SC notice on NTA plea for transfer of NEET-UG cases from high courts

The National Testing Agency has sought to transfer all such cases to the top court to avoid multiplicity of litigation

NSUI members protesting against the NEET-UG exam in New Delhi on 9 June (source: @IYC/X)
NSUI members protesting against the NEET-UG exam in New Delhi on 9 June (source: @IYC/X)


The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from those who had moved various high courts for a repeat of the NEET-UG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Under Graduate) 2024 exam, alleging question paper leaks and other irregularities, on a plea by the National Testing Agency (NTA) to transfer such cases to the top court to avoid multiplicity of litigation.

Several high courts have received petitions seeking relief in the form of a re-test, quashing of grace marks awarded, and an independent probe into the alleged malpractices in the 2024 NEET-UG exam held on 5 May.

A vacation bench of justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta took note of the submission of NTA counsel Vardhaman Kaushik that the pending pleas need to be transferred to the apex court. "Issue notice," the bench said, adding that the matter will be taken up for hearing on 8 July along with other related petitions on the NEET-UG row.

Kaushik, however, said the NTA wanted to withdraw three other petitions seeking a transfer of cases from high courts to the Supreme Court, as they pertained to the granting of grace marks to 1,563 candidates on account of loss of time during the examination on 5 May.

He said the NTA will be informing the high courts that the issue of grace marks has been settled and that the decision to cancel the compensatory marks given to 1,536 candidates has been taken. The bench accordingly permitted the NTA to withdraw the transfer petitions.

On 12 June, solicitor-general Tushar Mehta had told Delhi High Court that the NTA would soon approach the Supreme Court for transfer of petitions filed by NEET-UG candidates before several high courts over alleged paper leak and anomalies in evaluating answers to certain questions.

"We are filing transfer petitions in the Supreme Court because there is a likelihood of conflicting views by different high courts. Could your lordship consider waiting for a week or two? We will file a transfer petition," Mehta had told the high court.

On 14 June, the Centre and the NTA told the Supreme Court that they had decided to cancel the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses. They will have the option to either take a re-test or forgo the compensatory marks awarded to them for loss of time, the Centre had said.

The examination was held on 5 May across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates wrote it. The results were expected to be declared on 14 June but were announced on 4 June, apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets was completed earlier.

There have been allegations of question paper leaks in states like Bihar and other irregularities in the prestigious exam. The allegations have led to protests in several cities and filing of cases in seven high courts as also the Supreme Court. Scores of students protested in Delhi on 10 June seeking a probe into alleged irregularities.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

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

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