The Madras High Court had told the CBSE to set up additional exam centres to accommodate all students, but the Supreme Court stayed the order.

The Supreme Court’s stay on the Madras High Court’s directive to the Central Board of Secondary Education to set up additional exam centres in Tamil Nadu for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test has caused outrage the state. More than 1,000 students from Tamil Nadu will be writing the test in centres in Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan on Sunday.

After the CBSE allocated students from Tamil Nadu exam centres in Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan, a petition was filed in the Madras High Court challenging the decision. The court on April 27 directed the board to set up additional exam centres in the state to accommodate all students from Tamil Nadu. The CBSE went to the Supreme Court just a few days before the exam, and the top court stayed the order.

“Last year 82,000 candidates appeared for NEET from Tamil Nadu itself,” Sanyam Bharadwaj, NEET Director, New Delhi, told The News Minute. “We were able to accommodate all of them within the state. However, this year the number of candidates has risen by 31%.” He said that the number of centres in Tamil Nadu was increased by 25% and that they were asked to accommodate students to their full capacity, after which around 1,10,000 students can be accommodated within the state. The rest, “maybe about 1,000 or 1,500”, will take the test at “the nearest available centres in neighbouring cities”.

Bharadwaj further said that students who have opted to write the test in Tamil have been allotted centres in Tamil Nadu. “Students with centres outside of TN will be given question papers in English, which is what they opted for. Those who are appearing in Delhi or far away cities to write the exam have only been allotted these centres out of their choice.”

Tamil Nadu School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan said only CBSE students were allotted centres outside the state, reported The New Indian Express. “The government will ensure that students of government or government aided schools will get centres in the state itself.” The state announced that it would provide train tickets (second-class) and Rs 1,000 for students who will be travelling outside the state for NEET, reported ANI.

Several Twitter users offered to help those students travelling outside the state to take the exam while some others blamed authorities for the confusion.