Millennium Post

Different sets of question papers for NEET: Writ petition filed in HC

Kolkata: Three medical aspirants from the state have filed a Writ petition at the Calcutta High Court against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) being conducted twice or thrice with different sets of question papers which is a gross violation of the Supreme Court order.

The Apex Court in an earlier order had said that the NEET should be conducted across the country in a single set of question paper to maintain parity and also to ensure that the intelligence of candidates from different states may be judged on equal footing. If the exam is conducted with different sets of questions, it could vitiate the whole process and it may be difficult to evaluate their merit properly.

The petitioners pointed out that the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Amendment Act 2016 that came up following the Supreme Court's verdict, clearly mentions that a uniform entrance examination should be conducted throughout the country.

In the run-up to the national level medical exam, NEET which was eventually conducted on May 5, the National Testing Agency (NTA) in a public notice announced that the NEET (UG) — 2019 shall consist of one paper in all languages containing 180 objective type questions and it will be a single exam in pen-and-paper mode. It was also collaborated by a letter issued by the Medical Council of India. The NTA is an organisation that has been assigned to conduct the exam.

After cyclone 'Fani' ripped through Odisha, the NTA rescheduled the exam from May 5 to May 20 only for the students appearing from this state. Many city-based doctors wrote to Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar before and after the cyclone hit the coastal states to defer the exam across the country to avoid the dissimilarity in the question papers. They also pointed out that the cyclone also caused damages in the states like Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Ministry and NTA went ahead and conducted the exam throughout the country except Odisha on May 5.

Meanwhile, the NTA has also ordered a re-examination at two centres in Bengaluru, Karnataka, and one centre in Siliguri in Bengal on May 20. The candidates at the Siliguri centre had opted Hindi as the medium of language in the exam but no Hindi question papers were supplied to the centre.

Dr Amiya Kumar Maity, one of the doctors who wrote to the Union HRD Ministry said: "In an exam like NEET, around 800 candidates get the same mark on an average. Even a difference of one mark can put a candidate far behind in the merit list. In 2013, there was a re-examination and the second set of question papers were very much similar with the first one."

Md. Alauddin Mandal, the lawyer of the petitioners said despite the issue being raised by doctors and students alike, neither the NTA nor the Ministry took any step in this regard. They conducted the examination in violation of the Supreme Court order.

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