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SC Seeks Response of Centre, NTA on plea for CBI probe into ‘irregularities’ in NEET-UG, 2024

In a significant development amid ongoing controversies surrounding the NEET-UG 2024, the Supreme Court of India has sought responses from the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA) regarding a plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged irregularities in the exam. The plea, filed by Hiten Singh Kashyap, points to allegations of question paper leaks and other discrepancies. A vacation bench comprising justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta addressed the matter, also directing the CBI and the Bihar government to respond within two weeks.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) will be consolidated with other pending cases on July 8, marking the beginning of the Supreme Court’s sessions after the summer vacation. This development underscores the gravity of the allegations and the court’s commitment to ensuring a fair investigation into the matter. The Centre and NTA’s involvement is crucial as they play pivotal roles in the administration and regulation of the NEET-UG examination.

The controversy intensified when the Centre and NTA announced the cancellation of grace marks given to 1,563 candidates. These candidates were offered a choice: either retake the examination or forgo the compensatory marks they had initially received due to a loss of time during the exam. This decision highlights the authorities’ attempt to maintain the examination’s integrity and address concerns raised by the alleged irregularities.

The NEET-UG 2024 was conducted on May 5 across 4,750 centres, with around 24 lakh candidates participating. Originally, the results were expected on June 14; however, they were declared early, on June 4, because the evaluation of answer sheets concluded ahead of schedule. This early announcement added to the scrutiny and suspicion regarding the examination process.

Allegations of question paper leaks, particularly in states like Bihar, have further fueled the controversy. These allegations have led to widespread protests across several cities, reflecting the frustration and distrust among the student community and their families. The severity of these claims has prompted legal actions, with cases being filed in seven high courts as well as the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s intervention aims to bring clarity and resolution to the issue, which has significant implications for millions of students aspiring to secure admission to medical and allied courses. The NEET-UG is a crucial gateway for entry into MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, and related courses in both government and private institutions across India, making its credibility paramount.

As the situation unfolds, the responses from the Centre, NTA, CBI, and the Bihar government will be pivotal in determining the next steps. The judiciary’s involvement ensures that a thorough and impartial investigation will be conducted, addressing the concerns of all stakeholders involved.

The developments in this case will be closely watched, with the potential to impact future examinations and the overall trust in the educational assessment systems in India. The upcoming hearing on July 8 will be a critical juncture in resolving these contentious issues and ensuring justice for all affected parties.

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