Disabled NEET Candidate Allegedly Denied Extra Hour to Complete Exam: SC to Pass Order Tomorrow
New Delhi: While considering the plea of a NEET candidate with disabilities, who was allegedly denied an extra hour to complete her paper, the Supreme Court has directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to take instructions from its Director General if something could be done in the petitioner student's case. Such directions came from the top court bench comprising of...
New Delhi: While considering the plea of a NEET candidate with disabilities, who was allegedly denied an extra hour to complete her paper, the Supreme Court has directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to take instructions from its Director General if something could be done in the petitioner student's case.
Such directions came from the top court bench comprising of Justice Chandrachud after it took note of the fact that there remains many vacant seats for the PwD students. The court would pass orders regarding the matter tomorrow.
The petitioner student approached the Apex Court alleging that her paper was snatched by the invigilator and she was denied an extra hour which the candidates with disabilities are entitled to. Filing the petition before the Supreme Court, the student sought a re-examination or compensation in any other way- by way of grace marks or by elimination of negative marking.
During the hearing of the case, the counsel appearing for the National Testing Agency (NTA), which has the responsibility of conducting the medical entrance examination, submitted that the petitioner student didn't inform the centre in time that she would need another hour.
It was further pointed out on the behalf of NTA that there are around 16 lakh candidates who have appeared for NEET. At this outset, Advocate Rupesh Kumar, appearing on the behalf of NTA was quoted saying by Live Law, "We've shown our difficulty. There are 16 lakh students who have taken the exam. I'm not saying she hasn't suffered but according to the cut off she'll be able to get admission."
On the other hand, the counsel for the student, Advocate Rushabh Vidhyarthi referred to the cut-off for last year, and said, "If NTA guarantees admission we've no difficulty."
After hearing the contentions, Justice Chandrachud was quoted saying by Live Law, "Your brochure should upfront have disclosure for candidates with disabilities. Second, proper training for your invigilators, they need to be aware. We're not finding fault with you, but invigilators should know it. In this case the girl's paper was snatched away."
Referring to the incidence of snatching the paper of the student as "heart-rendering", he further added, "You need to ensure these instructions are given down the line& they are implemented."
Responding to the Court's observations, the counsel for NTA submitted before the court that 5-6 webinars were conducted this year and pointed out, "yet sometimes things are beyond control also. We'll make sure these things never happen in future."
Pointing out the present-day competition in medical education, Justice Chandrachud further mentioned, "Ultimately you may have to think of what to do as a policy. What happens when candidates are not at fault, you must think what to do to set it right, today Medical education is so competitive."
"What do you do when a candidate loses at last minute for something that candidate has nothing to do with. We've another matter of a student who lost out on IIT exam, a SC candidate, who didn't pay fee on time. You have to have some… what do you do in such cases, does a candidate loose a year," further added the bench.
The counsel for the student pointed out that around 4k-5k candidates appeared for PwD quota seats and submitted on behalf of the student, "I'm asked to submit a certificate which requisitions my rank, how do I submit that without taking the exam. It was clarified by this court that this certificate doesn't change rule of the game midway. As on today, this would effect my future."
Agreeing to this submission, Justice Chandrachud observed, "you're right, we've such wide powers, but it comes with such enormous responsibility. These matters don't leave us when we get up from court."
When the bench expressed its opinion that ensuring admission to the petitioner student might lead to a situation where some other student might lose out, the counsel for the student pointed out, "There are 4k-5k seats for PwD, out of which around 2k get filled if past years are seen."
Responding to this, the bench noted, "This is a situation where we can help others like you possibly. We hope you do get admission. Atleast we'll ensure this situation isn't repeated again with others."
Following this, the counsel for the student requested for some relief and the bench directed both the parties to file their written submissions.
Further, the bench directed the NTA's counsel to take instructions from its Director General if something could be done in the petitioner student's case. "Ultimately there are vacant seats remaining, then you can see if she can be placed somewhere," observed the bench.
However, responding to this, the counsel representing NTA clarified that admission has to be made according to the rank obtained by the candidates. When the bench asked NTA to consider the matter, NTA counsel mentioned, "we're restricted to conducting exam and declare results."
Finally, the Court listed the matter to be heard tomorrow and asked the counsels to submit their notes by 5pm, after which the court will pass orders.
M.A in English
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.