NEET-UG counselling in four rounds from July third week, Centre tells Supreme Court

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Anxious students and others at the Supreme Court complex in New Delhi.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that counselling process for the controversy-hit NEET-UG 2024 will be conducted in four rounds beginning from the third week of July.

The candidature of a student found to be a beneficiary of any malpractice would be cancelled at any stage during the counselling process or even afterwards, the Union government through the Higher Education department of the Ministry of Education said in a 44-page affidavit.

IIT Madras report

The government has banked on a data analytics report of IIT (Madras) counted out “mass malpractice” in the exam, which has come under a spate of allegations of question paper leaks, impersonation and other illegalities.

The Supreme Court had said in its July 8 order that a considered decision at the policy level would have to be taken by the government on the status of the counselling if NTA and Centre were to undertake an exercise to identify any further beneficiaries of the question paper leakage.

CBI, which is investigating the NEET-UG paper leakage, has already made several arrests.

Counselling for the undergraduate medical seats across the seats is conducted by the Medical Counselling Committee constituted under the Ministry of Health for the all India quota. The counselling process for State quota seats is undertaken by the respective State counselling authorities.

Allocation of seats would depend on the timing of the cancellation of seats if certain candidates are found to be beneficiaries of malpractices.

Candidates are allowed to change seats in the first and second rounds of counselling as per options exercised by them. Cancellation would not have any impact on the overall counselling process and allocation of seats if done before the third round, which is expected to start in the second week of September.

If candidature is cancelled after the third round, the vacant seats could still be offered in the subsequent round. Candidates who have already been allocated seats in the earlier rounds would not be able to participate in the subsequent round, the government explained.

Though, usually, the counselling process covers a total of four rounds, if the candidature of any candidate is cancelled after the conclusion of four rounds, the vacated seats could be put up for additional rounds of counselling, the Centre submitted.

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