Courts cannot be expected to usurp powers of experts in academic matters: HC junks plea challenging NEET 2022 answer key
New Delhi: Observing that unless the candidate demonstrates that the key answers are patently wrong on the face of it, the courts cannot enter into the academic field, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea challenging the final answer key for one of the sets of NEET(UG) Examination 2022.The NEET(UG) Exam 2022 was conducted on 17 July 2022 and the answer key was uploaded on the website...
New Delhi: Observing that unless the candidate demonstrates that the key answers are patently wrong on the face of it, the courts cannot enter into the academic field, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea challenging the final answer key for one of the sets of NEET(UG) Examination 2022.
The NEET(UG) Exam 2022 was conducted on 17 July 2022 and the answer key was uploaded on the website of National Testing Agency (NTA) through a press release dated 7th September.
Prior the release, the provisional answer key along with OMR Sheet and Response Sheet was uploaded on the official website of NTA on 31st August 2022 with an option to challenge the answer of questions as uploaded on the website.
Aggrieved by non-consideration of his challenge to the provisional answer key by the authorities, a petition was filed by a candidate, Sagar Srivastava who sought the quashing of the final answer key for Set R-5 of NEET(UG) Exam 2022.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner approached the NTA for clarification by challenging the provisional answer key as uploaded on the official website of NTA. However, NTA failed to consider his challenge submitted online for the three disputed questions (Q.114, Q.172 and Q.177) of the relevant question paper set.
It was the petitioner's case that the NTA failed to appreciate that he relied on the contents of the NCERT book of Biology of class XI and XII, claiming that the book was the guiding base for preparing for the said examination. He also submitted that after going through the contents of the book, it was apparent that answers were incorrect.
In response, NTA explained that;
"An opportunity was provided to the candidates to challenge the answer keys formulated by the NTA. The challenges/objections received are then again placed before the respective Subject Experts. The objections so received are considered and examined exhaustively by the Subject Experts of NTA. If the Subject Experts on examining the objections finds merit in it, then on their advice NTA modifies its answer key accordingly, and gives appropriate benefit to the candidates. However, if the subject experts are of the view that the answer contained in the answer key is a correct answer, no modification in the answer key is carried out."
"The final answer keys are decided by the experts, after the challenges received from the candidates are settled by the respective Subject Experts. The Result is then declared on the basis of the final/revised answer key recommended by the respective subject experts only," it added.
Clarifying on the petitioner's case, NTA said that during the window period, the petitioner filed objections to Q. Nos. 114, 172 and 177 of "R5", and all the objections, including the one preferred by the petitioner were placed before the Subject Experts.
"Upon examining the objection to Q. Nos. 114, 172 and 177 of R5, the Subject Expert(s) did not find any merit in the challenges preferred by the candidates and accordingly, rejected the challenges and retained the provisional answer key. Accordingly, on the basis of the opinion of the expert[s], the answer key(s) was finalized, and the result was declared," it added.
It further submitted that the format of the Multiple Choice Question Paper Exam as in the present case is such that, four options will be provided to a question and only one is considered to be the most appropriate/correct answer, adding that the purpose of posing question with multiple options is to test the knowledge, clarity intelligence and capability of the candidates to think out of the box and complete the exam within a particular frame of time.
After hearing the submissions, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed that a strong burden is placed on the candidates to not only demonstrate that the key answer is incorrect but also that there is a glaring mistake which is totally apparent on the face which requires no inferential process or reasoning to show that the key answer is wrong.
The court noted;
"At the cost of re-iteration, it can be said that the law is black and white qua the present subject-matter that the Constitutional Courts must exercise great restraint and should be reluctant to entertain a plea challenging the correctness of the key answers."
"In the present case, NTA have followed an elaborative process to consider the objections so raised by the candidates. All the objections have been duly considered by the Subject Experts and it is only after that the final answer key has been finalized."
Subsequently, the court dismissed the petition. It held;
"This Hon'ble court cannot sit as an appellate authority over the wisdom and expertise of the experts. Courts cannot be expected to usurp the powers of experts in academic matters. Unless, the candidate demonstrates that the key answers are patently wrong on the face of it, the courts cannot enter into the academic field."
To view the original order, click on the link below:
Farhat Nasim joined Medical Dialogue an Editor for the Business Section in 2017. She Covers all the updates in the Pharmaceutical field, Policy, Insurance, Business Healthcare, Medical News, Health News, Pharma News, Healthcare and Investment. She is a graduate of St.Xavier’s College Ranchi. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact no. 011-43720751