Alleged Discrepancy in NEET PG 2021: SC issues notice to NBE on plea seeking release of Answer key, Question paper, reevaluation
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought a response from the National Board of Examinations (NBE) on a plea demanding the immediate release of the answer key and question paper of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for PG medical admissions, NEET PG 2021 examination.
Seeking transparency in the examination process, the plea has demanded the constitution of a high-powered committee for examining the alleged discrepancies, direction upon NBE to upload the individual OMR sheet, question paper, and answer key, allow candidates to challenge the answer key in case of disputes etc.
Considering the petition and after listening to the contentions by the Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for the petitioners, the Apex Court bench comprising of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and B. V. Nagarathna has issued notices in the plea, reports Live Law.
The doctors in the petition have submitted before the top court that even though all the candidates who appear in the NEET-PG examination are all doctors they are not allowed to keep the question paper, to view the answer sheet and even the answer-key doesn't get uploaded.
"This is a very serious issue. All of us are doctors. There are 16 lakh under-graduates who sit for NEET-UG, while only about 1.75 lakh, less than 10%, who are all doctors, who take the NEET-PG. They are following a completely different system for us! We are not allowed to keep the question papers, we are not shown the answer sheets, the answer-key is not uploaded! We have no idea how many questions were right, how many were wrong!" contended the counsel appearing for the petitioners.
The plea seeks the following directions:
(1) Direction under the Article 32 of the Constitution for constituting a high-powered committee to examine instances of alleged discrepancy as alleged by several NEET-PG candidates across the country, so that the fairness and transparency in the evaluation system remains.
(2) Direction upon NBE for uploading individual OMR answer sheet in login account along with the question paper and answer key, immediately after the exam is conducted.
(3) Directions to NBE for providing answer key and question paper to the NEET-PG 2021 candidates, if they have filed an RTI application.
(4) Directions to NBE for allowing candidates with an option so that they can raise a challenge to the answer key in case of disputed questions.
While considering the petition and the contentions submitted by the counsel for the petitioners, Justice Chandrachud was quoted remarking by Live Law, "The question bank for PG is very limited, while for UG it is very large. If it is disclosed for the PG, the sanctity of the examination process will suffer. If the question paper is disclosed, then all the coaching centres will (unclear)..."
"Then there will also be a debate on whether an answer is correct or not and there will be a challenge to that...If the answer key is uploaded, the sanctity of the answers is called into question," Justice Nagarathna said.
At this outset, the counsel appearing for the petitioner argued, "For the UG also, what is uploaded is the OMR sheet, which just has a blackened 'A', 'B' or 'C'. No one can get any clue as to what the question was. We have no problem if the same is done here also!"
"Right from the school level to now, we have had a method of re-evaluation! Otherwise, this exam is being taken out of all the exams in the country and the natural corollary is that even if there is something wrong, it will remain? There has to be some level, some shred of transparency!" the counsel added.
Considering all these contentions, the bench noted, as it issued notice in the plea, "Let us issue notice and at least see what the other side has to say."