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Supreme Court to Hear Petition Challenging NTA’s Decision to Grant Grace Marks in NEET 2024

A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the National Testing Agency’s (NTA) decision to award grace marks to students in this year’s National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) for undergraduate medical admissions.

The petitioner, Mr. Jaripate Karthik from Andhra Pradesh, who is also a NEET candidate, has submitted a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. He is contesting the NTA’s action of providing compensatory marks to 1,536 candidates due to “loss of time.” His legal representatives, Mr. Y. Balaji and Mr. Chirag Sharma, have requested an early hearing of the case.

Mr. Karthik argues that the application of the “normalization formula” to award these grace marks is illegal, arbitrary, and violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. He claims that the formula, which should be used to ensure fairness in marking, is inappropriate in this context as it assumes knowledge rather than accurately assessing it.

The petitioner points out flaws in applying the normalization formula, especially when all questions are attempted by candidates. If a candidate answers incorrectly, the formula does not apply, and if they answer correctly, they have already received the appropriate marks. He suggests that the normalization formula should only be applied to unanswered questions in proportion to the lost time, given each question carries equal weight and presumably requires an equal amount of time to answer.

Further, the petitioner highlights that the offline nature of the exam makes it impossible to accurately measure the loss of time, and no evaluations or reports have been disclosed to justify the compensatory marks. He emphasizes the lack of evidence, such as CCTV footage, to support the NTA’s claim of lost time.

On June 9, another petition was filed seeking the recall of NEET-UG 2024 results and the conduct of a new examination, citing alleged arbitrariness in awarding grace marks. Petitioners in this case argued that the high scores achieved by some students were “statistically impossible” and suspected that grace marks were a means to provide unfair advantage to certain candidates. They also noted that an unusually high number of students from a single center scored full marks.

Previously, on May 17, the Supreme Court had issued a notice regarding a petition seeking the cancellation of the NEET exam due to an alleged paper leak but did not stay the results’ declaration.

On June 8, the NTA and the Union Education Ministry announced the formation of a four-member committee to review the results of over 1,500 candidates who were given grace marks for the alleged loss of time during the NEET (Undergraduate) exam.

This writ petition has been filed with the assistance of Advocate-on-Record Chand Qureshi.


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