Supreme Court to Hear Petitions on NEET-UG 2024 Exam Amid Allegations of Irregularities

National Desk, 8th July: The Supreme Court is set to hear a series of petitions on Monday (July 8) concerning the NEET-UG 2024 medical entrance exam, which has faced allegations of irregularities and malpractices. The petitions include requests for the exam to be conducted afresh following claims of paper leaks and discrepancies in the awarding of grace marks during the May 5 test.

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, will review 38 petitions related to NEET-UG, a crucial nationwide test for admissions to medical courses such as MBBS, BDS, and AYUSH across India.

Controversy arose after an unprecedented 67 students scored a perfect 720, raising suspicions when six top scorers were found to be from a single center in Haryana. The results, initially scheduled for release on June 14, were announced on June 4, further fueling allegations of misconduct. These issues have sparked protests and political backlash from opposition parties across the country.

The government and the National Testing Agency (NTA), responsible for administering NEET-UG, oppose calls to scrap the exam, arguing there is no substantial evidence of a large-scale breach and that canceling the exam would negatively impact thousands of honest candidates. The Union Education Minister, in an affidavit, stated, “Scrapping the entire examination would not be rational without proof of a widespread breach of confidentiality.”

The NTA echoed this sentiment, labeling the cancellation of the exam as “counterproductive and significantly harmful” to public interest and the careers of qualified candidates. The agency insists that the exam was conducted fairly and securely, dismissing claims of widespread malpractice as “unfounded and misleading.”

On June 11, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the “sanctity of the exams has been affected” and demanded answers from the Centre and NTA. Justice Amanullah remarked, “Sanctity has been affected, so we need answers.”

The petitions seek not only the cancellation and retest of the exam but also a court-monitored investigation into the alleged irregularities. Over 23 lakh candidates took the NEET-UG 2024 exam across 4,750 centers in 571 cities.

Amid the controversy, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated a probe into the allegations. The government has also established a high-level expert committee to recommend measures for ensuring transparent and fair examinations by the NTA. Additionally, the chairman of the NTA has been replaced amidst the ongoing investigation.

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