8 Jun 2024

Why are some students demanding that NEET exam be conducted again? What is the controversy over this?

After the NEET exam results were declared on June 4, 2024, numerous claims have emerged alleging irregularities in the conduct of the exam. NEET is the exam used for admission into medical colleges.

One of the most unusual aspects of this year's results is that 67 students secured the first rank, which is unprecedented. All of them scored perfect 720 marks out of 720. Among these top scorers, six students took the exam at the same center in Haryana, raising further suspicions.

Students received scores that are mathematically impossible

Additionally, there are claims that some students received scores that are mathematically impossible based on the exam's marking scheme. For example, students reportedly scored 718 or 719 out of 720, which shouldn't be possible given the marking rules: four marks for a correct answer and a one-mark deduction for an incorrect one. The highest feasible score, if one question is answered incorrectly, should be 715.

NEET has denied any allegations of rigging 

Despite these claims, the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts NEET, has denied any allegations of rigging or question paper leakage. The NTA explained that additional marks were given only to students who did not receive the question paper on time.

Nevertheless, many NEET candidates are demanding a retest, and cases have been filed in courts across the country. The NEET exam, conducted on May 5, saw over 24 lakh registrations, with 23.33 lakh students actually appearing. Although results were scheduled for June 14, they were released ten days early, on June 4, which was the first indication to some experts of potential issues.

6 of top 67 students took their exam at a center in Jhajjar

Coaching institutes and students have also voiced serious concerns. This year's results show an unprecedented number of 67 students scoring a perfect 720 marks. In 2023, only two students achieved this, and in 2022, none did. The top score in 2022 was 715 out of 720.

Another point of contention is that six of the top 67 students took their exam at a center in Jhajjar district, Haryana. Experts suggest the likelihood of such a concentration of top scorers in one center is very low.

Allegations of paper leak

In addition to the scoring controversies, allegations of a paper leak have also surfaced. An FIR has been registered in Bihar, resulting in 13 arrests. The Economic Offences Wing of the Bihar Police has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate these claims.

Qualifying score raised significantly

The unusually high scores this year have also raised the qualifying score significantly. Over the past three years, the NEET qualifying score was around 130, but this year it has jumped to 164.

NTA's Response to Allegations

The National Testing Agency (NTA) has refuted all allegations through a press release issued on June 6.

The NTA stated that declaring results promptly is a standard procedure, and this time they managed to complete the process within 30 days.

In its response, the NTA mentioned that grace marks were awarded to 1,563 candidates due to reduced exam time. These candidates had filed petitions in court, claiming they could not start their exams on time at the examination centers. After reviewing CCTV footage and consulting with officials, the NTA granted grace marks to these candidates using the same method recommended by the Supreme Court for the Common Law Admission Test.

This explains why some students received unusual scores like 718. The agency clarified that out of the students who scored 720, six received grace marks. Additionally, 44 other students who achieved perfect scores (720 marks) were given revised marks for a Physics question.

The NTA also denied any exam paper leaks, asserting that "the sanctity of the exam has not been compromised."

Regarding other exam-related complaints, the NTA stated that it is addressing them according to established procedures.

Parents' demand

In Mumbai, a group of parents met with the Maharashtra medical education minister and the commissioner of medical education, to express concern over the alleged irregularities in the recently declared results of the National Eligibility-Cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG).

The parents objected to the National Testing Agency's (NTA) decision to allot compensatory marks to over 1,563 aspirants for loss of time. They also expressed suspicion over six students from a single examination centre and with the same seat number sequence securing cent per cent marks and claimed a mismatch between the actual scores and answers written in the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets of some candidates.

They demanded that the testing body release the answer sheets of high-scoring students, and requested the state authorities to put the admission process on hold until the issue was resolved.

NEET-UG candidate approaches Madhya Pradesh high Court

A NEET-UG candidate approached Madhya Pradesh high Court, principal bench at Jabalpur seeking a high-level inquiry into the alleged discrepancies in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET (UG) 2024 for medical courses  after 67 candidates achieved a perfect score (720/720).

The petitioner Amishi Verma, who appeared in NEET (UG) also pleaded with the court to call all the examination records for thorough checking. The petitioner appeared for medical entrance exam on May 5, 2024 at St. Aloysius Senior Secondary School Katangi Bypass, Jabalpur (MP). He scored 615 marks out of 720 with a total percentile of 97.21. 

Amidst the issues and controversies relating to the conduct and the declaration of the results of the NEET, advocate Aditya Sanghi, who appeared on behalf of petitioner (candidate), said, “ As per the result declared on June 4, 2024, in all 67 students have scored full marks and 2 have got 718 and 719 marks.” 

Besides, the important point is that 8 of the students have the roll number 500 which means they were from one center only, not only their roll number is 500 but even the names are the same so this cannot be the coincidence but it speaks volume about the corruption, nepotism and favoritism in NEET 2024, said the advocate.

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