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NEET-UG 2024 row: SC to hear petitions on paper leak allegations on July 18

NEET-UG: According to the Centre's report to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, data analytics conducted by IIT-Madras on the NEET-UG 2024 results revealed 'no abnormality'

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Students Federation of India (SFI) activists stage a protest outside Calcutta University. (Photo: PTI)

Rimjhim Singh New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned till July 18 the hearing of several petitions related to alleged paper leaks and irregularities in the 2024 National Eligibility Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG). This follows the recent submission by the Union government of a new affidavit opposing calls for a re-test in the ongoing case.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, said, "The further hearing shall be on Thursday (July 18)."

Report by IIT-Madras

The Centre, supported by a detailed report from IIT-Madras, argued against claims of widespread malpractices or unfair advantages given to candidates at specific centres.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court will review more than 40 petitions. In the previous hearing, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, leading a three-judge bench, considered multiple pleas and scheduled further proceedings for July 11.

In a hearing on July 8, the Supreme Court instructed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to disclose information regarding the timing and methods of the paper leak, along with the duration between the leak and the examination date. Furthermore, the court directed the central government to submit affidavits detailing their actions in response to the incident.

NEET-UG 2024 row: Data analytics show no malpractice, says Centre

According to the Centre’s report to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, data analytics conducted by IIT-Madras on the NEET-UG 2024 results revealed ‘no abnormality’. The analysis indicated that there were no signs of widespread cheating or specific groups of candidates unfairly benefiting from abnormal score increases.

On Monday, the top court inquired about the possibility of employing data analytics to pinpoint suspicious cases and separate affected students from those unaffected.

In response, the Centre stated in its affidavit that the Department of Higher Education had formally asked the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to carry out the task. “IIT-Madras was also requested to ascertain through data analytics, if there are any suspected cases who could have indulged in wrongdoing and other red flags which indicate any aberration in the spread of top performers/ candidates. A set of parameters, which shall form the basis of the analytics, was also requested to be devised,” the Centre said.

Videos showing paper leak are fake: NTA tells court

The NTA has refuted claims circulating on social media app Telegram that purportedly show leaked photos of a NEET-UG question paper, confirming these videos to be false.

“Discussions within the Telegram channel indicate that members identified the video as fake. The timestamp was manipulated to create a false impression of an early leak. Comments and discussions on social media further corroborate that the images in the video were edited, and the date was intentionally modified to suggest a May 4 leak. The screenshots highlight the fabricated nature of the claims made in the video”, the NTA said in its affidavit.

NEET-UG 2024: Counselling from third week of July

The central government announced that counseling will commence in four rounds, beginning in the third week of July. “For any candidate, if it is found that he/she has been the beneficiary of any malpractice, the candidature of such person would be cancelled at any stage during the counselling process or even afterwards,” the Centre said

NEET-UG paper leak scam: CBI arrests two from Patna

The CBI, on Tuesday, arrested two more people in connection to the case related to the alleged NEET-UG paper leak, bringing the total number of arrests by the agency to 11.

Those arrested include Sunny, an aspiring NEET-UG candidate from Nalanda, and Ranjit Kumar, father of another candidate from Gaya.

In Bihar, the CBI has now arrested a total of eight individuals in connection with the NEET-UG paper leak. Additionally, one person each has been arrested in Gujarat's Latur and Godhra over alleged manipulation, along with another individual from Dehradun linked to a broader conspiracy.

Evidence shows question paper was leaked, says SC

The Supreme Court discussed several petitions regarding the review of NEET-UG 2024 on Monday, noting indications of question paper leakage.

The apex court said, “There are certain red flags, 67 candidates scoring 720/720; in previous years, the proportion was very low. If a leak has been propagated through social media, then a re-test has to be ordered.”

The top court additionally stated that it is currently evaluating the nature of the leak, without confirming its existence. “You don’t cancel a whole exam only because two students engaged in malpractice. Therefore, we must be careful about the nature of leaks. Before we order a re-test, we must be conscious of the extent of leak as we are dealing with 2.3 million students.”

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First Published: Jul 11 2024 | 3:02 PM IST

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