NEET-UG 2024: Delhi HC issues notice to NTA following allegations of mismanagement in Surat

According to the petition dated May 16, who took her NEET-UG exam at Gajera International School in Surat, Gujarat, received a vertically torn OMR sheet and question paper
Delhi High Court
Delhi High CourtEdexLive

The Delhi High Court (HC) has issued a notice to the National Testing Agency (NTA), today, May 20, following a writ petition filed by a National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) (NEET-UG) 2024 candidate, Tambe Khushi Hemant. The petitioner alleges severe mismanagement during the examination held on May 5, 2024, which she argues violated her fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, and 19(1)(a).

According to the petition dated May 16, Tambe Khushi Hemant, who took her NEET-UG exam at Gajera International School in Surat, Gujarat, received a vertically torn OMR sheet and question paper on the day of the exam. Despite immediately raising the issue, the invigilators initially dismissed her concerns and advised her to continue with the damaged materials. It was only after persistent complaints that she was provided with a new question paper and OMR sheet 30 minutes after the exam started.

This caused a serious disadvantage to Tambe, who had already attempted 60 questions in the previous OMR sheet, as the questions and options in the new OMR were jumbled. The replacement of the question paper with a different code meant the petitioner had to restart the exam under severe time constraints and pressure, disrupting her performance.

Additionally, the petitioner stated that the additional ten minutes given to compensate for the lost time was not enough, especially considering the constant disturbances, particularly with the invigilators stressing on the submission of the sheet before the extra time concluded.

"This is a very unfortunate case. It is the responsibility of the examiner to take care of the situation. They should have provided her with a timely OMR sheet or given her the extra time she deserves," says the petitioner's advocate, Tanvi Dubey. Through the petition, Tambe seeks a writ of mandamus compelling the NTA to address the alleged grievances and protect the petitioner's fundamental rights.

"You prepare for an exam like this for years and to lose out on that opportunity just because of some mismanagement is a violation of fundamental rights. She was deprived of an equal opportunity," adds advocate Dubey.

The petition also states when the authorities at the exam centre were threatened with legal action by the petitioner’s father, they explained that NTA is responsible for it and it isn’t within their domain to provide an OMR sheet without approval or give extra time. “They said getting approval from the NTA took time which is why they were delayed,” says advocate Dubey adding, "However the court today said that OMR sheets should be preserved and demanded an answer from NTA. We are hoping that through the petition, we will be able to get NTA to compensate her for the marks she lost.”

The HC, acknowledging the severity of the allegations, has directed the NTA to respond to the petition. The next hearing date is yet to be announced; however, according to advocate Dubey, it might be sometime in July.

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