SC Issues Notice On Tribal Students' Plea Demanding Participation In NEET-UG Retest

(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea filed by a batch of tribal students from Meghalaya seeking directions to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to permit them to appear in NEET-UG retest since they had also suffered loss of time in taking the examination held on May 5.

"Issue notice. Tag (with the pending batch of petitions). In the meantime, learned counsel appearing for respondents NTA and Union of India may file their response within two weeks. The other respondents may also file their response on or before the next date fixed," a vacation bench of Justices Vikram Nath and S.V.N. Bhatti ordered.

"These petitioners are similarly placed as 1,563 students. They appeared at centres of Meghalaya and lost 40-45 minutes of time," submitted the counsel representing the petitioner students.

Last week, during the hearing of pleas challenging the award of grace marks, the NTA informed the apex court that the scorecards of 1,563 candidates, who were awarded compensatory marks on account of loss of time, had been withdrawn and cancelled.

Further, the NTA said that these candidates may choose to appear in a re-test to be held on June 23 or appear in counselling on the basis of actual marks obtained in the exam without normalisation.

The Meghalaya students' plea, filed through advocate Yoothica Pallavi, said: "The petitioners have not been included even though they have suffered on account act and omission on the part of NTA....It is submitted that the petitioners were denied allocated time of 3 hours and 20 minutes inasmuch as a lot of time was wasted due to supply of wrong question papers and contradictory instructions given to the students by the examiners."

It added that due to lack of clarity as to which question paper was to be answered and as a result of such confusion and contradictory instructions, the petitioners were denied almost 40-45 minutes on average of the allocated time period for attempting the question papers.

Further, the plea said that the NTA has "arbitrarily" chosen 1,563 candidates for the award of grace marks in order to downplay the entire situation and there is no basis to come to the conclusion that students at other centres were not affected by the discrepancies committed in the conduct of the NEET-UG examination.

The writ petition alleged that petitioners were arbitrarily denied the opportunity to appear in the fresh examination even though they are similarly placed as 15,63 students as the petitioners were deprived of their allocated time to attempt the examination and seek an opportunity to appear in the June 23 retest or fresh examination on any other suitable date.



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