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'Quite Normal': NTA, Centre Tell SC Why So Many Toppers In NEET-UG 2024; Next Hearing July 18

Row erupted after results of NEET-UG 2024 were out on June 4 and as many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. NEET UG 2023 had a total of two toppers.

PTI
NEET-UG is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. Photo: PTI
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In an affidavit to the Supreme Court on its questions over alleged irregularities in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) 2024 exam, Centre on Wednesday said there was neither any indication of "mass malpractice" nor a localised set of candidates being benefitted leading to abnormal scores in the medical entrance examination.

The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the prestigious test, also filed a separate additional affidavit in the top court and said it has carried out an analysis of distribution of marks in NEET-UG 2024 at the national, state, city and centre level. NEET Supreme Court Hearing LIVE Updates

NEET Row: What Centre, NTA Said In Affidavit To SC

Centre's Affidavit In SC Over NEET: Centre on Wednesday in its affidavit told the Supreme Court there was neither any indication of "mass malpractice" nor a localised set of candidates being benefitted leading to abnormal scores in NEET-UG 2024. Centre, citing findings of a data analytics of NEET-UG 2024 results conducted by IIT Madras, said the marks distribution follows the bell-shaped curve that is witnessed in any large-scale examination indicating no abnormality.

NEET Supreme Court Hearing: The Supreme Court on Thursday said the pleas related to the controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024 would be heard on July 18. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud noted that the Centre and the NTA, which conducts the prestigious test, have filed their affidavits in compliance with the apex court's July 8 order. The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, observed that lawyers appearing for some of the petitioners have not yet received the affidavits filed by the Centre and the NTA. It posted the matter for hearing on July 18.

What Do Pleas Seek: The hearing pertains to a batch of pleas related to the controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024, including those alleging irregularities and malpractices in the May 5 test and seeking a direction to conduct it afresh. While hearing the matter on July 8, the apex court had observed that sanctity of NEET-UG 2024 has been "breached".

Analysis Of Marks By IIT-Madras: In its additional affidavit filed on Wednesday, the central government said pursuant to the apex court's direction, the Ministry of Education had made a request to the Director of IIT Madras to undertake comprehensive data analytics of the result of candidates who appeared in NEET-UG 2024.

Exhaustive Analysis By IIT-M: Centre said the technical evaluation of NEET-UG 2024 examination carried out by IIT Madras was "exhaustive and elaborate", using the parameters like marks distribution, city-wise and centre-wise rank distribution and candidates spread over marks-range."

'Very Less Likelihood Of Malpractices': Centre's affidavit said as per findings given by IIT Madras, there is an overall increase in the marks obtained by the students, specifically in the range of 550 to 720. "This increase is seen across the cities and centres. This is attributed to 25 per cent reduction in syllabus. In addition, candidates obtaining such high marks are spread across multiple cities and multiple centers, indicating very less likelihood of malpractice," it said.

When Will Counselling Begin: Regarding counselling, the Centre said for 2024-25, the counselling process will be conducted in four rounds starting from the third week of July. "For any candidate, if it is found that he/she has been the beneficiary of any malpractice, candidature of such person would be cancelled at any stage during the counselling process or even afterwards," Centre said.

NEET-UG Row Recap: NEET-UG is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. The row erupted after results were out on June 4 and as many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. NEET UG 2023 had a total of two toppers.

NTA's Affidavit In SC: NTA, in a separate additional affidavit in the Supreme Court, said it has carried out an analysis of distribution of marks in NEET-UG 2024 at the national, state, city and centre level, adding that the findings indicate that the distribution of marks is "quite normal.

'Distribution Of Marks Quite Normal': "This analysis indicates that the distribution of marks is quite normal and there seems to be no extraneous factor, which would influence the distribution of marks," the NTA said in its affidavit, which also gave details about the system in place for ensuring confidential printing of question papers, its transportation and distribution.

What NTA Said In Affidavit: The NTA's affidavit filed before the top court, cited in an NDTV report, said that the six students at the Jhajjar centre scored 720 after they were awarded grace marks for loss of time. But in the retest on May 23, they could not score full marks, taking the number of students with 720/720 to 61.

NTA On Why So Many Toppers: NTA said that 17 candidates out of these 61 had scored full marks on provisional answer keys, while the remaining 44 got a perfect score after revision in an Answer Key of Physics. "During the Answer Key Challenge period, ie, from 29.05.2024 to 01.06.2024, NTA received 13.373 challenges to the provisional answer key of one question in Physics. Due to the differences in the old and new editions of the NCERT textbook, the Subject Expert(s) held that two options may be taken as correct in place of one option for this Question...," the NDTV report quoted NTA as saying.

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