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The CBSE on June 6 denied in the Madras High Court that vernacular question papers for NEET 2017 for admission to MBBS and BDS courses were easier than the papers in English. In its counter affidavit to petitions seeking cancellation of the National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test held recently citing alleged non-uniformity in the exam, the CBSE rejected the contention that question papers in vernacular languages such as Gujarati were easier compared to English.
In an interim order on the petitions, Justice M V Muralidharan had on May 24 stayed the publication of the NEET results and directed officials of the Medical Council of India, the CBSE director and the Union health ministry to file their counter affidavits.
The petitioners have alleged that uniform question papers were not given. In Tamil Nadu, a different set of questions was given to those who opted for English and Tamil, they said claiming that the one in Tamil was easier.
Seeking vacation of the stay, the CBSE counter said the question papers had been set — at easy average and tough levels — and they had been moderated by the experts and the issue of one question being tougher than the other did not arise.
It was only experts who decided on the difficulty level of the question papers. The counter said 90.75 per cent of the students had written the examination in English and only 9.25 per cent of the students had written in vernacular languages. It also said question papers were prepared in vernacular language to ensure that there was no leakage. In case of leakage, it would be enough if re-examination was held only for 1.05 lakh students. In some cases, not even 0.03 per cent of the candidates opted for vernacular language.
Besides, the scheme of NEET examination was a single eligibility-cum-entrance test and not a single question paper test, the counter said. The stay of publication of results would jeopardise the interests of lakhs of students. There was already delay in the publication of results and it should not be delayed further, the counter said. Hence, the court should vacate the stay and enable students join the course.
The court had yesterday sought the English translation of Gujarati, Hindi and Marathi question papers of the NEET.