NEET rankers approach SC against re-test

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The successful candidates/petitioners said that their favorable result is an outcome of sincere hard work and therefore cancelling the NEET-UG 2024 would cause not only mental trauma but also the loss of confidence in the entire examination system

As many as 56 NEET qualified candidates from Gujarat have approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre and the National Testing Agency to restrain from cancelling the all India test held on May 5, 2024 and take action against only those who indulged in unfair means or any illegal activity.

In a joint writ petition, the petitioners led by Siddharth Komal Singla urged the court to direct the respondents not to re-conduct NEET-UG 2024 as that would not only be unreasonable and harsh for the honest and hardworking students but also would lead to the infringement of the right to education and therefore violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

They contended re-test will undermine the hard work of diligent students who have already proven their capabilities.

It is to be noted a number of petitions have been filed in the apex court for cancelling the examination conducted for admission to undergraduate courses in medical colleges across the country in view of alleged paper leakage and other malpractices.

The apex court has fixed all such petitions for hearing on July 8, while declining to stay the counselling set to begin from July 6.

The plea stated that Petitioner Number One was ranked 778 in the NEET-UG 2024 merit list. He has always been an outstanding student and topped his class in the 12th grade with 96.60%. It further mentioned that among the other co-petitioners, there are students who have even secured the 1st rank, i.e., AIR-1, in NEET-UG 2024.

The plea said the petitioners who have already cleared their NEET-UG 2024 examinations with satisfying scores and ranks, are having sleepless nights due to the rumors and petitions filed requesting cancellation of NEET-UG 2024 and requesting for re-NEET, also there are students who consulted the medical professional i.e. psychiatrics for their mental as well as physical health.

The petitioners raised questions of law whether the examinations conducted at 4750 centers, in and outside India, can be cancelled due to the illegal act of few of the students, not more than 0.5% of the total students who appeared in the NEET-UG 2024 examinations. They also asked whether the innocent and non-tainted candidates declared successful can be punished for the conduct of candidates adopting unfair means and compelled to give re-test of NEET(UG)-2024.

They said the question with regard to grace marks has already been addressed by the court by directing retest for 1563 candidates on June 23.

The petitioners also said that on the second issue of paper leakage, the NTA has constituted a committee consisting of three eminent experts in the field of examination and academics to put forward the different types of issues reported such as impersonation, cheating, unfair means cases, tampered OMR, etc. The committee went through the relevant issues and prepared a list of actions.

They submitted that out of the students who have successfully cleared NEET-UG 2024 examinations, there are many from humble backgrounds but academically sharp and some amongst them are repeaters i.e. attempting the NEET-UG 2024 examinations for second/third time to pursue their dream of becoming a doctor. Therefore, asking them to re-appear one another time would be an injustice to them because in absence of the financial and family backing, adequate resources, they cannot be expected to once again appear in the examination. 

"Re-testing everyone might unfairly penalize students who did their hard work and prepared thoroughly and taken the exam honestly and are not engaged in any of unfair means. Instead of cancelling the NEET-UG 2024 and conducting re-NEET, National Testing agency may consider alternative actions, such as adjusting grading criteria, re-weighting other assessments, or taking disciplinary action against the students involved in unfair means," they said.

Due to the consequences of security and procedural lapses in NTA, hardworking aspirants i.e. petitioners if are asked to appear in re-NEET exam, will cause not only the irreparable damage to the petitioners’ mindset since they are too young but also would cause loss of their confidence in the examination system of the country which will have a far reaching impact, they added.

The petitioners submitted that they have successfully cleared NEET-UG 2024 examination putting in years of focused hard work meaning thereby the result is not out of fluke or out of adoption of any unfair means. The favorable result of the petitioners is an outcome of sincere hard work and therefore cancelling the NEET-UG 2024 would cause not only mental trauma but also the loss of confidence in the entire examination system because they are being punished, by being asked to re-appear, without any of their mistakes, the plea stated.

Cause Title: Siddharth Komal Singla & Ors Vs National Testing Agency & Ors