The Supreme Court Friday stayed an investigation by CB-CID into the claim of a medical student that his OMR answer sheet of NEET-UG-2020 was changed on the website and his initial marks were reduced by over 50 percent.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant issued notice after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the National Testing Agency (NTA) which conducts the NEET examination, said that as per their investigation, there was only one OMR sheet uploaded on the website and the student got 248 marks out of 720 instead of 594, as claimed by him.
“There shall be a stay of the direction for further investigation by the CB-CID, pending further orders”, the bench said. It added that pending further orders, there shall be a stay of the operation of the impugned judgment and order of the division bench of the Madras High Court dated 25 January 2022.
The bench clarified that the admission of the student shall not be disturbed, pending further orders of the court. K S Manoj, who appeared in NEET-UG-2020 had filed a writ petition before the Madras High Court seeking to call the records relating to the score card issued by NTA which was uploaded on October 16, 2020 and a direction to the agency that his result be declared as 594 out of 720 marks as reflected in the first OMR sheet.
According to Manoj, in the first OMR sheet uploaded by the NTA on October 16, 2020, the petitioner, on verification with the answer key, has found that he secured 594 marks and on the next day, a different OMR sheet was uploaded, reflecting that he had secured 248 marks.
On the very same day, he made a representation to the NTA for which, the agency by reply dated October 26, 2020 sent a communication to him that on verification of the original OMR sheet and score card of the petitioner, it was found that he secured only 248 marks out of 720 and suggested to approach the agency’s office to verify the details.
The High Court by its verdict of January 25, ordered a CB-CID probe into the claim of Manoj and his parents that his OMR answer sheet was changed. During the course of hearing before the High Court, the NTA probed the matter and submitted its finding in which it said that only one OMR sheet was uploaded on October 5, 2020 and there cannot be two OMR sheets as claimed by the petitioner.
The NTA has claimed that the candidate fabricated the OMR sheet and screenshots which have been submitted by him are from Google and not from NIC website, which had hosted the OMR sheet.
The High Court had an interaction with the petitioner and his family members virtually and cautioned them that in the event of any mischief being found on their part, not only the petitioner, but his parents also will be put to task, but they stood on their case and volunteered for ordering for an investigation through any agency.
During the pendency of the plea before the High Court, the candidate was permitted to appear in counselling by keeping his marks as 594 and he had secured admission Thoothukkudi Medical College.
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