Even “0.001% negligence” in conducting the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test should be looked into with all seriousness considering the immense labour put in by the candidates, the Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Centre and the National Testing Agency, reported Live Law.

A vacation bench of Justices Vikram Nath and SV Bhatti made the comments while hearing a batch of petitions alleging question paper leaks, the “arbitrary” awarding of grace marks to some candidates and other irregularities in the medical entrance examination conducted on May 5.

The National Testing Agency conducts the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test for admission to undergraduate medical courses.

On Tuesday, the court said that if the National Testing Agency has made any mistake, it should admit to it. The agency should act proactively to instil public confidence, the bench added.

“Your stance [NTA and the Centre] ought not to change the moment you enter the court, representing the agency which is responsible for conducting the examination,” the court said. “You must stand firm, [if] there is a mistake -– yes there is a mistake, this is the action we will take – at least that inspires confidence in your performance.”

The bench said that a candidate who becomes a doctor after engaging in fraud during examinations is more dangerous to society, reported Live Law. The bench added that it is conscious of the hard work that the candidates put in for “this highly competitive” examination.

Last week, the Centre had told the court that it would cancel the grace marks awarded to 1,563 students in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test.

A panel, which was formed by the National Testing Agency on June 8 to look into the grievances of those who appeared in the examination, took the decision to “allay the fears of the students”, the Centre had told the court.

According to the panel, the grace marks given to the 1,563 students due to a loss of time resulted in a “skewed situation” as the compensation was limited only to the unattempted questions.

On Friday, the Gujarat Police arrested five persons for alleged malpractice in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test at an examination centre in Panchmahal district’s Godhra. Meanwhile, the Bihar Police also said that an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the examination was “suggestive of a paper leak”.