The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has placed the blame for errors in translation on the Tamil Nadu government. In its petition filed at the Supreme Court on Thursday, CBSE said that it had entrusted the duty of translating the question paper to the experts recommended by the TN government.
The petition was submitted as part of CBSEâs appeal against the July 10-order of the Madurai bench of Madras High Court, which had directed the board to award 196 grace marks to students who took NEET in Tamil. The petitioner, a CPI (M) MP TK Rangarajan had submitted that 49 questions were mistranslated and hence 4 marks each must be awarded to students.
The petition also claimed that from the discussions that the CBSE had with âother persons having knowledge of Tamilâ, it has been understood that there was no ambiguity or any error in the question paper.
Claiming that upholding the order of the HC would cause âchaotic discriminationâ among the students who had taken the test, the CBSE held that awarding an extra 196 marks would sometimes lead to the student scoring more marks than the maximum marks stipulated in the exam.
âWith the indulgence of the orders passed by this Honâble Court for ensuring no hiccup or ambiguity of any kind in the conduct of Common entrance Test of NEET-UG in regional languages, the CBSE prepares the question paper in the English language, which is then given to the academician/experts in subject and regional languages, in the present case, Tamil language, by the translators recommended/provided by the State of Tamil Nadu to the CBSE,â the petition said.
Claiming that the CBSE has always undertaken steps to ensure that the NEET-UG test was conducted with âutmost transparencyâ to select the most meritorious candidate for admission into MBBS, it also said that NEET tests the merit of all participating candidates on a common pedestal.
Implying that the students, however, cannot claim to not know English, CBSE submitted that passing English language in Class 12 level is a pre-condition for participating in NEET. It also said that the entire course of MBBS/BDS is imparted in English.
The petition stated, âIn other words, each candidate who undertakes the Common entrance Test of NEET-UG in any regional language, in the copy of the question paper given to a candidate, the candidate can simultaneously read each question both in the regional language, which is Tamil in the present case, and simultaneously the same question in the English language.â
Further defending its position, CBSE stated that clear instructions were provided to all the students taking the test that in case of ambiguity in question, the English version of the question would be the final one.
âFurther, it is most respectfully submitted that each candidate, who undertakes the Common Entrance Test of NEET-UG in any regional language, is put on a clear and specific notice that in the event of any ambiguity of any kind whatsoever in understanding of any question, the question paper as framed in English language will be held to be the question to be answered by each candidate even when they are answering in any regional language,â said the petition.
In its plea, CBSE also indicated that the Madurai bench of Madras High Court had not considered the probability of the students giving wrong answers to questions. It implied that the court had assumed that the all the students would answer all 49 questions correctly and thereby directed the CBSE to award 196 marks. CBSE placed this argument before the apex court based on the order of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court in June 16, which directed the CBSE to award proportionate marks to students who had to start their exams late due to mismanagement by the officials at the exam centre.
The CBSE further asserted that the order by the Madras HC has left many candidates who had cleared NEET stranded since the counselling was suspended after the first round conducted by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar, on Thursday, said that the CBSE had entrusted the process of translating the NEET question paper into Tamil to the translators mentioned in the list provided by the government of Tamil Nadu.
NEET was conducted on May 6 across the country and more than 23000 students took the exam in Tamil. The first round of counselling for admissions into medical colleges in Tamil Nadu was completed in the first week of July. Post the HC order on July 10, further rounds of counselling have been suspended.