On Thursday, the Supreme Court overruled the Madras High Court’s order that declared to award 196 grace marks to NEET (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test) aspirants, who appeared for the exam in the Tamil language.
NEET exam is an entrance exam that determines the eligibility of students to pursue Medical and Dental undergraduate courses in India. The syllabus for NEET is homogenous and can be taken in any medium (language) as per the convenience of the aspirant. The latest aspirants, who appeared for the exam in Tamil, claimed that 49 questions were mistranslated leading to a lot of errors reported The News Minute.
The Supreme Court order
The Madras High Court had earlier declared to award four marks to each of the 49 mistranslated questions in the Tamil language paper which added up to a total of 196 marks for a total of 24,000 candidates.
The number of students who appeared for NEET 2018 exams was 13.23 lakhs, out of which 1.5 lakh students had opted to write the exam in regional languages. Reportedly, a bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao finally quashed the Madras High Court order and said that “blind allocation” of 196 grace marks had been done without the application of mind.
A 13-page judgement from the SC argued that all medical and dental institutions train students only in English and the bilingual question paper was to help students, who were familiarised with Tamil.
Reportedly, it also stated the necessity for an aspirant to have English knowledge as the NEET board has mentioned in the question paper to verify the terms of ambiguity in English. It further argued that the questions in English had no grievance. In explanation to the context, the word ‘octopus’ was mistranslated as ‘Aathadapuz’ and ‘cheetah as ‘Sita’, but a simple glance at the English version would have cleared the problems.
NEET exams had faced a lot of controversy in the past in Tamil Nadu, as students and professors felt the current state board syllabus was not enough to appear for competitive exams and Tamil medium students are at a disadvantage.
However, the NEET exams were declared to be mandatory for taking any medical course. The apex court decided that any order to sustain the High Court’s order would favour the Tamil students because even the students scoring in the twenties would end up scoring above 200.
It also noticed that High Court has not attempted to check if the aspirant has attempted the mistranslated question and proceeded to award marks for everyone who opted to appear for the exam in Tamil. Further, the National Testing Agency ensured to be careful and improve translations.
Students are highly disappointed about the verdict and said that it is incorrect as the options for the MCQs were not apt. A second time NEET aspirant Jeeva said that he has failed the exam and has now decided to take up engineering, reported The News Minute.
Parent- Teacher Association member, Nandhakumar claimed that the apex court had shattered the future of the students, who were waiting eagerly for a favourable judgement. He also said that students are forced to pay for the mistake done by the people who had badly set up the question paper.