The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) today moved the Supreme Court seeking an immediate stay on the Madras High Court order restraining the publication of results of NEET 2017 for admission to MBBS and BDS courses across the country.
The High Court had on May 24 granted interim stay on the publication of NEET results on a batch of pleas alleging that a uniform question paper was not given in the examination and there was a vast difference between the ones in English and in Tamil.
The CBSE mentioned the matter before a vacation bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Deepak Gupta and said that due to the High Court's order, the entire schedule of counselling and subsequent admission for medical courses through NEET has gone "haywire".
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, representing the CBSE, told the bench that National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination 2017 was conducted by the board and around 12 lakh candidates have appeared in it.
The apex court said it would hear on June 12 the matter which concerns the fate of around 12 lakh aspirants for MBBS and BDS courses.
Around 10.5 lakh students have given the exam in either Hindi or English while around 1.25 lakh to 1.50 lakh students have appeared in eight vernacular languages.
Singh told the apex court that a number of pleas have been filed in various high courts in NEET-related matters and High Courts have entertained these petitions despite the apex court's order that no other court shall hear such matters.
He also sought transfer of petitions from various High Courts to the apex court which concerns the NEET for the academic year 2017-18.
Singh said challenge to the different sets of questions in vernacular languages were on wrong assumptions that they were difficult as the experts had examined that they were different from those in English or Hindi medium but the level of difficulty cannot be said to be different.
He said that questions were different to keep the larger interest protected on the ground that if there was a leakage of a set of paper in a vernacular language, the majority of students would be protected as candidates appearing in any particular language were less than those opting for English or Hindi.
The High Court had also directed the Medical Council of India, the director of CBSE and the Union Health Ministry to file counter affidavits on these pleas pending before it.
The petitioners before the high court have demanded that the NEET 2017 be cancelled and a fresh exam with a uniform question paper be conducted.
They have claimed that different sets of question paper had been used at various places, though a common syllabus had been announced.
In Tamil Nadu, the question papers were different for those who opted English and Tamil and the one in Tamil was easier, they have claimed.