The Central Board of School Education (CBSE) conducted NEET on May 06, 2018 in 136 cities, and the results were subsequently announced on June 04. What a lot of people are not aware of is that a candidate could take the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test in 11 languages, and not just English and Hindi. The board had earlier in February confirmed that NEET 2018 would be conducted in many regional languages like Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. The information bulletin said, “candidates opting for regional languages would be provided bilingual test booklets in selected regional languages and in English.”
However, now it seems like all did not go as planned with this move to accommodate and include the linguistic diversity of the country.
A senior CPI(M) leader and Rajya Sabha MP T K Rangarajan filed a petition last month seeking full marks for 49 questions. According to the petition, keywords in these Tamil questions were wrongly translated from English which caused confusion among the students. Taking note of this, on July 10, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court ordered the CBSE to grant 196 marks, which would mean four marks each for 49 erroneous questions, to the students who had appeared in the Tamil version of the NEET. At the same time, Justices CT Selvam and AM Basheer Ahamed had also directed the CBSE to publish a revised list of the eligible candidates.
Not satisfied with the decision, CBSE is now contemplating moving to the highest court of the country, the Supreme Court, to challenge the Madras High Court’s decision, according to a PTI report. It quoted an official in the ministry saying: “CBSE is contemplating to move the higher court, but a final call will be taken after holding consultations with various stakeholders and seeking legal opinion.”
Any such move to award marks specifically to students of a certain linguistic background is bound to create tensions as students appearing in other languages might see this as discrimination against them. However, if the questions were actually translated wrong, which Techr4All, a Chennai based NGO had earlier pointed out and convincingly argued, then students who have appeared in Tamil deserve another chance. However, one can’t predict at this juncture how the case is going to fare in the apex court.