New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is contemplating to move the Supreme Court against an order by the Madras high court granting grace marks to those who wrote this year’s National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) in Tamil, people with knowledge of the matter in the HRD ministry said on Thursday.

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court had on 10 July ordered the CBSE to grant 196 marks—four marks each for 49 erroneous questions—in the Tamil version of the NEET. The petitioner, senior CPI(M) leader and Rajya Sabha MP T.K. Rangarajan, had sought full marks for the 49 questions, saying key words in Tamil questions were wrongly translated from English which caused confusion among students.

There were 180 questions carrying 720 marks in total in the NEET. “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," a person in the ministry said. Another person said senior officials from both CBSE and the ministry were holding consultations in the matter.

However, a senior health ministry official said they have not been approached by the CBSE and that the “body is free to decide on the future course of action". The information bulletin of NEET exam had said that “candidates opting for regional languages would be provided bilingual test booklets in selected regional languages and in English. In case of any ambiguity in translation of any of the questions, its English version shall be treated as final".

People familiar with the matter said the CBSE could highlight this aspect while challenging the high court order. The NEET exam is conducted for admissions to MBBS/BDS courses in colleges run with the approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the health ministry.

The CBSE conducted the NEET on 6 May in 136 cities in 11 languages, the results of which were announced on 4 June. In Tamil Nadu, about 1.07 lakh candidates took the test across 170 centres in 10 cities. Passing the orders, the high court had directed CBSE to consequently revise the list of eligible candidates and publish it afresh.

The judges said the students who took the NEET for admission to medical and dental colleges in Tamil should be suitably compensated to provide a level-playing ground.

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