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Madras HC mulls transferring NEET OMR sheet discrepancy case to SIT

A student had petitioned the court stating that his marks had changed between October 8 and October 17 on the OMR answer sheet uploaded by the NTA.

The Madras High Court questioned why the probe around the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheet discrepancies in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) cannot be shifted to a Special Investigation Team (SIT). The case concerns reports of mark discrepancies noticed by NEET aspirants in their OMR answer sheet that was uploaded on the website by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on October 5.

A few students who had noticed a change in their marks between October 8 and October 17. An aspirant from Coimbatore had approached the court over this discrepancy. According to his petition, his OMR sheet uploaded on the website showed 594 from October 8 to October 16 while on October 17, suddenly, his OMR answer sheet reflected 248 marks. The petitioner had also submitted evidence for his claims by way of screenshots and archives from his Google account.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner told the court on Tuesday that the student has lost out on an opportunity due to the incompetence of NTA. The counsel further stated that the Union government, instead of acknowledging the error, is trying to safeguard the image of NTA. He further stated that since the matter involves the future of students, the court must direct a CBI inquiry into it. Taking note of the arguments, the judge questioned whether it is possible to set up a Special Investigation Team for the case with CBI officials who have expertise in dealing with cyber crime and representatives from Tamil Nadu.

Rejecting the suggestion, the counsel for the Union government said that the National Informatics Centre can probe the matter since the agency has enough expertise in dealing with such issues and that since it is an autonomous agency, there will not be any interference from the side of the government. The counsel for the NTA, in turn, said that an SIT probe can be ordered only if there is a prima facie case. He argued that the petitioner has no case and hence the issue cannot be handed over to the SIT. Adding that OMR sheets cannot be tampered with, NTA’s counsel said that ordering a CBI probe will cast aspersions over the credibility and reputation of NTA. Noting down all the submissions, the judge posted the case for its next hearing on February 18. 

Source: The News Minute