Allahabad High Court on Thursday directed the CBSE to revise marks awarded to all candidates who had appeared in the NEET exam this year and decide the “merit/rank accordingly” in view of incorrect reply for one of the 180 objective type questions given in the answer key. A Division Bench comprising Justice Tarun Agarwala and Justice Ashok Kumar passed the order while allowing a writ petition filed by Saumitra Gigodia who had scored 665 out of 720 marks in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Tests for admission to undergraduate medical courses and secured an all-India rank of 137.
The petitioner had moved the court with the contention that he was “dismayed to see that the official answer to question number 172 of test booklet Y was incorrect” following which he “submitted a representation against the OMR grading on payment of Rs 1,000”.
Upon getting no response from the CBSE, the petitioner filed an RTI application which “remained pending” following which he filed the petition “praying for a writ of mandamus commanding the respondents to take a decision on the challenge made by the petitioner” and “to award 05 marks to the petitioner for question no. 172”.
Allowing the petition, the court, however, remarked, “We find that question no. 172 in test booklet code Y could not be answered correctly by any candidate. We are, therefore, of the opinion that in the larger interest of administration the benefit should be extended not only to the petitioner but to all the candidates.”
“The petitioner is entitled to be awarded 5 marks (04 marks for the question and 01 marks for minus marking). We also direct the CBSE to give appropriate marks to all the candidates in the like manner for question no. 172 and the corresponding question is given in other booklets,” the court added.
“Even though the petitioner had not claimed the refund of the prescribed fee for challenging a key answer since we find that the challenge made by the petitioner was correct we are of the opinion that the petitioner is entitled to a refund of Rs 1,000. We accordingly issue a mandamus commanding the CBSE to refund Rs 1,000 to the petitioner at the earliest,” the court ruled.