The Kerala High Court on Friday deferred the hearing to next week on a plea seeking a standard protocol for conducting examinations across the country in view of a recent incident at a NEET exam centre in the state where female candidates were made to remove part of their undergarments to appear for the test. A division Bench of the High Court deferred the hearing in the matter to the first week of August.
Besides formulation of a standard protocol for exams across India, the public interest litigation also seeks a direction to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to permit the affected female candidates to re-appear for the exam as they might not have been able to focus on the test that day in view of the “traumatic” situation.
The plea has also sought free counselling for the affected students as well as compensation for the “trauma” and “mental agony” suffered by them. Seven persons were arrested in connection with the incident on July 17 after a parent of one of the affected candidates lodged a complaint with the police.
Of the seven arrested, five were women and two were men of whom one was a NEET (National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test) observer and the other an exam coordinator.
Three of the arrested women worked for an agency hired by the NTA and the remaining were employed by the private educational institute at Ayur, where the incident took place. All seven were released on bail by a lower court last week.
Meanwhile, the NTA has formed a fact-finding committee to visit Kollam. The PIL has contended that this is not the first time such an incident has happened in the name of exams and the reason was the lack of a common protocol or system to conduct exams.
The plea has also claimed that physical or body searches just before the exams affects the student’s memory retention.
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