align with the old NCERT books. The NTA clarified that the question paper was based on the new NCERT book, leading to the adjustment of scores for 44 candidates from 715 to a perfect 720, resulting in an unprecedented number of NEET-UG toppers this year.

Court’s Response to Ongoing Allegations

The Supreme Court’s decision to dispose of the pleas regarding the grace marks does not address all concerns. Allegations of question paper leaks and other irregularities remain unresolved. The court has directed the NTA to file a comprehensive response to these allegations within two weeks, with further hearings scheduled.

Previous Hearings and Petitions

Earlier, the Supreme Court had scheduled the next hearing for another petition, filed by 10 candidates, for July 8. One notable petition was filed by Alakh Pandey, CEO of the online ed-tech platform Physics Wallah, represented by advocate J. Sai Deepak. Pandey’s petition claimed that the NTA’s decision to award grace marks was arbitrary and unfair.

Implications and Future Steps

This ruling marks a pivotal moment for the integrity of the NEET-UG 2024 examination process. The re-examination aims to restore fairness for the affected candidates while addressing the broader concerns of multiple stakeholders. As the NTA prepares for the NEET retest and subsequent responses to ongoing allegations, the education community and candidates nationwide await further developments.

The Supreme Court’s actions underscore the critical need for

transparency and fairness in standardised testing, setting a precedent for handling similar issues. The forthcoming weeks will be crucial in determining the outcomes for NEET-UG 2024 and the implications for examination protocols in India.

NEET UG 2024 Result Controversy Highlights

  • June 10: Numerous students protested in Delhi, demanding an investigation into the suspected irregularities in the NEET UG 2024 results.
  • On June 12, the NTA released an FAQ addressing the allegation of a paper leak, stating that it was invalid.
  • June 13: The Supreme Court ordered a re-exam for the 1,563 candidates awarded grace marks. Those who opt out of the retest will have their original marks, without the grace marks, considered final.
  • The Supreme Court directed the NTA to ensure that the declaration of results is not delayed and that the counselling process proceeds without hindrance.
  • Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan denied allegations of a paper leak in NEET UG 2024 on June 13.
  • The NTA constituted a four-member panel to review the NEET UG 2024 result controversy, including members from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), and two members from the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).



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