HC directs NTA to conduct fresh NEET for 2 MBBS aspirants after invigilators goof-up
Mumbai: Granting relief to 2 MBBS aspirants who had been handed question papers and answer sheets with incorrect serial numbers during the recently held NEET 2021 examination, the Bombay High Court has directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct the entrance test afresh for them.
The order was passed by the high court on Wednesday on a petition filed by the two NEET candidates. During the previous hearing on the matter, the High Court had directed the NTA to not declare the results of the two petitioner candidates.
The candidates had moved to the high court on September 24 seeking directions to NTA to re-examine them by holding a separate test.
NEET candidates are given a question paper and answer booklet (sheet) bearing the same code and same seven-digit serial number.
In their petition, they stated that when they had appeared for NEET at Shree Swami Narayan Gurukul International School at Solapur on September 12, their invigilators started giving test booklets and answer sheets to the 12 students in their class five minutes late.
But due to a mix-up by invigilators, some students including the petitioners received question papers and answer booklets bearing different codes and serial numbers, they said, quotes PTI.
While one aspirant received a test booklet of Code 04 and answer sheet of Code P4, the other got test booklet of Code P4 and answer sheet of Code 04. They immediately pointed it out, but the invigilators harshly silenced them by threatening them with dire consequences for causing nuisance and disturbance in the examination hall, said their petition.
Even thereafter, the petitioners said, they tried to reason out with the examiners to provide them matching booklets and sheets by pointing out that it would result in complete non-evaluation of their answer papers. They added that the invigilators checked codes appearing on all the booklets given to all the students, but did not rectify the mistake, reports Hindustan Times.
Moreover, during the recent hearing, the counsel appearing on behalf of the candidates told the bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and Abhay Ahuja that though the petitioners immediately pointed out the mix-up, the invigilators threatened to report them for "causing a disturbance in the examination hall and committing unfair practice."
It was further pointed out that clause 7 of the Test Booklet Code for NEET mandates the invigilator to rectify the mistake and provide correct test booklet and answer sheet to the student concerned in such a situation.
The counsel also pointed out that subsequently, the school and its principal admitted the mix-up in his communication with NTA officials, stating that it was an inadvertent mistake and called upon the testing agency to help the two students.
Then NTA informed HC through its counsel that it was "not possible" for the exam authority to allow the petitioners to reappear for the exam and find a solution to the petitioners' problem.
The judges, however, held that the petitioners "shall not suffer because of the mistake on the part of respondents."
The division bench directed the NTA to hold a "fresh examination for the two petitioners for the academic year 2021-22," and to declare their results within two weeks.
It further ordered NTA to give the candidates an advance notice of 48 hours about the date of the retest and the exam centre.