The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test has always been a controversial exam that have captured the attention of the entire country.
Right from fulfilling the dreams of medical aspirants in the country, NEET has always topped the list.
Although, the exam conducting body, NTA, always tries to ensure fair selection with minimal problems. But as per now, NEET Exam has turned out to be a nightmare for many students. The reason being the exam has been surrounded by countless NEET Controversies over the decades.
This year a group of students challenged MCI’s Decision of debarring overage students from NEET Exam. SC has given interim relief to candidates and ruled out the age constraint as well.
This blog covers the list of all the NEET Controversy that took place since few past years till now, and has made this exam- the most Controversial Exam of the country. Let’s have a look.
On 15th of April 2019, NTA had released NEET 2019 admit card, and there were few controversies associated with it. It was found that, the exam date was incorrectly mentioned and next to it, the exam centres that were allotted originally were cancelled.
The Calcutta High Court has decided to award 20 marks to a NEET 2018 candidate as Calcutta University informed the court that 5 questions has been wrongly translated in Bengali.
Earlier in July the Madras High Court ordered CBSE to grant 196 marks in the Tamil paper of this year's NEET Exam. But on 22nd November 2018, the Supreme Court rejected the order for all the 24,000 students who took NEET Exam in the Tamil language.
With the start of NEET admission, one more NEET controversy came into existence. The high court of Karnataka has ordered the state government to conduct the admission process before 25th October 2018 for AYUSH Courses.
Earlier, those who were not able to qualify NEET 2018, were not eligible for AYUSH courses. Now, NEET qualified candidates or Non-NEET qualified candidates who have the minimum qualification to take the admission in AYUSH Courses can apply in various institutions across the state.
As a result of one of the NEET controversies which we encountered in May 2018 in which several aspirants faced errors in the Tamil version of NEET, the Madras High Court ordered CBSE to grant 196 marks to the affected students.
These 196 marks will be granted for 49 controversial questions which were having errors in the NEET Exam 2018. Passing the orders on a public interest litigation, the court has also ordered CBSE to revise the list of eligible candidates and publish it afresh.
This is a huge hope for various students who were stranded in the endless sea of despair. As the counselling process has already begun, the court has left it to the authorities to decide on the NEET counselling.
With the start of NEET Counselling, another NEET controversy came into existence. Students who want to apply for the 15% All India Quota (AIQ) from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and some other states, they found that 27 Government Medical Colleges are missing in the list of Medical Counselling Committee (MCC).
There are 222 Government Medical Colleges identified for AIQ Seats in which only 195 colleges are shown by the MCC website. According to the MCC, due to some technical reason, these colleges were not included in first round of counselling. They were added in the second round of counselling that started on 3rd July 2019.
The month of May 2018 is surely the month of NEET Controversies. In addition to all the controversies, another ongoing dispute has come into existence. As per the controversy, a petition has been filed by Apala Debnath alleging that the Bengali version of NEET 2018 had over 180 mistakes.
According to Debnath, the English version didn’t have any mistakes and many Bengali aspirants like her, faced difficulties while attempting the question paper. Now she sought a ban of publication of result till any final verdict will be announced.
As a result, a vacation bench of the Calcutta High Court has asked NEET to reserve a seat for an examinee till a regular bench decides on her petition. The bench stated that
The result may be published but one post/position shall be kept open by NEET authorities. I make it clear that this shall not be a blanket ban on publication of result.
With the release of NEET 2018 Answer key on 25th May 2018, another NEET controversy came into existence. Many students who appeared in NEET 2018 were not happy with the answer key. According to them, there were few Wrong Questions in NEET Exam whose answers are doubtful.
Supporting their children, the parents are also with them to challenge the answer key.
Previously many prominent coaching institutes raised objection against the options provided with some Multiple-Choice Questions. Stating that more than one options are true.
On 11th May 2018, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the pleas which were registered against the CBSE notification regarding the upper age limit of 25 and 30 years for General and Reserved categories to apply for NEET Exam.
The Delhi High Court on Friday (11th May 2018) stated-
CBSE prescribing 25 years for general, 30 years for reserved category students is legal and valid
However, the High Court accepted the pleas against the notification which bars students from open schools or those who have studied privately, from appearing in the test. The Court stated-
Students/candidates, who have done Class XII from NIOS or recognized open school State boards, would not be treated as per se disqualified for selection and appearance in NEET examination. Their NEET results, when otherwise eligible, would be declared with other candidates.
The NEET 2018 controversies are still not ended. On 11th May 2018, a girl student has filed a police complaint on the inconvenience and harassment she faced while appearing in the NEET 2018 exam in Palakkad (Kerala). The girl had to remove her innerwear during the security checks and also alleging that an external observer had stared at her ‘inappropriately’.
The Police registered the case under IPC section 509 and has started the investigation.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 9th May 2018 issued notices to CBSE Chairperson and Chief Secretary (Tamil Nadu) over alleged harassment and inconvenience experienced by the candidates during the security checks while appearing in the NEET 2018 exam.
In the ongoing NEET 2018 Controversy, the NHRC stated –
Cutting the sleeves of the shirts and tearing the pants of the aspirants to remove buttons etc., are unethical acts done by the staff deployed at the exam centres. This amounts to the violation of the right to dignity of the aspirants, there is a further need for the authorities to re-think and adopt a certain mechanism to ensure security checks at the exam centres in a dignified manner.
Previously on 8th May 2018, the NHRC issued a notice on the difficulties faced by the candidates of Tamil Nadu to reach other states and appear in the NEET 2018 exam.
On 6th May 2018 – the day of the exam, nearly 100 students appeared in the NEET 2018 exam in Madurai (Tamil Nadu) were given the question papers in Hindi. This created a panic among them since the students were unable to understand Hindi. Later on, the question paper was replaced with the bilingual English and Tamil paper.
The controversy was faced in NEET 2017 as well when candidates in Warangal (Telangana) received question papers in English and Hindi instead of Telugu.
Students in Dibrugarh, Assam who were appearing in the NEET exam faced a similar kind of issue. According to the NEET 2018 Controversy, candidates in the exam hall faced undue harassment due to the shortage of question papers. Many candidates are also claiming that they were not provided with question papers in the language of their preference.
The NEET 2018 exam was scheduled to be conducted from 10 am to 01 pm but the exam was conducted in two sessions in a school in Assam named Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya.
In addition to this, many students left the examination hall at halftime only since the question papers provided to them were not of their preferred language i.e. Assamese.
With the release of the admit cards on 17th April 2018, a new controversy came into existence. The candidates from Tamil Nadu appearing in the NEET 2018 were in shock when they noticed that their exam centres are not even in their state.
As per this NEET 2018 controversy, the candidates from Tamil Nadu were allotted exam centres in Rajasthan, Kerala, and Karnataka. This led to a huge protest from aspirants and political parties as well. After this, the case went to the Madras High Court where the court directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to immediately recall the allotments and provide alternate centres in the same area of students or at least within the state.
The decision made by the Madras High Court was later challenged by CBSE in the final court of appeal - the Supreme Court.
On 4th May 2018, Supreme court made the final decision on this major jolt by rejecting the petition which sought that CBSE should allot centres to applicants in Tamil Nadu itself. The Supreme Court has also directed the students to appear for the NEET exam at their allotted centres only.
In another course of an event, the Supreme Court has also allowed the Sikh candidates appearing in the NEET 2018 exam with their ‘Kripan’ or ‘Kara’. The Supreme court has also directed clear instructions to the Sikh candidates with ‘Kripan’ to report at their examination centres one hour before the allotted reporting time so that they could be screened.
With the official notification released by CBSE on 8th February 2018, NEET Eligibility Criteria created a massive controversy. According to the information bulletin, students from NIOS and Open School Boards are not eligible for appearing in the exam. This was a major setback for the students which created a nation-wide protest.
A petition was filed against CBSE which was then denied by a public notice issued on 24th February by CBSE stating that it would not be replying to any query or grievance on the eligibility criteria and all the concerns should be directed to the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The protestors including students and their parents decided to approach the Delhi High court with this issue. As a result, for the year 2018, students form NIOS and Open School Boards are eligible for appearing in the exam.
NEET 2018 faced another protest because of the upper age limit criteria mentioned in the NEET information bulletin.
According to the criteria, candidates having age more than 25 years were not allowed for appearing in the exam. This step was taken by the Medical Council of India (MCI) to limit the number of candidates appearing in the exam. Although a relaxation of 5 years was provided to the students from SC/ST/OBC category.
After facing huge protest, Delhi High Court changed the criteria for a duration of one year on 28th February 2018. According to the new guidelines, students who are from unreserved category having age more than 25 years are now eligible for appearing in NEET 2018.
By this amendment, the upper age limit of SC/ST candidates is now 30 years after relaxation.
Students having Biology/Biotechnology as an optional subject were also shocked by the new guidelines in the NEET information bulletin. According to the guideline, Students having Biology/Biotechnology as an optional subject were not eligible for appearing in the exam.
This caused a state of panic among various students and their parents. After this, students and their parents knocked the door of Delhi High Court for making amendments.
The final decision from the court has gone in the favour of students and now they were eligible for appearing in NEET 2018 Exam.
The above eligibility criteria are not the only ones which faced the opposition from students. According to the official NEET Notification, those students who were planning to take admission in foreign universities for MBBS and BDS courses must clear the NEET Exam first. Earlier there was no such rule for students who were taking admission in MBBS/BDS Courses in foreign universities of countries like China, Russia, Ukraine etc.
On 17th January 2018, the Union government announced that the state curriculum will also be taken into consideration in NEET 2018 Syllabus. The announcement faced the anger of many parents of students from CBSE Board. After the protest, the Union government took a U-turn and stating that no change is done in the syllabus. Later on, the CBSE issued a public notice stating:
“The syllabus of NEET (UG) 2018 will be exactly same as it was for NEET 2017. There is no change in the syllabus for NEET 2018.”
NEET 2018 faced lots of political and social protest in Tamil Nadu because of the suicide case of 17-year-old Anitha. Anitha was a medical aspirant from an economically and socially underprivileged family who filed a case against NEET in the Supreme Court.
The Tamil Nadu government from the past few years has been challenging NEET by stating that the exam is preventing the rural and poorer students from government schools from becoming doctors.
Anitha who scored 1176 out of 1200 in 12th Class Exam, was not able to get rigorous training for NEET due to the financial condition of her family. According to the various people protesting, if it was not NEET here, Anitha might have become a doctor with such good performance in the 12th Class.
In the year 2017, it was announced that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test 2017 would be conducted in 10 languages which are mentioned in NEET Online Form. Urdu was not a part of that list.
After this announcement, Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO) filed a case in the Supreme Court, demanding the inclusion of Urdu language. The final decision was made in favor and the verdict passed by the court stated Urdu to be included in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test 2018.
Another incident which aggravated the NEET 2017 Controversy was that the CBSE had placed a stay on the release of NEET 2017 Result.
Based on the petition against NEET 2017 filed by Madras High Court on 24th May and the petition against NEET 2017 regarding the correctness of the answers of two questions, CBSE delayed the release of NEET Answer Keys and results. The answer keys and results were later declared on 23rd June 2017.
The major NEET 2017 Controversy was related to the stringent NEET Dress Code. As per the instructions of the CBSE, the candidates who fail to qualify the Metal Detector Test were not allowed to enter the NEET Exam Centre.
The candidates were instructed to wear light color clothes, half sleeved shirts, and only slippers or sandals.
The shocking news which got viral in media was that a female candidate in Kerala was forced to remove her innerwear and another candidate in jeans was asked to change because the metal detector went off.
The girl candidates were even asked to remove their hairpins, bands, and ornaments like earrings and nose rings.
In some states, there were complaints regarding mixed up in NEET Question Paper. In Warangal, the candidates were given English and Hindi question papers instead of Telugu.
There were various complaints registered which stated that questions in Marathi and Bengali were different (about 85%) from the English paper, while some stated that the difficulty level of the questions in these other languages was higher than the English language paper.
Taking lessons from last year’s protest, CBSE decided that the NEET 2018 exam to be conducted as a single language exam only. This decision might neglect the problem faced by students during the exam due to mistakes in the translation.
In the year 2017, the situation got even worse when there was a news regarding the leak of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test question paper.
Five people, including 2 medical students were arrested in Patna for attempting to leak the question paper of the exam.
After this incident, students filed a petition against NEET 2017. The petition demanded to re-conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test.
After a lot of petitions against NEET 2017, the authorities agreed to a settlement with the students.
After the series of protests and NEET Controversy, one thing that all the candidates learned from this matter is to be very cautious regarding the Do’s and Don’ts of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. As the students and their parents are the ones that mostly get affected by all these controversies, so they must be aware of every NEET Notification & News.
We hope that the answer to the question- Why NEET has become the most controversial exam? is clear among all the candidates.
With the chronology of the major events and criticism related to the exam, it has become the most debatable exam of the country.
Apart from all these controversies, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is the dream of many medical aspirants of the country. Kindly stay tuned and get the complete exam related information here at Eduncle and make your dream come true of becoming a successful doctor.
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