News Brief

Scrapping NEET-UG 2024 In Entirety 'Not Rational', Will Jeopardise Honest Students: Centre To Supreme Court

Kuldeep Negi

Jul 05, 2024, 05:27 PM | Updated 05:27 PM IST

Students being frisked before entering the NEET exam centre (Representative Image)
Students being frisked before entering the NEET exam centre (Representative Image)

The Centre has reaffirmed its stance on the NEET-UG controversy, informing the Supreme Court that it does not plan to scrap the examination or hold a retest.

The government has underscored that there were no significant irregularities in the exam, which saw the participation of 24 lakh students.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear petitions on the issue on Monday (8 July), the Centre argued that cancelling the 2024 exam in its entirety would "seriously jeopardise" the future of numerous honest candidates who sat for it.

The affidavit stated that in the absence of proof of any large-scale breach of confidentiality in the examination, it would not be rational to take such an extreme step.

Highlighting that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been tasked with thoroughly investigating the allegations, the government reiterated its commitment to conducting all exams in a fair and transparent manner.

"The Union of India duly appreciates that the confidentiality of the question papers is the utmost priority in any examination and that if due to some criminality at the behest of some criminal elements, the confidentiality has been breached, the Union of India submits that the said person must be dealt sternly and with the full force of law to ensure that they are punished," the affidavit said.

The Education Ministry, in its affidavit, acknowledged "instances of irregularities, cheating, impersonation, and malpractices" during the conduct of NEET-UG. However, it made no mention of a paper leak.

The affidavit further stated, “In the absence of any proof of any large-scale breach of confidentiality in a pan-India examination it would not be rational to scrap the entire examination.”

“It is submitted that in any examination there are competing rights that have been created whereby the interests of a large number of students who have taken the examination without adopting any alleged unfair means must not also be jeopardised. Scrapping the exam in entirety would seriously jeopardise the lakhs of honest candidates who attempted the question paper in 2024,” the ministry’s affidavit states, Indian Express reported.

The Centre's affidavit comes amidst protests over irregularities not only in NEET-UG but also in other exams such as UGC-NET, which was cancelled a day after it was held. The NEET-PG and CSIR UGC NET exams also faced postponements.

These incidents have cast doubt on the National Testing Agency (NTA), established in 2017 to conduct these exams.

Facing mounting criticism from students and opposition parties, the government replaced the head of the NTA and assigned the investigation into the irregularities to the CBI.

Several arrests have been made, but questions continue to be raised by both students and opposition parties.

Also Read: New Date For NEET-PG 2024 Exam Announced, Set To Be Held In Two Shifts On 11 August

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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