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The Supreme Court of India on Monday acknowledged that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Undergraduate courses (NEET-UG) held on May 5, 2024, was compromised by a question paper leak. The court has now directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to provide information on steps taken to identify beneficiaries of the leak.

A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, sought details from the NTA about the centers and cities where the leak occurred, and the methods used to identify beneficiaries and dissemination channels of the leaked paper.

“The fact that sanctity of exam has been compromised is beyond doubt. It is an admitted fact that there is a leak and the nature of the leak is something that we are determining. If it is not extensive then there is no cancellation. But before we order a retest, we must be conscious of the extent of the leak as we are dealing with 23 lakh students…,” said the bench.

The Supreme Court has also requested a status report from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on its ongoing probe into the paper leak. The court will scrutinize whether the breach occurred at a systemic level and if it’s possible to segregate beneficiaries of the fraud from untainted students.

The bench outlined that a retest may be necessary if the breach affects the entire process and beneficiaries cannot be isolated. However, if the leak is confined to specific centers and beneficiaries can be identified, a complete retest may not be warranted.

The court has asked the CBI to file its status report, and the Centre and NTA to submit their affidavits with all relevant details by 5 pm on July 10. The case is scheduled for the next hearing on July 11.

This development comes in response to a batch of pleas seeking to recall the NEET-UG 2024 results and conduct a fresh examination, citing paper leakage and malpractices. The NEET-UG, conducted by NTA, is the primary entrance exam for admissions into MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, and other related courses across India.

The exam in question was held across 4,750 centers on May 5, with approximately 24 lakh candidates participating.

(Inputs from ANI)

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