NEET UG 2024

Supreme Court: While hearing petitions seeking the cancellation of the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) for the Under-Graduate (UG) 2024 over an alleged paper leak, irregularities and grant of grace marks over alleged ‘loss of time’, the three Judge Bench Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra JJ. has said that there is no doubt that NEET UG 2024 was compromised by question paper leak. However, it would have to determine to what extent the exam was compromised, to decide whether a retest would be needed or not.


On 9-02-2024, the National Testing Agency (‘NTA’) issued an online application form for NEET, a qualifying examination for admission to undergraduate medical and dentistry programs, for the year 2024. NTA conducted the NEET (UG) examination on 5-05-2024. Results were declared on 4 -06-2024.

On 5-05-2024, a First Information Report was lodged alleging a leak in the NEET (UG) 2024 question papers implicating offences under Sections 407, 408 and 409 read with Section 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). According to the petitioners, on 23-06-2024, the Economic Offences Unit of the Bihar Police issued a press release in regard to the paper leak. On the other hand, a communication was issued on 23-06-2024 by the Additional Director General of Police, Economic Offences Unit, stating that the Bihar Police has not issued an official press release or statement. The primary reliefs which have been sought is for a court-mandated re-test of the NEET(UG) examination which was conducted on 5-05-2024

Analysis and Order:

The Court noted that one student in 2020, three students in 2021, one student in 2022 and two students in 2023 secured a perfect score, There has been a radical increase in the number of students (sixty-seven) who secured a perfect score of 720 marks in 2024.

The Court said that the lodging of FIRs in multiple jurisdictions suggests that the complaints necessitate a thorough investigation to determine the full extent and implications of the paper leak. The investigation has in the meantime been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The Court set out the parameter based on which it would decide whether a retest would be needed or not:

  • Whether the alleged breach took place at the systemic level;
  • Whether the breach is of a nature which affects the integrity of the entire exam process; and
  • Whether it is possible to segregate the beneficiaries of the fraud from the untainted students.

The Court said that in a situation where the breach in the sanctity of an examination affects the entirety of the process and it is not possible to segregate those who are the beneficiaries of wrongdoing from others, a re-test is likely to be the most appropriate course of action. On the contrary, where the breach is confined to specific areas or centres and it is possible to identify those who are the beneficiaries of wrongdoing, it may not be appropriate to order a re-test particularly in an examination which has been conducted on such a massive scale and which involves over 23 lakh students.

The Court also said that it cannot be unmindful of the social consequences involving such a large body of students who have studied for the examination, undertaken costs and expenses and would have to undergo the rigours of a fresh examination if retest will to be ordered.

Thus, the Court viewed that a final decision would have to be deferred until a more detailed set of facts are placed on record. For that purpose, the Court directed the NTA and the Union Government to make a full disclosure before the Court as detailed below:

  • When and how NTA first became aware of the paper leak, including any internal notifications or external reports;
  • The cities or towns and the centres at which a leak has been noticed or in which candidates have complained of a leak;
  • The manner in which the question papers leaked were disseminated to candidates or other persons who would, in turn, distribute them to candidates;
  • The duration of time between the occurrence of the leak or the suspected occurrence of the leak and the actual conduct of the examination which took place between 2 pm and 5:20 pm on 5 May 2024;
  • The chain of custody of the question paper from the time of its preparation to the time of its dissemination to candidates on the day of the examination; and
  • Whether the entirety of the question paper was leaked or whether certain sections or questions were leaked.

The Court further directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to give a status report on its probe into the alleged leak and malpractices.

The second aspect on which NTA was directed to make a disclosure were:

  • The steps which were taken by NTA to identify the centres/cities at which the leak took place;
  • The modalities followed for identifying the beneficiaries of the leak;
  • The number of students who have so far been identified to be the beneficiaries of the leaked question papers and the centres at which they appeared for the examination.

The Court also directed the Central government and NTA to inform about whether it would be feasible for the Government’s cyber forensics unit to use data analytics to identify suspicious cases, to segregate tainted from the untainted students.

The Court als required a disclosure from NTA in regard to the modalities to be followed between the conclusion of the examination including the re-test which was held for 1563 students and the actual commencement of the counselling process.

The Court further asked for information about the steps which would be taken hereafter to ensure the sanctity of the NEET so that instances of the kind which have transpired during the present session are not repeated in the future.

The Court remarked that the careers of millions of students are at stake. Further, the Bench suggested that it would be necessary for the Government to consider setting up a multi-disciplinary team consisting of renowned experts who command the wider confidence of the community to ensure that due measures are being taken to obviate any further breaches in the NEET examinations or other examinations conducted by NTA, in the future.

However, the Court said that if a committee has already been set up by the Government for deducing the steps to be taken for the future, a complete set of details regarding the committee should be made available to the Court, to decide whether the Government appointed committee should be allowed to proceed as it is or whether the composition of the committee should be enhanced so as to bring together a pool of talent from diverse fields bearing not only on administration but also on domain expertise and data analytics.

The Court directed to provide these details by 5 PM on 10-07-2024.

The matter will next be taken up on 11-07-2024.

Also Read:

[NEET UG 2024] Supreme Court issues notice to NTA and Union Govt. seeking response on alleged paper leaks and malpractices

[NEET UG 2024] SC takes on record Centre’s stand that grace marks given to 1563 candidates for ‘loss of time’ will be cancelled & option for retest will be granted


2024 SCC OnLine SC 1666

Appellants :
Vanshika Yadav

Respondents :
Union of India

Advocates who appeared in this case

For Petitioner(s):
Narender Hooda, Sr. Adv. Mr. Anurag Kulharia, Adv. Mr. Sumit Kumar Sharma, Adv. Mr. Rajat Sangwan, Adv. Dr. Navya Jannu, Adv. Mr. Vaibhav Yadav, Adv. Mr. Anas Chaudhary, Adv. Mr. Sunny Kadiyan, AOR Ms. Shehla Chaudhary, Adv. Mr. Mathews J. Nedumpara, Adv. Ms. Usha Nandini V., AOR Ms. Maria Nedumpara, Adv. Ms. Hemali Kurne, Adv. Ms. Rohini Amin, Adv. Mr. Shameem Fayiz, Adv. Mr. Sanjay R. Hegde, Sr. Adv. Mr. Shwetank Sailakwal, AOR Mr. Tanmaya Agarwal, Adv. Mrs. Aditi Agarwal, Adv. Mr. Deepakpanjwani, Adv. Mr. Anas Tanwir, Adv. Mr. Mayank Suryan, Adv. Mr. Sharukh Ali, Adv. Mr. Ankit Tiwari, Adv. Mr. Tanay Hegde, Adv. Ms. Riya Sharma, Adv. Mr. Ehada Ur Rehman, Adv. Mr. Prateek Chandra, Adv. Mr. Durgesh Shukla, Adv. Mr. Aslam Ahmed Jamal, AOR Mr. Rohit Jain, Adv. Ms. Kheyali Singh, Adv. Mrs. Shabiesta Nabi, Adv. Mr. Rahat Afridi, Adv. Mr. Abhishek Dwivedi, Adv. Mr. Kailashi Uday Kapoor, Adv. Ms. Praveena Gautam, AOR Mr. Dinesh Jotwani, Adv. Ms. Ekta Gambhir, Adv. Mr. Pawan Shukla, Adv. Ms. Kanika Kalyan, Adv. Ms. Akanksha Tyagi, Adv. Ms. Pusshp Gupta, Adv. Mr. S.D. Singh, Adv. Ms. Bharti Tyagi, AOR Ms. Shweta Sinha, Adv. Mr. Ram Kripal Singh, Adv. Ms. Meenu Singh, Adv. Mr. Ashish Pandey, AOR Mr. Shubham Saxena, Adv. Dr. Daksha Sharma, Adv. Ms. Aarti Sharma, Adv. Mr. Anmol Goyal, Adv. Petitioner-in-person Mr. Feroz Shaikh, Adv. Mr. Aamir Naseem, Adv. Mr. Inam Ahmad Khan, Adv. Mr. Danish Zubair Khan, AOR Mr. Basant R, Sr. Adv. Mr. A. Karthik, AOR Ms. Sreepriya K, Adv. Ms. Smrithi Suresh, Adv. Mr. Raunak Arora, Adv. Mr. Naresh Kaushik, Sr. Adv. Mr. Vardhman Kaushik , AOR Mr. Anand Singh, Adv. Mr. Mayank Sharma, Adv. Page 4 of 19 Mr. Ajay Kanojia, Adv. Ms. Shikha John, Adv. Mr. Dhiraj Singh, Adv. Mr. Arastu Upadhyay, Adv. Ms. Sonali Vikaram Bashi, Adv. Mr. Subhash Motan, Adv. Ms. Babli Kaur, Adv. Mr. Arun Kumar Nagar, Adv. Mr. Sudhir Naagar, AOR Mr. Amit Anand Tiwari, Sr. Adv. Mr. Aditya Shanker Pandey, Adv. Mr. Atul Kumar, Adv. Mr. Shaurya Sahay, Adv. Mr. Himanshu Sehrawat, Adv. Mr. Aditya Kumar, Adv. Ms. Rekha Bakshi, Adv. Mr. Vishal Ranjan, Adv. Ms. Yoothica Pallavi, AOR Mr. Shaju Francis, Adv. Ms. Meenakshi Kalra, AOR Mr. S N Kalra, Adv. Mr. Amratansh Aggarwal, Adv. Mr. Kamal, Adv. Ms. Jyoti Sharma, Adv. Ms. Meghana Gade, Adv. Mr. Aman Nandrajog, Adv. Mr. Sumeer Sodhi, AOR Mr. Ujjwal Malhotra, Adv. Mr. Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, Sr. Adv. Mr. Shamim Ahammed, Adv. Mr. Supratik Sarkar, Adv. Mr. Arnab Sinha, Adv. Mr. Arko Maity, Adv. Mr. Saurav Gupta, AOR Mr. Avdhesh Kumar Singh, Adv. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Visen, AOR Mr. Parth Sarathi, Adv. Mr. Rajesh Kumar Maurya, Adv. Mr. Gyanendra Vikram Singh, Adv. Mr. Shiv Sagar Tiwari, AOR Ms. Neetu Verma, Adv. Mr. Satendra Singh, Adv. Mr. Himanshu Chauhan, Adv. Ms. Neelam Akhtar, Adv. Ms. Charu Mathur, AOR Mr. Nishesh Sharma, AOR Mr. Amar Nath Saini, Adv. Mrs. Neelam Pathak, Adv. Mr. Karan Gupta, Adv. Mrs. Jolly Vikas Ahlawat, Adv. Ms. Chitranjali Negi, Adv. Mr. Rohit Singh, Adv. Mr. Nand Ram, Adv. Mr. Sanosh Paul, Sr. Adv. Mr. Sriharsh Nahush Bundela, AOR Mr. Vedant Mishra, Adv. Mr. Virendra Mohan, Adv. Mr. Suhaas Ratna Joshi, AOR Mr. Mahendra Singh Rawat, Adv. Ms. Mallika Joshi, Adv. Mr. P. Ramesh, Adv. Mr. Anuj Aggarwal, Adv. Mr. Shubanshu Gupta, AOR Mr. Chaitanya, Adv. Mr. Kartik Pant, Adv. Mr. Anand Singh, Adv. Mr. Chinmoy Khaladkar, Adv. Mr. B.K. Pal, AOR Mr. Raghav Sabharwal, AOR Ms. Tanvi Dubey, Adv. Mr. Anilendra Pandey, AOR Ms. Priya Kashyap, Adv. Mr. Rajeev Kumar Ranjan, Adv. Mr. Aditya Singh, AOR Mr. Shubham Singh, Adv. Mr. Kamal Kishor, Adv. Mr. Tanmay Yadav, AOR Mr. Alakh Alok Srivastava, AOR Mr. Rishabh Bafna, Adv. Mr. Kunal Cheema, AOR Mr. Raghav Deshpande, Adv. Mr. Shubham Chandankhede, Adv.

For Respondent(s):
Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG Mr. Amrish Kumar, AOR Mr. K Parmeswaran, Adv. Mr. Kanu Agarwal, Adv. Mr. Mayank Pandey, Adv. Mr. Udai Khanna, Adv. Mr. Samarpit Gupta, Adv. Mr. Ivan, Adv. Mr. Vivek Mathur, AOR Mr. Naresh Kaushik, Sr. Adv. Mr. Vardhman Kaushik, AOR Mr. Nishant Gautam, Adv. Mr. Dhruv Joshi, Adv. Mr. Anand Singh, Adv. Mr. Shubham Dwivedi, Adv. Mr. Mayank Sharma, Adv. Mr. Vinay Kaushik, Adv. Mr. Rudra Rout, Adv. Mr. Ajay Kanojia, Adv. Ms. Nidhi Jaswal, AOR Mr. Aaditya Aniruddha Pande, AOR Mr. Siddharth Dharmadhikari, Adv. Mr. Bharat Bagla, Adv. Mr. Sourav Singh, Adv. Mr. Aditya Krishna, Adv. Ms. Preet S. Phanse, Adv. Mr. Adarsh Dubey, Adv. Mr. Manish Kumar, AOR Mr. Mukesh Kumar, AOR Mr. Yashaswi Sk Chocksey, Adv. Mr. Ankit Singh, Adv. Mr. Vijay Rajput, Adv. Mr. Sushant, Adv. Mr. Yashish Chandra, Adv. Mr. Sujit Ghosh, Sr. Adv. Dr. Avinash Poddar, Adv. Ms. Anchal Poddar, Adv. Dr. Gaurav Gupta, Adv. Ms. Rudrani Mishra, Adv. Ms. Samiksha Goswami, Adv. Mr. Devendra Singh, AOR Mr. Mayank Aggarwal, AOR Mr. Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal, Adv. Mr. Sanchit Garga, AOR Mr. Nikhil Jain, AOR Ms. Divya Jain, Adv. Mr. Jasbir Singh Malik, Adv. Ms. Chandni Sharma, Adv. Mr. Tushar Rathi, Adv. Mr. Narender Kumar Sharma, Adv. Ms. Suman Sharma, Adv. Mr. Varun Punia, AOR Mr. Sudhanshu Choudhari, Sr. Adv. Mr. Sudhir Patil, Adv. Ms. Pranjal Chapalgaonkar, Adv. Ms. Gautami Yadav, Adv. Mrs. Sangeeta S. Pahune Patil, Adv. Mr. Sagar Pahune Patil, AOR, Mr. Abhinav Raghuvanshi, AOR Mr. Kushagra Pandey, Adv. Mr. Avinash Tripathi, Adv. Mr. Abhilash M.R., Adv. Mr. Sayooj Mohandas, Adv. Mr. Gautam Kumar Laha, Adv. Mr. Rajkumar, Adv. Mr. Arun Kumar, Adv. Ms. Sandra Jaison, Adv. M/s. M.R. Law Associates Mr. Ashwin Kumar Nair, AOR Mr. Ritik Gupta, Adv. Mr. Sunil Gupta, Adv. Mrs. Sheetal Gupta, Adv. Mr. P.V. Dinesh, Sr. Adv. Ms. Anne Mathew, AOR Mr. Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad, Sr. Adv. Mr. Namit Saxena, AOR Mr. Divik Mathur, Adv. Mr. Awnish Maithani, Adv. Mr. Swapnil Jain, Adv. Mr. Pranav Khoiwal, Adv. Mr. Thomas P Joseph, Sr. Adv. Mr. A Hariprasad, Sr. Adv. Mr. Bijo Mathew Joy, AOR Ms. Anzu K Varkey, Adv. Ms. Swathi H Prasad, Adv. Ms. Gifty Marium Joseph, Adv. Mr. Varinder Kumar Sharma, AOR Mr. Shantanu Sharma, Adv. Ms. Deeksha Gaur, Adv. Mr. Narender Devo Arya, Adv. Mr. Mata Prasad Singh, Adv. Mr. Maninder Singh, Sr. Adv. Mr. Kirtiman Singh, Adv. Mr. Gaurav Sharma, Adv. Mr. Dhawal Mohan, Adv. Mr. Prateek Bhatia, Adv. Mr. Paranjay Tripathi, Adv. Mr. Waize Ali Noor, Adv. Mr. Varun Pratap Singh, Adv. Mr. Ranjeev Khatana, Adv. Mr. Zillur Rahaman, Adv. Mr. Azhar Assees, Adv. Ms. Ila Sheel, Adv. Mr. Avinash Poddar, Adv. Mr. Hemendra Singh, Adv. Mr. Safi Irfanullah, Adv. Mr. Sudhanshu Choudhary, Sr. Adv. Mr. Dhaval Deshpande, Adv. Mr. Amir Arsiwala, Adv. Mr. Priyanshu Upadhyay, Adv. Mr. Amit Attri, Adv. Mr. Viraat Tripathi, Adv. Mr. Abeer Gobind Shandilya, Adv. Mr. Akash Bansal, Adv.


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