In yet another case of alleged discrepancies in the exam-related record downloaded by JEE Mains candidates from the National Testing Agency’s portal, the Delhi High Court has directed the authorities concerned to immediately accept a student’s application for the JEE Advanced and asked the NTA to file all the relevant records including his response sheet within five days before it.
“The JEE Advanced is now scheduled for August 28, 2022, and whether the petitioner is to be permitted to appear in the said examination is the call that the court will take only after perusing the documents so produced by the NTA,” said Justice Sanjeev Narula, adding that the court has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case, even on a prima facie basis.
According to the petition filed by Tanishq Mishra, he appeared in the JEE Mains examination and downloaded the score-cards pertaining to the first and second sessions from the NTA portal. The cut-off for applying to the JEE Advanced is the percentile of 88.41 and the petitioner scored 98.79 in the first session and 99.23 in the second, Mishra’s counsel told the court.
However, the petition alleges that when he attempted to apply for JEE Advanced on August 10 via the online portal, he was shown as not eligible as his score was declared to be less than the cut-off mark. On clarification, he got to know from the NTA that he has scored only 20.767 and 14.64 percentile in the first and second sessions respectively. His counsel told the court that the score-cards attached with the petition have been downloaded from the NTA website, and necessary affidavits under section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872 will be filed within a week.
During the hearing held Thursday, the NTA told the court that the documents presented as score-cards before the court are false and have no credibility. The court was further told that the petitioner only scored a percentile of 20.766 in the first session and 14.63 in the second session, but with different application numbers. Neither of the scores obtained allows the petitioner to apply to the next stage, the counsel for NTA said.
The testing agency also told the court that once the results were generated and uploaded, all candidates were duly notified of their results by way of an auto-generated email from the NIC portal. When copies of email communications sent via the NIC portal to Mishra’s email id were presented before the court, his counsel did not dispute the email id but stated that he did not receive any of the emails.
Since the NTA could not produce the electronic record of the data based on which the score-card of the petitioner was generated before the court Thursday as it was a holiday, the court said given the urgency expressed, the authorities are directed to immediately accept the candidate’s application for the exam.
“However, in order for the court to form an opinion, the respondents are to be afforded an opportunity to produce the documents noted above. Accordingly, NTA is directed to file a short affidavit on the above aspects, along with all relevant records, including the response sheet of the petitioner, within five days from today,” said the court, while adjourning the matter to August 18.
While ordering the authorities to accept the petitioner’s application for JEE Advanced, the court made it clear that no special equity shall be claimed by him based on its directions.
In a similar matter, the court on August 5 directed the NTA to preserve and produce the electronic records pertaining to a JEE Mains exam candidate, who alleged that answers to 13 questions in his response sheet were changed. The petitioner in that case had downloaded his response sheet on August 3, and his estimated score came to be 212 marks but when he downloaded it again the next morning, he allegedly found his answers changed with his score reduced to 168 marks.
The NTA in that case also had submitted that the response sheet downloaded on August 3 and relied on by the candidate does not match with its records and therefore cannot be relied upon. Though the court declined to grant any interim relief in the case heard on August 5, it said that there is no prima facie reason to assume that the candidate would have created a false document only to improve his rank in the exam.