In an unprecedented order, the Bombay High Court on October 20 directed the NTA, set up in 2018 for conducting the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to undergraduate medical courses, to hold a fresh exams for the two students and declare their results along with the main results of the test conducted on September 12.
The high court had taken note of the fact that the test booklet and OMR sheet of two medical aspirants — Vaishanavi Bhopali and Abhishek Shivaji – got mixed up at the examination centre before the start of the test and ordered that they be given fresh opportunity to appear.
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A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was informed about the urgency of the matter by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the NTA, saying that the declaration of the results are being halted due to the order of the high court.
The court asked the law officer to mention the case before the bench which has been hearing these cases and on being told that the matter was fresh one, the bench agreed to consider an urgent listing.
“The declaration of the results of the NEET exam has been stayed the behest of two students. I am requesting the hearing tomorrow,” the law officer submitted before the bench, also comprising Justices Surya kant and Hima Kohli.
“We will see,” said the bench.
The NTA, in its appeal, said that the NEET (UG), 2021 Examination for more than 16 lacs candidates has been conducted on September 12, and due to the high court’s order it has not been able “to declare their results even though the same is ready for declaration”.
“The delay in declaration of Result of NEET (UG) 2021 will affect and further delay the subsequent process of admission to Undergraduate Medical Courses i.e. MBBS, BDS, BAMS, BSMS, BUMS and BHMS Courses,” it said in the plea.
The two students said the invigilators started distributing the test booklet to all the students at the scheduled time 1.50 pm.
“However, while distributing the test booklets fell down. As a result the test booklets and the OMR sheets therein fell down and got mixed up,” the plea said.
The high court, besides ordering re-examination and staying the declaration of the results, also directed that the NTA “shall give 48 hrs clear notice to the Petitioners about the date of examination and the centre allotted to the Petitioners”.
Making it clear that the order shall not be treated as a precedent, the high court had also directed the NTA to issue the admit card or permission as is required for the purpose of appearing for the examination directed to be held, in advance.
“Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 are advised to frame appropriate Rules/guidelines for providing remedial measures in case of such difficulties that may arise in similar situations, in future, keeping in mind the interest and future of such students,” the high court said.
The NEET Entrance Exam was conducted on September 12, for “16,14,777 candidates, involving 3,682 centres in 202 cities, 9,548 Centre Superintendents/ Deputy Superintendents, 5,615 Observers, 2,69,378 Invigilators and 220 City Co-ordinators’, the NTA said in the plea.
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