Image Source : PTI The Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to clarify if there is a specific time limit for raising grievances regarding the OMR sheets provided to candidates who appeared in NEET-UG 2024. A vacation bench comprising Justices Manoj Misra and SVN Bhatti issued a notice to the NTA in response to a fresh plea filed by a private coaching center and several NEET candidates. The petition has been tagged with pending matters and is scheduled for hearing on July 8. Senior advocate R Basant, representing the coaching institute and the candidates, argued that some students who sat for the examination have not received their OMR sheets, highlighting a significant issue that needs to be addressed promptly.

What NTA’s counsel said? 

At the outset, the bench questioned senior advocate R Basant about how a private coaching institute could file an Article 32 petition in the Supreme Court, and what kind of fundamental rights of the institution are affected. The counsel representing the NTA responded by stating that the OMR sheets had been uploaded on the website and provided to the candidates. The bench then inquired whether there was any time limit for raising grievances about the OMR sheets. The NTA counsel requested time to seek instructions and asked for the petition to be listed along with the pending matters. “We will file a short reply by then to the query,” he said.

Basant pointed out that there is no set procedure or time limit to raise the grievance and therefore as an interim relief the candidates are seeking grant of OMR sheets. The bench then issued notice and tagged the petition with the pending matters while asking the counsel for NTA to file a short written reply to the court’s query on time limit.

SC to hear matter on July 8

On June 20, the top court sought responses from the Centre, the NTA and others on a slew of petitions, including those seeking scrapping of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) 2024 and a court-monitored probe, amid mounting outrage over alleged irregularities in conducting the all-India medical entrance test. While hearing separate pleas on the NEET-UG 2024, the apex court had on June 18 said even if there was “0.001 per cent negligence” on the part of anyone in the conduct of the examination, it should be thoroughly dealt with. It had listed all the petitions for hearing on July 8.

NEET-UG exam 2024

The 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 Centre and the NTA had on June 13 told the top court that they had cancelled the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses. The examination was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates appeared for it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4, apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets got completed earlier.

(With inputs from PTI)

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