On 28 February, 2018, the Delhi High Courtstayed the operation of a CBSE notificationand laid downeligibility conditions, where upper age limit of 25 years and 30 yearsfor general and reserved categories respectively have been appliedfor the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
The order was passed by the bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and ChanderShekhar. It was passedon several petitions moved by medical aspirants who are resentful by various other eligibility norms that bar them from applying for NEET-UG.
According to the CBSE notification issued on February 8, students who have studied in open school, had biology as an additional subject, have taken more than two years to complete their 11th and 12th, and those who have studied privately, were not eligible to apply for the exam.
By allowing medical aspirants aged above 25 years to submit their applications for this year’s NEET, the High Court came as an interim relief to thousands of students who were barred from even applying for the pan-India exam.
The bench specified that, in order to apply for the exam, students who have studied privately or from open school should belong to a recognised board.
They also made it clear that the last date for submitting the application for NEET is March 9, 2018. Moreover, they are yet to decide on the question of whether to allow the students to sit for the entrance exam at a later stage or not.
Representing the students, senior advocate Nidhesh Guptaargued before the court that the upper age restriction for admission to medical colleges was arbitrary and illegal.
Hecontended thatthe board applied no rationale while taking the decision. “Upper age limit has no nexus with the standard of medical education,” he stated.
Besides, he also gave examples of India’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)as well as ofthe normswhich do not prescribe any maximum age for admission to MBBS courses and are followed in countries like the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
This interim order of the court will continue until April 6, the next date of hearing.