The Supreme Court today has dismissed the petition filed by a minor, Akash Yadav, seeking permission to participate in the NEET-UG 2021 examination as he is not eligible on the ground of not completing the minimum age required.
The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.V. Nagarathna heard the petitioner but refused to interfere in the order passed by the High Court. The Court further held that High Court is correct in stating that deciding minimum age or any eligibility criteria to participate in the Examination is the policy decision of the concerned authorities and Court cannot interfere in that domain.
The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner passed his matriculation exam in 2019 and 12th Class examination in 2021 with 89% marks in the science stream. However, the petitioner was ineligible for applying in NEET 2021, on account of minimum age limit of 17 years on or before 31st December of the year of the admission, being underage by 12 months and 26 days.
By way of writ petition, the petitioner seeks direction to respondents to allow him to appear in NEET 2021 and also challenges regulation 4(1) of “Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997” which prescribes 17 years as eligibility criteria for appearing in NEET.
The court observed that prescribing age limits for appearance in entrance examinations is the domain of the concerned authorities, with their expertise in the field and the court has no authority nor any expertise to decide as to which age would be the most appropriate minimum age for appearing in the entrance examinations. Also, these are policy decisions and the Petitioner has been unable to point out any arbitrariness or mala fides in the prescription of minimum age of 17 years for NEET-2021.
Relying upon the judgment of Allahabad High Court in the case of Ankit Chaturvedi vs. Union of India & Others, 2015 SCC OnLine All 9106 and Rajasthan High Court in the case of Gautam Kapoor vs. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1987 Raj 17, the court concluded that due weight must be given to the recommendation and expertise of the Medical Council of India which prescribe 17 years as the minimum age limit for appearing in NEET and therefore this provision cannot be struck down.
Case Name- Master Akash Yadav (minor) vs UOI and ors. SLP(C) NO. 13523/2021