In relation to the NEET-UG 2024 controversy, the Centre on Thursday (June 13) informed the Supreme Court that a decision has been taken to cancel the grace marks awarded to 1563 students. These 1563 candidates will be informed of their actual scores (without the grace marks) and will be given the option to appear for a re-test, the counsel appearing for the Union Government informed the Supreme Court today. If those students do not wish to take the re-test, their scores based on the exam held on May 5 will be taken into account.



Advocate Kanu Agarwal, representing the Union Government, told a vacation bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta, that the decision was taken by the panel constituted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on June 12 to “allay the fears of the students”. Agarwal stated that the panel was of the view that the award of compensatory marks to 1563 students on the grounds of loss of time resulted in a “skewed situation” because the grace marks had to be limited only to the unattempted questions. After examining all aspects, the committee concluded that it would be appropriate to recommend the cancellation of the scorecards of the 1563 students and that they will be informed of their actual marks (without grace marks).

Taking note of these facts, the bench dictated the following order :

“The petitioner who had appeared for NEET-UG 2024 has raised a grievance regarding the grant of compensatory marks to 1563 candidates using the normalisation formula where, at the examination centres, the candidates who were not allowed 3 hours 20 minutes time admissible to them were permitted to take their examination for lesser time. The compensatory marks have been awarded based on the recommendation of a Grievance Redressal Committee relying upon a judgment of this Court in the case of Disha Panchal vs.Union of India and others.

This award of compensatory marks was challenged. The National Testing Agency constituted another committee to reconsider the issue and gave its recommendation on the award of compensatory marks. The subsequent committee held meetings on 10, 11 and 12th June 2024 and has made recommendations which have been placed before us.

According to the recommendations, it has been suggested that the score-cards of the affected 1563 candidates issued on June 4, 2024 will stand cancelled and withdrawn. These students will be informed of their actual scores. They will be given an option to appear for a re-examination. Results of the students who do not wish to appear for the re-examination will be based on their exam held on May 5.”

The Court also recorded the submission of Senior Advocate Naresh Kaushik, for the NTA, that the re-test will be notified today itself and will be likely held on June 23. The results of the re-test will be published before June 30 so that the counselling scheduled on July 6 can start.

Recording the stand of the Union and the NTA, the Court disposed of one petition which challenged the grant of grace marks. The Court also issued notice on another petition which alleged paper-leak of the exam and tagged it with similar petitions which are posted on June 8.

Briefly stated, the court was dealing with 3 petitions filed challenging the NEET-UG, 2024 results for widespread irregularities and raising suspicions with regard to the grant of grace marks in the test by National Testing Agency to over 1500 candidates on the ground of “loss of time”.

One of the petitions was filed by Physics Wallah CEO-Alakh Pandey, who claimed that the NTA’s decision to award grace marks was “arbitrary”. Reportedly, Pandey collected representations from about 20,000 students, showing that about 70-80 marks were randomly awarded as grace marks to at least 1,500 students. Advocate J Sai Deepak represented the petitioner. The Court closed the issue of grace marks in this petition but kept it pending to consider the other grievances.

The second petition was filed by SIO members Abdullah Mohammed Faiz and Dr. Shaik Roshan Mohiddin, seeking recall of the NEET-UG 2024 results and conduct of a fresh exam. The petitioners alleged arbitrariness in the grant of grace marks, pointing out that marks as high as 718 & 719 out of 720 (secured by several students) were “statistically impossible”. It was claimed that NTA’s grant of grace marks was a malafide exercise to give “backdoor entry” to certain students, instead of compensation for “lost time”. The petitioners also raised suspicions regarding the fact that 67 students from one particular centre obtained full 720 marks. Notice was issued on this petition today.

The third petition was filed by NEET candidate-Jaripiti Kartheek, challenging award of grace marks as compensation for alleged loss of time during the exam. He contended that the “normalization formula” to award grace marks at best could extend only to the number of questions that may be left unanswered in proportion to the loss of time, given that each question has equal mark weightage; therefore equal time distribution to answer each question can be assumed. This petition was disposed of today.

Notably, on June 11, the Supreme Court issued notice on another petition filed before declaration of the NEET-UG results (on June 4), seeking cancellation of the NEET-UG 2024 test over alleged paper leak. Observing that the sanctity of the exam had been affected, the Court sought a response from the NTA on the allegations of paper leak by July 8. However, it turned down the prayer to stay the counselling process.

Previously, on June 8, the NTA and Union Education Ministry announced formation of a 4-member committee to review the results of over 1,500 candidates who were awarded “grace marks” to compensate for the “loss of time” suffered while appearing for the NEET-UG 2024 exam.

Case Details:

Abdullah Mohammed Faiz and Anr. v. National Testing Agency (NTA) and Ors., W.P.(C) No. 369/2024

Alakh Pandey v. National Testing Agency and Anr., W.P.(C) No. 368/2024

Jaripiti Kartheek v. National Testing Agency (NTA) and Ors., W.P.(C) No. 366/2024


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