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'Centre denies mass malpractice in NEET UG 2024, not in favour of retest': NTA's affidavit in Supreme Court

NEET-UG is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions. This year, the exam was conducted on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 abroad. More than 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the test.

Reported By : Atul Bhatia Edited By : Shashwat Bhandari
New Delhi
Updated on: July 11, 2024 0:03 IST
National Testing Agency (NTA) -- Representational image
Image Source : FILE PHOTO National Testing Agency (NTA) -- Representational image

NEET UG paper leak case: The National Testing Agency (NTA) in its affidavit in the Supreme Court on the NEET-UG 2024 paper leak case denied any mass malpractice in the medical entrance exam. Centre said that the data analytics done by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras shows that there is neither any indication of mass malpractice nor a localised set of candidates being benefitted leading to abnormal scores.

The Centre said that counselling will be conducted in four rounds starting from the third week of July. For any candidate, if it is found that he/she has been the beneficiary of any malpractice, the candidature of such person would be cancelled at any stage during the counselling process or even afterwards, the NTA told the Supreme Court in its affidavit.

The NTA also informed the Supreme Court that the Telegram videos allegedly showing photos of leaked paper are fake and manipulated.

It said NTA has carried out an analysis of the distribution of marks of candidates in NEET-UG 2024 at the National, State and City level and also the Centre level. This analysis indicates that the distribution of marks is quite normal and there seems to be no extraneous factor, which would influence the distribution of marks.

The National Testing Agency filed its affidavit in the Supreme Court just a day before it will hear 43 petitions, filed from all across the country and transferred to the top court, in the NEET UG 2024 paper leak case.  

Retest may take place if entirety of process is affected, says SC

Observing that the sanctity of the NEET-UG 2024 has been "breached", the Supreme Court on Monday said a re-test may be ordered if the entirety of the process is affected and sought details from the National Testing Agency and the CBI including the timing and manner of the paper leak, besides the numbers of wrongdoers, to know the extent of its effect.

"Let us not be in self-denial. Self-denial is only adding to the problem," a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud told the Centre and the NTA, which conducts the prestigious test, in a string of strongly-worded observations.

"One thing which is very clear is that the leak has taken place. That the sanctity of the exam has been breached is beyond doubt. The question is how widespread is the leak," said the bench which also comprised Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra. Posing a volley of searching queries, the bench said a re-test has to be ordered if the breach in sanctity affects the entirety of the process.

The court said if the sanctity of NEET-UG 2024 is "lost" and if the leak of its question paper has been propagated through social media, then a re-test has to be ordered.

It said the extent of question paper leak and the beneficiaries across geographical boundaries have to be ascertained before the top court may order a re-test in the controversy-ridden exam which was taken up by 23.33 lakh students at 4,750 centres in 571 cities including in 14 cities overseas.

It said if the breach was confined to specific areas and it was possible to identify the wrongdoers, then it may not be appropriate to order for a re-test in an examination of such a massive scale.

The apex court said it will have to scrutinise whether the alleged breach has taken place at a "systemic level", whether it has affected the integrity of the entire exam process and whether it was possible to segregate the beneficiaries of the fraud with untainted candidates who undertook the test on May 5.

With inputs from PTI

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