NEET-UG 2021: What we know so far, timeline of important decisions

The NEET-UG 2021 exam was conducted on September 12 and the NTA is yet to announce the result for the same. Here's a timeline of all that happened before and after the exam was conducted.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted the NEET-UG 2021 on September 12 and more than 16 lakh candidates appeared for the medical entrance exam. However, there have been many ups and downs concerning the conduct of the national-level entrance exam. Let’s have a look at the timeline of important events:

October 30, 2021: The Uttar Pradesh police has written to the National Testing Agency asking the exam conducting body to withhold the NEET result of 25 candidates from the state, ANI has reported. The UP Police’s report to NTA alleges that the 25 students are in contact with the “NEET solver gang”.

October 28, 2021: On October 28, the Supreme Court permitted the NTA to declare the NEET results for admission to undergraduate medical courses across the country. A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and B R Gavai stayed the Bombay High Court’s recent order asking the NTA not to declare the NEET results and conduct re-examination for two aspirants whose question papers and OMR sheets had got mixed up at a centre in Maharashtra.

October 27, 2021: The National Testing Agency on October 27 sought an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court on its plea against a high court order asking it not to declare the NEET results and conduct re-examination for two aspirants whose question papers and OMR sheets got mixed at a centre in Maharashtra.

October 20, 2021: In an unprecedented order, the Bombay High Court on October 20 had directed the NTA to hold a fresh exam for the two students and declare their results along with the main results of the test conducted on September 12. The high court had taken note of the fact that the test booklet and OMR sheet of two medical aspirants — Vaishanavi Bhopali and Abhishek Shivaji got mixed up at the examination centre before the start of the test and ordered that they be given fresh opportunity to appear.

October 5, 2021: On October 5, the Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea seeking cancellation of the NEET-UG 2021 held on September 12, 2021, on the ground that the examination was not conducted in a fair and transparent manner. The top court was hearing a plea filed by a 20-year-old petitioner seeking cancellation of the NEET-UG exam citing alleged malpractices and conducting the exam afresh. The apex court dismissed the plea saying that cancellation of the exam cannot be at the cost of lakhs of students.

October 4, 2021: In an effort to build a strong resistance group against NEET, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on October 4 wrote to his counterparts in 12 states asserting that it was important to assert their constitutional right and position in deciding the method of admission to higher educational institutions. The letter was sent to CMs of Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Delhi, Kerala and Goa.

September 30, 2021: The Supreme Court on September 30 passed an order, which allowed Overseas Citizens of India(OCI) candidates to participate in the NEET-UG 2021 counselling in the general categoryThe court order came in response to a petition filed by OCI candidates challenging a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to treat them at par with Non-Resident Indians(NRIs) for the purpose of college admissions.

September 28, 2021: On September 28, the National Commission for Minorities said it has come to its notice that Sikh students are asked to report at centres for examinations like NEET and JEE hours in advance for scanning of ‘Karas’ and ‘Kirpans’, and urged the National Testing Agency to ensure there is no discrimination against Sikh candidates on the basis of their articles of faith.

September 12, 2021: Over 95 per cent of registered candidates appeared for the medical entrance exam NEET at over 3,800 centres across the country on September 12, according to officials. A record 16.14 lakh candidates had registered for the NEET-UG this year. Last year, over 85 per cent of registered candidates had appeared for the exam amid the Covid pandemic. 

August 18, 2021: On August 18, the Delhi High Court had dismissed a medical aspirant’s plea challenging the minimum age criteria of 17 years to appear for the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) which is organised by the National Testing Agency for admission to the MBBS course. Counsel for the petitioner student said that his client, who wanted to pursue medicine, was only around 13 months underage and the minimum age should be reduced to 15 years from 17 years.

July 22, 2021: The Ministry of Education in July had announced that an exam centre has been set up in Dubai for the medical entrance test NEET 2021 scheduled to be held on September 12. This is the first time the NEET exam was held in Dubai. The Education Ministry had earlier set up an exam centre in Kuwait for the Indian student community staying in the country, which was also a first.

July 16, 2021: Tamil Nadu Health Minister M Subramanian had met Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and discussed issues pertaining to the medical entrance exam NEET 2021. For the convenience of the students of Tamil Nadu, four cities — Chengalpet, Virudhunagar, Dindigul and Tiruppur — were added to the list of places where NEET(UG) was to be conducted. 

July 13, 2021: The National Testing Agency (NTA) introduced changes in the exam pattern of NEET-UG 2021. The test pattern of NEET (UG)-2021 comprises of two sections. Each subject consists of two sections. Section A consisted of 35 questions and Section B had 15 questions. Out of these 15 questions, candidates could choose to attempt any 10 questions. So, the total number of questions and utilisation of time remained the same.

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