Subscription Subscription
Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai Parents and students question NEET UG scoring irregularities

Mumbai: Parents and students question NEET-UG scoring irregularities

Updated on: 13 June,2024 06:23 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Record number of perfect scores raises eyebrows; parents question unwarranted grace marks awarded

Mumbai: Parents and students question NEET-UG scoring irregularities

The NEET-UG exam was conducted on May 5

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) results announced earlier this month have opened up a box of controversies and allegations regarding several discrepancies. A candidate from Bangalore has issued a legal notice to the National Testing Agency, highlighting the issue of bonus marks given to 44 students who provided incorrect answers but challenged a question.

The issue

The NTA released the results of the NEET-UG on June 4. This year the examination has come under scrutiny as an unusually high number of candidates achieved a perfect score of 720/720. Since 2019, the NEET UG has not seen more than three toppers in any given year. In 2019 and 2020, there was one topper each year. In 2021, there were three toppers, followed by one in 2022, and two in 2023.

Keshav Karunakar, a parent Keshav Karunakar, a parent 

This year, a total of 67 examinees secured the top spot nationwide, all achieving All India Rank 1. Concerns also rose over candidates scoring 718 or 719 marks, which some argued were implausible within the exam's framework. The alleged irregularities prompted parents across the country to file complaints and issue legal notices.

Challenges to the NEET UG results emerged, with at least two petitions lodged in separate high courts. Earlier, on June 1 three days ahead of results, the plea submitted to the Supreme Court urged a re-evaluation of the examination due to alleged question paper leaks.  Even the Jaipur Association of Resident Doctors had shared their concern over the NTA’s silence on the alleged paper leak.

One such parent, Keshav Karunakar, whose daughter secured a score of 695 has issued a legal notice to the NTA. Talking to mid-day, Karunakar said, "Last year, a score of 695 was ranked around 600, but this year, the same score has inflated to rank 3300. I'm not approaching this emotionally. I seek a reasonable explanation for this change. On the day of the exam the NTA declared that, apart from one centre in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, which reported a delay, the exam was conducted smoothly across the country. However, after June 4, the NTA claimed to have awarded grace marks to 1,536 out of 23.3 lakh students for an 'imaginary' loss of time at six centre out of 4,750."

Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted on the issue
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted on the issue

To compensate for this loss of time, the NTA referenced a 2018 Supreme Court ruling about time loss during online exams due to software failure. However, this ruling pertained to non-medical and non-engineering exams, not written exams.

According to the NTA, 17 students scored 720 out of 720 without any grace marks, six students were awarded grace marks for loss of time, and 44 students were given bonus marks for challenging a physics question. These 44 students initially scored 715 marks but received five bonus marks, elevating their scores to 720 and rank 1.

"Ironically, they got an answer to a basic physics question wrong and received 'bonus marks' for challenging the question. This led to a 65 per cent rank inflation at number 1 when including these 44 students. Adding the six who received grace marks increases the rank inflation to 72 percent," explained Karunakar. Parents say they don't want re-exam, and the grace marks awarded should be cancelled instead.

J. Fernandes a parent from Mumbai said, "After studying hard for two years, students are not willing to face a re-exam. By the time the exam is retaken and results announced, it will be almost the end of the year, further harming the students and wasting their crucial academic time. All this mess is due to the awarding of grace marks.”

Meanwhile, career counsellors demand that the Union government bring transparency to the NEET examination as lakhs of students are getting affected. "The NTA's clarifications are neither satisfactory nor convincing. The number of aspirants increased by over 3 lakh, but this doesn't justify the jump from two toppers last year to 67 this year. More than half of these toppers benefited from grace marks, which affects other students' ranks and their chances of getting into top medical colleges," said a South Mumbai-based career counsellor.

Marking scheme questioned

The NTA, pointed out a significant increase in the number of candidates for the 2024 exam, with nearly 3 lakh more students compared to last year, as one of the factors for the increase in top rankers. Last week on Saturday, the NTA addressed these scoring irregularities in the NEET UG 2024 results. They explained that compensatory marks were awarded to candidates who experienced inadequate time allocation.

A committee of experts evaluated the grievances and determined the compensation based on answering efficiency and time lost, as established by the Supreme Court's 2018 ruling. "The loss of examination time was ascertained, and such candidates were compensated with marks based on their answering efficiency and time lost.”

Nullify results

The Maharashtra government has urged the Centre to halt the counselling process until the issue is resolved. Dinesh Waghmare, the Principal Secretary of the Department of Medical Education, appealed to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the National Testing Agency (NTA) to revoke the grace marks given to specific students due to lost time during the exam.

Last week, Maharashtra Minister of Medical Education Hasan Mushrif requested the immediate cancellation of the NEET results. "The NEET results declared this year appear to indicate that the exam was conducted under dubious circumstances, possibly involving bribery. As a result, students from Maharashtra may be unable to secure admission to any medical college. This is unfair. On behalf of the government, we will be writing to the National Medical Commission (NMC) demanding that these exams be scrapped immediately.

Opposition up in arms

Nana Patole, president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress, has demanded the cancellation of the NEET exams, alleging a scam that has shattered the dreams of millions of aspiring doctors. He claimed that the central government, which controls NEET, has allowed corruption to thrive, disappointing parents who spend lakhs to educate their children. 

"Exciting news! Mid-day is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!

Register for FREE
to continue reading !

This is not a paywall.
However, your registration helps us understand your preferences better and enables us to provide insightful and credible journalism for all our readers.

Mid-Day Web Stories

Mid-Day Web Stories

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK