Supreme Court refuses to postpone counselling, issues notice on plea to cancel May 5 exam, ET HealthWorld

Supreme Court refuses to postpone counselling, issues notice on plea to cancel May 5 exam, ET HealthWorld


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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to defer counselling for the controversy-hit NEET-UG 2024 exam, which is scheduled to begin on July 6. The court said it is not an “open and shut” process. On May 5, the apex court issued notices to the National Testing Agency (NTA), the Centre and others on a plea seeking cancellation of the exam over alleged irregularities in conducting the exam.

The vacation bench of Justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti has fixed the matter for hearing on July 8 along with other pending petitions alleging irregularities in the conduct of the examination.

The counsel appearing for the petitioners urged the bench to adjourn the counselling process for two days as the apex court is scheduled to hear all the petitions on July 8.

“I am not seeking a stay on the counselling. I am only praying that the counselling scheduled for July 6 be stayed only for two days. The reason being that the main matter is listed on July 8”, the lawyer argued.

“We are hearing the same statement. Don't think otherwise to interrupt you. Counselling is not meant to be open and shut. It is a process. The process will start from July 6”, the bench said.

When the bench asked about the duration of the first round of counselling, a lawyer appearing in the case said it would last for about a week.

The bench also considered a separate petition seeking certain directions to the NTA.

The lawyer appearing for the applicant raised the issue of re-examination to be held on June 23 and alleged that the NTA has hidden some important information. After this, the bench asked the NTA lawyer to file a reply on the application and fixed the hearing of the case on July 8.

The Centre had on June 13 told the apex court that the decision to grant grace marks to 1,563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates for admission to MBBS, BDS and other courses stands revoked and they will be given the option to appear for the re-exam on June 23.

During the hearing on Friday, the applicant's counsel raised the issue of re-examination and said that the candidates would have to go through the stress of taking the exam again.

“When there is a chance to cancel the main exam on May 5, then everything can be cancelled,” the bench said.

The bench asked the counsel, “Are you worried about him or about other candidates who are not being allowed to take the exam?”

The bench said, “What is this argument?”

The Supreme Court also considered a separate petition seeking direction to the NTA to allow a candidate suffering from a medical condition to appear for the exam again.

The counsel for the petitioner said that even before the decision to allow 1,563 candidates to appear for the re-examination was taken, the petitioner had sent a representation to the NTA to allow him to appear for the re-examination. He said the petitioner had also filed a writ petition before the Telangana High Court.

“He (petitioner) had filed a writ petition in the High Court. There also, NTA had given a statement that they will take a decision on the representation by evening and on that basis, his petition was dismissed as withdrawn,” the bench told NTA's counsel.

It said the petitioner has not received any response from the NTA on his representation till this morning.

The Supreme Court asked the NTA to decide on the representation by 4 pm today and inform the petitioner about the same through e-mail.

The bench has issued notice to NTA and others seeking response on the petition and listed the matter for next hearing on July 8.

While hearing separate petitions on the NEET (UG)-2024 exam, the apex court had on June 18 said that even if there is “0.001 per cent negligence” on the part of anyone in the conduct of the exam, it should be dealt with in the strictest sense.

The exam was held on May 5 at 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates appeared for it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14, but were announced on June 4 as the evaluation of answer sheets had already been completed.

These allegations led to protests in several cities and clashes between rival political parties.

An unprecedented 67 students in the history of NTA scored 720 marks, including six students from a centre in Faridabad, Haryana, raising suspicion of irregularities. It has been alleged that the 67 students shared the top rank because of grace marks.

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

  • Published on June 21, 2024 at 04:22 PM IST

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