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Brochure For NEET Must Carry A Segment On Candidates With Disabilities Enumerating The Benefits Available To Them: Supreme Court Tells NTA

Mehal Jain
18 Nov 2021 2:11 PM GMT
Brochure For NEET Must Carry A Segment On Candidates With Disabilities Enumerating The Benefits Available To Them: Supreme Court Tells NTA
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"Brochure for NEET must have a segment on candidates with disabilities, enumerating the specific benefits available for visually-challenged, hearing-impaired candidates or candidates with dysgraphia. There should be disclosure in advance. Secondly, there should be proper training for invigilators. It is very crucial that they are aware".

The Supreme Court on Thursday orally told the NTA that its brochure for NEET must carry a segment on candidates with disabilities, enumerating the specific benefits available for them by way of an advance disclosure, and that there must be proper training to the invigilators to ensure these benefits are implemented on the ground.The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna was hearing...

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The Supreme Court on Thursday orally told the NTA that its brochure for NEET must carry a segment on candidates with disabilities, enumerating the specific benefits available for them by way of an advance disclosure, and that there must be proper training to the invigilators to ensure these benefits are implemented on the ground.

The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna was hearing the plea by a female NEET-2021 candidate suffering from dysgraphia whose grievance was that she was refused an additional one hour's time for attempting the paper by the examination centre. Her prayers were that either she may be allowed a re-examination, or be appropriately compensated by way of grace marks or no negative marking or otherwise.
The advocate for the NTA told the bench, "The NTA has already declared the results. It is now difficult to conduct a re-test for 1 student...also, it was in the middle of the examination that she had said that she would need an additional one hour. At such time, it becomes difficult for the invigilator to cross-check such information."
"There are 16 lakh students who took this exam. It is difficult for us to correct one student's result subsequently now. At this stage, she may supersede some other students and it will be harsh on the others", he submitted.
The bench also agreed that re-conducting the exam for one student may not be a viable option. At this, the advocate for the petitioner abandoned his prayer for re-examination and instead urged for compensation by way of marks- "I have secured more than 90 percent in 10th and 12th despite my disability...Your Lordships have been bestowed with such power by the Providence that with one stroke of your pen, my entire future may change."
"No, no, that is your right. But these powers also come with such great responsibilities...even when we rise for lunch, the matters don't leave us and we were discussing this all the way on the staircase...we were wondering that if we ask them to give you some benefit, it may immediately affect some unseen student who is not before us", observed Justice Chandrachud.
The advocate for the NTA told the bench, "My instructions are that the cut-off this year also is 137-142 and the petitioner has secured 166. So she will definitely get admission and she will not be losing this year."
The petitioner's advocate expressed doubt about the cut-off for this year having been set, stating that the aforesaid is the cut-off for the last year. "If the NTA could give me a guarantee that I will definitely be admitted to a college this year...there are 4000-5000 seats which are reserved for PWD, a lot of which remain vacant as is evident from the trend of the previous years...", he prayed.
"If she is not placed in any college and there are seats reserved for PWD left vacant, could you consider accommodating her? You could discuss with your Director-General", Justice Chandrachud put to the advocate for the NTA.
The bench granted time until 5 PM on Friday to both the advocates to submit written submissions, after which the bench would pass its order.
Justice Chandrachud also observed that the NTA must come up with clear-cut guidelines so that this situation is never repeated in the future-"This child may now lose a year. She could have made it otherwise. It is very heart-breaking. I myself had written the Vikash Kumar judgment (the Supreme Court held that facility of scribe can be provided for persons with disabilities other than those having benchmark disabilities)...the brochure for NEET must have a segment on candidates with disabilities, enumerating the specific benefits available for visually-challenged, hearing-impaired candidates or candidates with dysgraphia. There should be disclosure in advance. Secondly, there should be proper training for invigilators. It is very crucial that they are aware. You as the NTA have bona-fides, but very often, the invigilators on the ground are not aware. Like in this case, her paper was snatched. It is heart-rending...instructions must be given down the line so that these benefits are implemented."
"We had held 5-6 webinars and there was counseling for the invigilators. But we will ensure that this never happens in the future", replied the advocate for the NTA.
Continuing, Justice Chandrachud noted, "Also, there has to be a policy for where the candidate is not at fault. How do you set it right where a candidate is losing out at the last minute when they did not even do anything? Medical education today is so competitive..."

Case Title:  AVNI PRAKASH v. NATIONAL TESTING AGENCY (NTA) AND ORS

 Click Here To Read/Download The Order



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