Supreme Court junks NEET Candidates plea alleging error in Hindi Version Question Paper
New Delhi: Observing that re-assessing the correctness of solutions would be beyond the remit of court, the Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by 22 NEET candidates who alleged that there were different solutions to the Hindi and English versions of Question No 2 of Section A in the Physics Paper.
Taking note of the fact that an expert committee had opined that there was no error, the top court bench comprising of Justices D.Y.Chandrachud, A.S.Bopanna, and Vikram Nath observed, "It would be beyond the remit of this Court to conduct an exercise of re-assessing the correctness of the solutions."
"The first respondent, which is the agency entrusted with the duty of conducting the NEET (UG) 2021 examination, while responding to the apprehensions of the students, had the matter scrutinized again by three subject experts. Hence, it would not be open to this Court to substitute its own view," noted the court as it dismissed the plea.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, the NEET candidates had challenged the "discrepancy and patent error" in the concerned question, wherein while translating the question from English to Hindi, the word "amplitude of current" had been omitted. It had been contended by the petitioners that the Hindi word "dhaara" does not refer to "amplitude".
"The NTA without taking cognizance of the said error, released an answer key only on the basis of the English translation of the question, thereby putting the Hindi-speaking candidates at disadvantageous position vis--vis their English-speaking counterparts. The said disparity was based upon the practice of the NTA to only treat the English version of the questions as final. The question paper carried an instruction to the said effect stipulating that In case of any ambiguity in translation of any question, English version shall be treated as final, however, there was no ambiguity in the impugned question and the same was an error, because the English version and the Hindi version both were different questions which had different answers," the petition was quoted saying by Live Law.
The students had also argued that the Hindi and English versions of the question were standalone questions and resultantly Hindi-speaking candidates believed that the impugned question was without any ambiguity and could be solved without any reference to its corresponding English version.
Pointing out that NEET had negative marking, the petitioners contended, "Hence discrepancy in the said question has put the Hindi Speaking students/states at a disadvantageous position pushing them back by thousands of years and jeopardizing their future."
They sought directions upon NTA to delete the said question- Question 2 of Section A (Physics) in question paper bearing code P2 and its corresponding questions in other sets of the NEET-UG 2021 question papers and release fresh results.
They had further demanded that NEET-UG 2021 get declared as erroneous, faulty, defective and discriminatory, and violative of Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
During the last hearing on November 25, Solicitor General had informed the bench that the issue had been examined by three neutral experts, who had opined that there would be no difference in the answer irrespective of the alleged discrepancy.
However, after the bench had suggested re-considering the matter by another set of experts, the Solicitor General had agreed to it.
On Tuesday, the counsel appearing for NTA informed the court that another committee of three professors was formed.
The committee comprised of three Professors from IIT Guwahati, Delhi Technological University, Delhi and National Physical Laboratory, Delhi and it evaluated the solutions in both the English and Hindi versions of Question No 2 of Section A in the Physics Paper of the NEET (UG) 2021 examination.
The Joint Director of NTA submitted in the affidavit that the Committee members held a meeting on 27.11.2021 for the purpose of evaluation of solutions to Question No.2 of Section A in the Physics Paper of NEET (UG) 2021 both in Hindi and in English and concluded that the correct solution (answer) to said Question No.2 is 5Ω both in Hindi as well as English also the answer would be same i.e. 5Ω.
For this, the explanation that NTA referred to is, "dhaara" should be understood as amplitude of current and it is also reflected in the circuit diagram.
"All three have concurred that whether we take English or Hindi, the answer remains the same. They said the "dhara" here was of no importance. I don't like succeeding against students. But in this case experts have opined", Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was quoted saying by Live Law.
On the other hand, the counsel for the petitioners, Advocate Archana Pathak Dave, argued that "dhaara" does not mean "amplitude". She contended that based on the underlying material in the XIIth standard Board examination, there would be a variation in the solutions to the above problem in English and Hindi as a result of a difference in translation.
The bench noted,
"The first respondent, which is the agency entrusted with the duty of conducting the NEET (UG) 2021 examination, while responding to the apprehensions of the students, had the matter scrutinized again by three subject experts. Hence, it would not be open to this Court to substitute its own view."
Dismissing the plea, the bench observed,
"In the circumstances, having given our anxious consideration to the submission which has been urged on behalf of the petitioners, we are unable to interfere. The petition is accordingly dismissed."
To read the court order, click on the link below.