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Plea Claims Discrepancies in NEET OMR Sheets, HC Seeks NTA Stand

Delhi High Court (Image: PTI)

Delhi High Court (Image: PTI)

Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the NTA seeking its stand on the plea by 14 candidates who have also challenged the procedure laid down by the testing agency for challenging the answer key and the OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheets.

The Delhi High Court Monday sought National Testing Agency's (NTA) reply on a plea claiming major discrepancies in the OMR sheets uploaded with regard to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (UG) 2020 conducted in September. Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the NTA seeking its stand on the plea by 14 candidates who have also challenged the procedure laid down by the testing agency for challenging the answer key and the OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheets.

The court had on December 11 allowed the petitioners to examine their OMR sheets and take their photographs. On Monday, Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and advocates Tanvi Dubey andAvishkar Singhvi, appearing for the candidates, told the court that the inspection revealed that some OMR sheets were blank and in one case a torn end of the sheet was stuck together with tape.

They claimed there were other discrepancies in the OMR sheets they had examined and suggested setting up a high powered committee to look into the matter. The suggestion was opposed by the counsel for NTA who said that allowing it would lend credence to the allegations of the petitioners.

He said that out of nearly 16 lakh students who registered for NEET only 16 candidates — 14 by way of instant petition and two others earlier — have approached the court. The NTA's counsel claimed that students who have not done well in the NEET are now coming to court claiming the OMR sheets were tampered with and sought time to file his reply to the allegations in the petition.

The court, thereafter, gave the NTA time till January 4, 2021 to file its reply and listed the matter for hearing on January 8, 2021. The petitioners have contended that on October 5 when the OMR sheets were uploaded on the NTA website, they were shocked to see that answers recorded on these did not tally with answers marked by them at the time of the test and there was an apprehension that the sheets were tampered with.

They have also contended that the process to challenge the OMR answer sheets was "arbitrary and unjust" as it requires payment of Rs 1,000 per question "which is beyond the financial capacity of the petitioners and thousands of other similarly placed students". "It is most humbly submitted that payment of Rs 1,000 per question is unjust and irrational and is also against the fundamental right of the petitioners," the petition has contended.

It has also sought refund of Rs 91,000 paid by one of the petitioners in respect of 91 answers in his OMR sheet which he has challenged.

first published:December 21, 2020, 21:44 IST