NEET UG 2024 Controversy: Chronology Of Events Explained, What Next?

NEET UG 2024 Controversy: Chronology Of Events Explained, What Next?

Now that the Supreme Court of India has declared its verdict in line with the Centre's proposal of discarding grace marks for all 1563 candidates and giving them an option to appear for the re-test, here is a look at how the events unfolded.

Siksha MUpdated: Thursday, June 13, 2024, 04:33 PM IST
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The NEET UG 2024 exam has been mired with controversies surrounding paper leak, misconduct of examination and unfair means allegations. The exam which was held on May 5 has been a centre of debate right from the conduct of exam to the declaration of result with students and experts taking to social media and streets to out their demands about conducting re-examination.

Now that the Supreme Court of India has declared its verdict in line with the Centre's proposal of discarding grace marks for all 1563 candidates and giving them an option to appear for the re-test, here is a look at how the events unfolded.

NEET UG 2024 Exam Controversy: Grace Marks

Grace marks were awarded to 1563 students from 5 centres due to alleged time loss in these centres. The NTA came up with an explanation after social media was filled with posts demanding explanation for students receiving 718,719 marks which is unattainable in normal circumstances due to negative marking in the exam.

NTA's response for the same included the fact of time loss. According to NTA, it received several court cases and representations from NEET (UG) 2024 candidates, all of whom expressed worry regarding time lost during the exam on May 5, 2024. The NTA considered these cases and representations, and in order to compensate for the candidates' lost time, the normalisation formula—which the Supreme Court accepted in its June 13, 2018 judgment—was implemented.

However, the normalisation adopted by NTA led to another controversy as many claimed that the formula was accepted by SC for an online exam like CLAT and thus the same cannot be applied to an exam like NEET, which is online.

Increase in Toppers

This year, a staggering 67 candidates achieved perfect scores and grabbed AIR 1 which left many doubts. Doubts were also raised about 5 toppers achieving perfect score from the same centre in Haryana.

The NTA responded by stressing the increasing number of test takers this year. According to the NTA, the number of students taking the NEET 2024 exam grew by around 15%. "The number of candidates who appeared in 2023 was 20,38,596, but the number of candidates who appeared in 2024 climbed to 23,33,297. Because there were more candidates, there was a natural increase in top scorers," according to the NTA.

While some students had studied using previous editions, an NTA official revealed that the question paper was based on a new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbook. To address this, all students who chose one of the two options received five marks. As a result, 44 students' scores went from 715 to 720, increasing the number of top scorers.

NTA's Press Conference

K Sanjay Murthy, Secretary for Higher Education, held a press conference in New Delhi on June 8 to discuss the NEET dispute and adressed several allegations.

Taking note of the questions raised about six students topping from the same centre in Haryana, Murthy stated, "After analysing the centre, we discovered that the average marks in the centre were 235, which is higher than the average marks of 23 lakh students who appeared in the exam. It means that the students at that particular centre were high-scorers. Even without any compensation, some of the centre's students performed well.”

In the press conference, Murthy also announced the formation of a high performing committee which would look into the allegations and submit their recommendations and findings.

Paper Leak Allegations

Amidst the growing tension regarding the re-conduct of NEET UG 2024 exam, NTA released FAQs to address all the allegations against it.

The NTA maintained its stance about paper leak and said that not a single report contains any supporting evidence that would indicate a paper leak. These incidents seem to be less related to paper leaks and more related to impersonation and cheating.

Furthermore, NTA asserted that it has its own security processes and regular operating procedures, that all printed question papers have been located and verified and there can be no paper leak.

However, thirteen persons were detained in Bihar on suspicion of being involved in the NEET-UG exam paper leak, including four test takers and their families. A day before to the exam date, May 5, 2024, about 20 participants received the NEET-UG question papers and answers, according to Patna police.

NTA on this matter said that it is co-operating with the Bihar police and all necessary documents are being provided to them.

SC's stance

Three petitions were filed in Supreme Court regarding the grace marks awarded to students. Jaripiti Kartheek and Abdullah Mohammed Faiz filed a petition challenging the NTA's allegedly random distribution of grace marks to more than 1,500 applicants. Similarly, CEO of PhysicsWallaha also filed a petition in the Supreme Court regarding the same.

The SC in its verdict said that the grace marks awarded to all the students will be scrapped and the candidates will instead have the opportunity to appear for a re-test likely to be held on June 23.

The court, however, refused to stop the admissions counselling process.

The court has also sent out a notice regarding petitions alleging NEET exam misconduct. On July 8, these petitions will be discussed.

Allahabad HC's intervention

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday ordered the National Testing Agency to disclose the original records of a student who claims she has yet to receive her NEET result. The bench has scheduled the next hearing in the subject for June 18.

In response to a writ petition filed by student Aayushi Patel, a vacation bench led by Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan issued the ruling. Patel claimed in her petition that her OMR sheet was found to be torn and that the NTA neglected to announce her results.

This year, on May 5, over 24 lakh students appeared for NEET exam at 4,750 centres across 571 cities, including 14 international locations. The result was declared on June 4.

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