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NEET-UG 2020 : Supreme Court Asks Madras HC To Decide Plea Alleging Tampering Of OMR Sheets In 2 Months

Sohini Chowdhury
29 Aug 2022 1:15 PM GMT
NEET-UG 2020 : Supreme Court Asks Madras HC To Decide Plea Alleging Tampering Of OMR Sheets In 2 Months
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In a plea alleging tampering of OMR sheet by National Testing Agency (NTA) in NEET-UG 2020 examination, the Supreme Court, on Monday, in consonance with the decision of the Division Bench of the Madras High Court to remand the matter back to the Single Judge, gave liberty to the parties to appear before the Single Judge keeping all issues in the matter open to be argued before...

In a plea alleging tampering of OMR sheet by National Testing Agency (NTA) in NEET-UG 2020 examination, the Supreme Court, on Monday, in consonance with the decision of the Division Bench of the Madras High Court to remand the matter back to the Single Judge, gave liberty to the parties to appear before the Single Judge keeping all issues in the matter open to be argued before it.

"Ends of justice would be met by keeping all questions open including the defence of the National Testing Agency (NTA) that there was only one OMR sheet…"

A Bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that considering the admission of the concerned candidate at the Thoothukudi Medical College, Tuticorin, is subject to the final decision of the Single Judge of the Madras High Court, it ought to hear the matter at the earliest preferably within a period of 2 months.

"Since the admission is dependent on the decision of the Single Judge the matter be heard preferably within a period of 2 months."

The Counsel appearing on behalf of the NTA had argued that the second OMR sheet with the lower score was the one that is available with the Testing Agency as well as National Informatics Centre, which is entrusted with the duty to upload the NEET-UG OMR sheets.

The concerned medical student had appeared in NEET-UG 2020 Examination. He claims that two OMR sheets were uploaded by NTA. The first one, he claims, reflected 594 marks, whereas the second one uploaded subsequently indicated that he had secured 248 marks out of the total score of 720 marks. A representation was made to NTA. But NTA had responded that upon verification they had found out that he had secured 248 marks and not 594 as he claims. NTA had also asked him to visit their office and verify the result. Instead the candidate had approached the Madras High Court. The Single Judge of the High Court permitted his admission to Thoothukudi Medical College on the basis of the higher score. Eventually, it directed an investigation to be conducted by CB-CID. In this regard a team of experts from the cyber cell was to be constituted. The Single Judge had noted that his continuation in college would be subject to the outcome of the investigation. On appeal, the Division Bench noted that the primary prayer of the concerned candidate that he had indeed secured the higher score was not considered by the Single Judge. Accordingly, it had remanded the matter back. It directed that the protection granted by the Single Judge with respect to his admission would continue till the matter is disposed of. However, the CB-CID inquiry was stayed and the Single Judge was asked to take a call on whether to continue the investigation or set it aside.

The NTA had assailed the veracity of the screenshots of the two OMR sheets which were produced before the High Court. It emphasised that the said screenshots were taken from Google and not the official website.

On the last occasion while issuing notice, the Apex Court had stayed the direction for investigation by the CB-CID and also the operation of the order of the Division Bench of the Madras High Court. However, it had clarified that the admission of the student shall not be disturbed.

[Case Title: National Testing Agency v. KS Manoj And Ors. SLP(C) No. 3253/2022]

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