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NEET UG 2024 Controversy: An Overview and the Supreme Court Verdict

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The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2024 has been at the center of a major controversy, generating widespread debate and concern among students, parents, and educational institutions across India. NEET UG is a highly competitive examination for admission to undergraduate medical courses in India, and controversies surrounding it have significant implications.

The Controversy

The controversy primarily revolved around three major issues: allegations of a paper leak, concerns over the difficulty level of the examination, and the awarding of grace marks.

  1. Paper Leak Allegations: Reports emerged shortly after the NEET UG 2024 examination that the question paper had been leaked. Allegations suggested that the leaked paper had been circulated among a select group of candidates, providing them with an unfair advantage. This sparked outrage among students and parents who demanded a thorough investigation and stringent action against those involved.
  2. Difficulty Level: Many candidates and coaching institutes reported that the NEET UG 2024 paper was significantly more challenging compared to previous years. This led to calls for a normalization of scores or a reevaluation of the paper to ensure a level playing field for all candidates.
  3. Grace Marks: There were reports that some candidates had been awarded grace marks to compensate for ambiguities in the question paper. This move was criticized by many as it could potentially skew the merit list and affect the fairness of the selection process.

Investigations and Findings

The National Testing Agency (NTA), the body responsible for conducting NEET UG, quickly responded to the allegations of the paper leak by launching an investigation. The NTA, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, conducted raids and questioned several individuals suspected of being involved in the alleged leak. Preliminary findings indicated that there might have been isolated incidents of malpractice, but no conclusive evidence of a widespread leak was found.

Regarding the difficulty level, the NTA defended the paper, stating that the examination is designed to be challenging to select the most meritorious candidates for limited medical seats. However, the agency acknowledged the concerns raised and assured that the results would be evaluated carefully to ensure fairness.

On the issue of grace marks, the NTA clarified that they were awarded only in specific cases where questions were found to be ambiguous or incorrect, and that such marks were given to all candidates uniformly.

Legal Proceedings

In response to the controversy, several students and parents filed petitions in various High Courts across the country, demanding the cancellation of the NEET UG 2024 examination and a re-conduct of the test. Some petitions also sought compensation for the mental stress and financial burden incurred due to the alleged leak, the challenging nature of the paper, and the awarding of grace marks.

The Supreme Court of India took cognizance of the multiple petitions and directed the NTA to submit a detailed report on the allegations and the steps taken to address them. The Court also indicated that it would consider the matter comprehensively, balancing the interests of students who were affected by the controversy and those who had prepared diligently for the examination.

Supreme Court Verdict

The Supreme Court has now delivered its verdict on the NEET UG 2024 controversy. The Court ruled that while there were isolated incidents of malpractice, there was no substantial evidence of a large-scale paper leak that would justify canceling the entire examination. The Court acknowledged the concerns regarding the difficulty level but upheld the NTA's defense that the examination is meant to be rigorous.

On the issue of grace marks, the Supreme Court found that the awarding of such marks was necessary to address ambiguities in the question paper. However, the Court ordered that candidates who had been allotted grace marks would need to re-sit for the NEET examination to ensure fairness. This decision aims to mitigate any potential advantage or disadvantage caused by the grace marks.

The re-conduct of the examination for these candidates is to be organized by the NTA under strict supervision and enhanced security measures to prevent any further issues.

Additionally, the Supreme Court directed the NTA to re-evaluate the answer sheets of candidates suspected of malpractice and to implement stricter security measures for future exams. The Court also ordered the NTA to establish a grievance redressal mechanism to address concerns and complaints from candidates more effectively.

The Court dismissed the petitions seeking a complete re-conduct of the examination, stating that such a move would be impractical and unfair to the majority of candidates who had prepared and performed under the given conditions.

Current Status

Following the Supreme Court verdict, the NTA is now preparing to declare the NEET UG 2024 results for candidates who were not affected by the grace marks issue. The re-examination for candidates who were allotted grace marks is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. The agency has assured all candidates that necessary steps are being taken to ensure the integrity and fairness of the evaluation process.

The NTA has also begun implementing the Court's directives, including enhancing security protocols and establishing a robust grievance redressal system to prevent future controversies.


The NEET UG 2024 controversy has highlighted significant challenges in the conduct of high-stakes examinations in India. The Supreme Court's verdict aims to balance the interests of fairness and practicality, ensuring justice for all candidates while maintaining the integrity of the examination process. The outcome of this controversy will likely have long-lasting implications for future editions of NEET and other competitive examinations in the country.