Published: 12th November 2021
NEET UG: SC says no retest for students who suffered because of mix-up by invigilator
Setting aside the Bombay High Court's order to conduct the exam for two students, the SC recognised the mistake of the invigilator and expressed sympathy with the students
It was heartbreak in the end for two NEET aspirants who had moved the court for a retest claiming a mix-up in assigning answer booklets and OMR sheets caused them to lose precious time in attempting their NEET UG paper on September 12. The Supreme Court has set aside the Bombay High Court's order to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct a retest for the students.
The apex court said that it was difficult to reconduct the exam for just two candidates. "...though we sympathise with their cause, we find it difficult to direct re-exam for them alone. Therefore, we set aside the direction given by the High Court," said the two-judge bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai.
The Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the NTA told the court that such cases of negligence and error would have occurred in other parts of the country as well, given the fact that the test was conducted for a massive 16 lakh students. However, complaints have been registered only by these two students. He also added that if all petitions for retests are conducted, it will be a never-ending process.
The Supreme Court expressed sympathy for the students, and said, "We have perused the marks given to respondents 1 and 2 from the material furnished by the SG. They have attempted most of the questions, no negative marks have been given to them," according to a report by LiveLaw.
The invigilators in question have admitted to their mistake, adding that this was the first time they were assigned the job, and have tendered their apologies to the court and the students in the matter. The students had been attempting the test for the second time and hailed from modest backgrounds, submitted Advocate Sudhandhu Choudhuri. He also requested the court to allow for the computation of their marks based on the average of the questions they attempted, so they could gain admission into a medical college. However, the court turned the request down.
The students claimed that the invigilators, after being brought up to speed about their error, reprimanded the students, causing them to lose precious time while attempting the paper.
Earlier, the court had also quashed the HC's order to withhold the NEET-UG results until the retest was conducted. The NEET-UG result was released on November 2. However, the counselling has been put on hold until the Supreme Court passes its order on the petition challenging OBC reservation in the All-India Quota seats. The next hearing on the case is on November 16.