NEET-UG paper leak row: SC posts hearing on July 18

The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed July 18 for hearing on a batch of petitions alleging irregularities in the conduct of NEET-UG examination.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaIANS
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The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed July 18 for hearing on a batch of petitions alleging irregularities in the conduct of NEET-UG examination.

Rising early for the day, a Bench presided over by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, suggested taking up the issue for hearing on Friday at the top of the list.

The petitioner’s side suggested listing the matter for coming Monday as they were served affidavits filed by the Union government and National Testing Agency (NTA) late on Wednesday night.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the second-highest law officer of the Union government, expressed personal difficulty to appear on coming Monday and Tuesday.

Ultimately, the Bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, decided to list the batch of petitions, including pleas seeking cancellation of NEET exam, on July 18 on the joint request of the parties, noting that the CBI has put on record the status report in relation to paper leak allegations.

In its latest affidavit, the Union government told the top court that the data analysis conducted by IIT-Madras shows that there is neither any indication of mass malpractice nor a localised set of candidates being benefitted, leading to abnormal scores in NEET-UG examination held on May 5 this year.

“There is an overall increase in the marks obtained by students, specifically in the range of 550 to 720. This increase is seen across the cities and centres. This is attributed to 25% reduction in syllabus,” said Tushar Mehta, adding that candidates obtaining such high marks were spread across multiple cities and multiple centres, indicating very “less likelihood of malpractice.”

After a comprehensive data analysis using the parameters like marks distribution, city-wise and centre-wise rank distribution and candidates spread over marks-range, experts of IIT-Madras opined “no abnormality,” the affidavit said.

In an earlier hearing held on Monday, a Bench presided over by CJI Chandrachud, to decide if re-test should be ordered in entirety, directed the NTA to make full disclosure before the apex court regarding the nature of paper leak, the places where leaks took place, and lag of time between the occurrence of leak and conduct of examination.

It also asked the CBI to file a status report indicating the status of investigation and the material collected during the course of the probe.

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