THE CENTRAL Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) may approach the Supreme Court against the order of the Madras High Court to award 196 marks to all candidates who appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in Tamil this year.
The national school board, sources in the HRD Ministry told The Indian Express, has sounded the government on the option of appealing against the order. A final decision, however, will be made only after seeking legal opinion and consulting the Health Ministry.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the CBSE, which conducts NEET on behalf of the Health Ministry, to give four marks each for 49 questions to roughly 24,000 examinees on account of ambiguities in the Tamil translation of the said questions. The Board has been given two weeks to bring out a fresh list of qualified candidates.
Stating that the students who appeared for the exam in Tamil should be provided a level playing field, the court had said: “The difficulty of a student in taking an examination of such importance, in understanding rightly a wrong question, be howsoever mild the error, is to be appreciated, placing ourselves in his shoes and not in the shoes of those having the leisure of easy chair reflection.”
Implementing the High Court order, the government feels, could lead to more litigation as it would push a large number of candidates out of the current merit list. That apart, awarding an additional 196 marks to those who took the test in Tamil could also result in some candidates scoring more than the total marks. The NEET-2018 paper, for admission to medical and dental colleges, had 180 questions with total 720 marks.
“Moreover, the NEET bulletin clearly states that candidates opting for regional languages will be given a bi-lingual question paper and, in case of any ambiguity in translation, the English version will be treated as final,” said a source in the HRD Ministry explaining one of the grounds on which the CBSE could approach the apex court against the High Court order.
The Board has been asked by the government to study the court order and deduce the implications of implementing it. Once, all possible scenarios are though of, then a decision on filing an appeal in the Supreme court will be taken.
This year, there are roughly 67,000 MBBS seats and 30,000 BDS seats on offer via NEET. About 13 lakh candidates appeared for the test, of which roughly 1.2 lakh were from Tamil Nadu. A total of 24,000 students had taken the test in Tamil.