Justice Bobde acknowledged the plight of the affected Tamil students. He pointed out how in one of the questions, the word ‘cheetah’ has been wrongly translated as ‘Sita’ in Tamil.

“We can understand inaccuracy but this is leading the students up the wrong path…,” he observed orally.

But Justice Bobde, however, said he did not quite agree with the ‘doling out’ of grace marks.

He said the grant of grace marks may also mean advantage to the Tamil medium students at the expense of those from the State who had opted to answer their exam in English alone.

The Bench scheduled the case after two weeks for a detailed hearing while asking CBSE and other parties to come up with a solution so that there would be no recurrence of this situation.

The court suggested that the CBSE have an expert committee of academicians to vet the questions and their translation in regional languages.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, for CBSE, submitted that Tamil Nadu has been opposing NEET for several years. The CBSE blamed the errors on the translators provided by the State government.

Mr. Singh said an addition of 196 marks would in some cases make the final score of some students cross the total maximum marks.

The law officer said “everything has been withheld” because of the Madras High Court order. “The judgment overturns everything,” Mr. Singh submitted.

The court froze the High Court decision and issued notice in the appeals.

The CBSE had argued that grant of grace marks would tantamount to discrimination and result in a chaotic situation.

It said that to avoid any hiccups or ambiguity, the question papers were prepared in English and handed over to translators recommended by Tamil Nadu.

The CBSE said students who take the test could simultaneously read both the English and Tamil versions of the questions.

The objective is to conduct the test with utmost transparency. “In case of any ambiguity in translation of any of the questions, its English version shall be treated as final,” the board said.

The petitioner in the High Court, 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 and this caused confusion among the students.

There were 180 questions with a total mark of 720.

The CBSE had conducted the test on May 6 in 136 cities in 11 languages, the results of which were announced on June 4.

In Tamil Nadu, about 1.07 lakh candidates took the test across 170 centres in 10 cities.

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