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The Supreme Court ruled on Friday (March 31) that candidates above 25 years could sit for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination 2017. The CBSE—which conducts the exam for admission to MBBS/BDS courses—order had earlier fixed the age limit to 25 years. The court further ruled that candidates above 25 years could fill up their forms on CBSE’s online portal till April 5 (earlier the last date was March 1). It also asked the concerned authorities to create enough awareness about this new development.

Brushing aside CBSE’s plea that it would be difficult at this stage to implement the court-ordered changes (as the formalities of the exam had already been finalised), the court ruled that the CBSE must make requisite arrangements for new candidates so that they could sit for the exam. This year, the NEET exams are scheduled for May 7.

Hearing arguments from all parties, the apex court considered the plea from the counsel representing aspiring candidates—who wanted to get into medical and dental courses through NEET—that the CBSE order was not justified and denied entry to talented candidates. It felt that the CBSE decision was wrong and unconstitutional.

The top court clarified that the verdict will overrule any other given by high courts and they should not entertain any plea on the matter.

—India Legal Bureau

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