Staff at a NEET exam centre in Kerala’s Kollam district asking female candidates to remove their bras as they had metal in them has drawn widespread criticism from across the country.
The incident came to light after the father of a 17-year-old who was frisked for wearing an underwire bra with metal hooks and later allowed no time to wear the undergarment before appearing for an exam complained pertaining to the behaviour of staff who were on duty on Sunday.
This, however, is not an unheard-of incident in a NEET exam centre where stringent regulations are adhered to with respect to the dress code. Incidents of staff asking female students to remove bras stringent frisking, and asking girls to take off their safety pins or even hair clips are reported every year.
The National Testing Agency, an autonomous organization under the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India) which conducts the test has detailed guidelines on the dress code to be followed. Here is what it says verbatim.
“The NTA believes in the sanctity and fairness of conducting the examination, however, it also believes in the sensitivity involved in frisking (girl) candidates and will issue comprehensive instructions accordingly to the staff and other officials at the Examination Centres. The frisking of the female candidates will be done inside a closed enclosure by female staff only,” the dresscode says.
- The candidates wearing articles or objects of faith (customary/ cultural/ religious ) should report to the examination centre at least two hours before the last reporting time so that there is enough time for proper frisking without any inconvenience to the candidate while maintaining the sanctity of the examination.
- If upon screening, it is discovered that any candidate is actually carrying a suspected device within such item of faith, he/ she may be asked not to take it into the examination hall.
- Light clothes with long sleeves are not permitted.
- Slippers, and sandals with low heels are permitted. Shoes are not permitted.
- The frisking of the female candidates will be done inside a closed enclosure by female staff only.
- The candidates will be subjected to extensive and compulsory frisking before entering the Examination Centre with the help of highly sensitive metal detectors. The candidates are not allowed to carry the following items inside the Examination Centre under any circumstances…. Any ornaments/metallic items