The Supreme Court today set aside a judgment of the Madras High Court which had awarded 196 grace marks to nearly 24,000 students who had taken the NEET undergraduate exam 2018 in Tamil..A Bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao passed the judgment today in an appeal filed by CBSE against the Madras High Court verdict. The Bench went to the extent of stating that the Madras High Court lost sight of its primary duty in such matters, that is to avoid arbitrary results..The NEET 2018 exam was conducted in English and 12 regional languages. The questions in the NEET-UG, 2018 paper consisted of 180 objective type questions. Bi-lingual questions were set for this examination in English with an option of an additional regional language. The correct answer to the questions presented in the exam was one of the four options offered for each question. Each correct answer carried four marks and each incorrect answer resulted in the deduction of one mark..A writ petition was filed by students who had taken the examination in Tamil alleging that many of the questions which were translated into Tamil were wrong..The Madras High Court noticed certain mistranslations in the Tamil version of the questions and answers in 49 questions. It decided that nearly 24,000 students who took the examination in Tamil are entitled to four grace marks for each incorrectly translated question. Thus, the High Court held that all of them were entitled to be awarded a total of 196 grace marks (i.e., 49 x 4)..This decision was challenged by the CBSE and by certain students who took the exam in English..The Supreme Court at the outset referred to the statements made by CBSE before the Supreme Court as regards the pattern of NEET 2018..Instruction no (vi) of the same clearly provided that “in case of any ambiguity in translation of any of the questions, its English version shall be treated as final.”.The Court noted that the said instruction was also incorporated in the hall ticket which allowed admission to the examination hall..“Instruction (vi) above, assumes significance in this case. This instruction was also incorporated in the hall ticket which allowed admission to the examination hall to ensure that it is not missed.”.Further, the Supreme Court also noted that the course of MBBS/BDS is entirely taught in English. The facility of a bilingual question paper was essentially meant for the students who were more familiar in Tamil than in English. Moreover, the expert body which set the examination seems to have contemplated the difficulty that may arise in translation of words from English to Tamil and had taken due precaution by inserting instruction (vi) that required the students to refer to the English version in case of any ambiguity, the Bench noted..“This implies that knowledge of the subject in English was considered a requirement and students were expected to resolve any ambiguity by reference to the questions in English Language. We must make note that there is no grievance whatsoever that there was any difficulty about the questions in English language.”.The Court held that if one has a look at actual discrepancies in the questions that were said to have created confusion, the word with the imprecise meaning could have been easily discovered to be faulty and a simple reference to the English version would have clarified the same..The Court also ruled that even if there was some justification in the plea that students were prevented from understanding the question and therefore could not answer properly, it is difficult to sustain the remedy provided by the High Court..Explaining the issue, the Court said that for instance a student who got 260 marks has been awarded a total of 456 marks. A student with 137 marks becomes entitled to 333 marks and the student who got 92 marks becomes entitled to 288 marks. Even students who have 21 marks become entitled to 217 marks. Thus, the remedy worked out by the High Court led to arbitrary results..“It is clear that the High Court lost sight of the primary duty of Court in such matter that is to avoid arbitrary results”, the Supreme Court observed..The Court also distinguished the current case from earlier cases like Guru Nanak Dev University v. Saumil Garg and others and Kanpur University, Through Vice Chancellor and Others v. Samir Gupta and Ors..It, thus, set aside the judgment of the Madras High Court..Further, it also directed that from the year 2019-20 onwards, the NEET-UG Examination will be conducted by the National Testing Agency and the bilingual examination will be conducted after the question paper is translated as set out according to the instructions in the affidavit dated October 22, 2018 signed by Dr. Vikas Gupta, Director of National Testing Agency..Read the judgment below.