CHENNAI: The Madras High Court directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to grant grace marks to a medical aspirant as he said that he left a wrongly asked question unanswered in the NEET examination.
Heading the first bench along with Justice D Krishnakumar, Acting Chief Justice T Raja passed the order on the ground that the student named T Udhaykumar from Tindivanam belongs to the Scheduled Caste section and it is the duty of the State to protect and uplift the downtrodden people as per Article 46 of the Constitution.
The judge passed the direction on the writ appeal challenging the order of a single judge rejecting his plea for the reason that he filed the petition for the second time for the same relief.
According to the petitioner, when he approached the High Court for a direction to NTA to award the grace mark for question number 97 in NEET conducted on July 17, the NTA’s standing counsel informed the court that it can award marks only to the students who had attempted the question.
Hence, the counsel for the petitioner withdrew the case. Since the counsel for the petitioner failed to obtain liberty to file a fresh case, the single judge dismissed his second petition citing multiplication.
After these things, Udhayakumar approached the first bench against the single judge’s order.
Advocate R Sankarasubbu representing the petitioner submitted that his client scored 92 marks on September 7 and 93 is the cut-off mark for SC students.
"One question carries four marks in NEET. Therefore, the petitioner who is from the SC section sent a representation on July 8 to the NTA to award the grace mark for the wrong question for getting admission to the MBBS course. The authorities did not respond to the representation and reminders of the petitioner," the advocate submitted.
Recording the submissions, the bench held that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, especially Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from social injustice.
“Therefore, the second respondent (NTA) being an instrumentality of the state cannot refuse to award the four marks to the appellant who belongs to the weaker section of the society,” the judges ruled.
Since the court entertained the plea for the second time after it was dismissed by the single judge, the bench made it clear that the order was passed in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case and may not be treated as a precedent.