Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking cancellation of NEET-UG 2021 entrance examination

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the petition seeking cancellation of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) entrance examination held on September 12, 2021, conducted by the National Testing Agency across the nation, stating that the leak of examination paper and filing of some FIRs in this regard are not sufficient grounds to cancel the examination, especially at the cost of the hard work done by lakhs of students.

The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai passed the decision on a petition alleging instances of cheating and malpractices that happened in the said examination and sought enhancement of the standard of Security protocols, including the bio-metric verification of candidates and use of jammers to conduct the examination in a fair and transparent manner. The petition also prayed for directions to the DGPs of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to file a report in a week.

The Counsel of petitioner Ninad Dogra submitted before the Court that at least five cases have been recorded by the CBI regarding the dummy candidates appearing in place of original candidates. This happened on several centres. He requested the court to call for the status report from the Union of India and the National Testing Agency. 

The Court, while observing that the very basis of filing this petition is the allegation that there is some impersonation done by the candidates to appear in the exams, dismissed the petition and instructed the Counsel not to bring this kind of petitions that cost loss to lakhs of persons.

According to the petition, from the bare perusal of FIR dated September 12, 2021 registered by CBI, it is crystal clear that NEET-UG 2021 entrance examination paper was leaked under a criminal conspiracy wherein involvement of renowned coaching centers and paper solver gang has been found. On the date of the examination itself, CBI registered FIR against 4 accused persons and unknown others. FIR clearly states that the process of examination was manipulated by using proxy candidates and an exorbitant amount up to 50 lakhs per candidate was charged by coaching centers and solver gangs.

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The petition stated that initial investigation has established the fact beyond doubt that the NEET UG 2021 entrance examination held on 12.09.2021 was irreversibly vitiated by use of fraudulent means and unfair practices. Apart from CBI, multiple FIRs dated 13.09.2021 have also been registered by the Police in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra in respect of NEET UG 2021 Entrance Exam Paper leak.

It was mentioned by the petitioners that the case was squarely covered by the Supreme Court judgment reported as “Tanvi Sarwal vs. Central Board of Secondary Education and Ors. reported as (2015) 6 SCC 573” wherein All India Pre-Medical /Pre-Dental Entrance Test held on 03.05.2015 for Academic Session 2015-2016 (conducted by CBSE) was cancelled by this Hon’ble Court as the examination was vitiated by the use of unfair means and malpractices. The Supreme  Court while directing to conduct examination afresh held “…..Even if, one undeserving candidate, a beneficiary of such illegal machination, though undetected is retained in the process it would be in denial of, the claim of more deserving candidates…..”.

The Petition alleged that unwanted malpractices in the NEET-2021 exam were not limited to a particular/individual region but throughout the country with multiple FIRs having been filed against such illegal activities.

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It was submitted that since the day of submission of the representation, requesting cancellation of NEET UG 2021 held on 12.09.2021 and conduct of examination afresh, petitioner students have been receiving life threatening calls pressurizing them to remain silent and to not demand re-examination.

“By way of the present petition, the innocent, deserving and meritorious students are being compelled to knock the doors of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India seeking a fair and equal opportunity of being tested for the purposes of admission to medical colleges”, the Petition reads.

On 12.09.2021, NEET-2021 exam was held across the country in accordance with the public notice dated 13.07.2021. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered an FIR in respect of NEET UG 2021 examination paper leak incident.

On 13.09.2021, Rajasthan Police issued a press note one of the centres for NEET 2021 in Jaipur and the question paper was leaked through what’s app to outsiders for being solved and then to be given to students who had paid consideration of about 30-35 lakhs.