Friday, February 3, 2023

Plea in Delhi HC wants minimum age criteria for appearing in NEET-UG amended from 17 to 15

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A NEET-UG aspirant has moved the Delhi High Court seeking directions to amend the regulations with regard to the qualifying age for appearing in NEET-UG Medical Entrance Examination from 17 years to 15 years, bringing it on par with JEE-2021 for UG Engineering courses. The petitioner has also sought directions to allow him to sit in the entrance test (NEET-2021). 

The petition has been filed by a student who was unable to fill his online application form for NEET-UG as he couldn’t meet the minimum age requirement for the same. He had filed a petition before the Delhi High Court earlier but the court opined to challenged the Regulation 4.1 of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, on the basis of which, he was barred from filing the application form for appearing in NEET Exams 2021, as he had not attained the minimum age required to fill the same. After modifying the same, the petition has been filed again on August 11, 2021. 

The petition has been filed by one Akash Yadav, who is a minor through his uncle/local guardian Dr Surendra Kumar Yadav (Petitioner-in-Person), seeking directions to be allowed to fill online forms in order to sit for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test 2021.

There is a 13-month gap between the age of the petitioner and the minimum required age for filling the application form, which is 17 years for NEET-2021 exam candidates. 

During the hearing of matter before the Court, Dr Yadav informed that a Division Bench of Madras High Court in case of “Shree Harini vs Union of India & ors” had permitted a 16-year-old girl to sit for NEET 2021. He further submitted that the Judgement of the Division Bench of Madras High Court holds a persuasive value on the court and requested the court to similarly allow the petitioner to appear for NEET, 2021.

Advocate Tanoodbhav Singhdev, appearing on the behalf of the National Medical Commission and the Dental Council of India, argued that Regulation 4.1 of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 clearly stated that any NEET applicant must complete 17 years of age on or before December 31 of the year examination is conducted. He further informed the court that the said Regulation has been challenged numerous times and has been upheld.

“According to the Regulation 4.1 of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997: Admission to the Medical Course-Eligibility Criteria, no candidate shall be allowed to be admitted to the Medical Curriculum proper of first Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery course until he /she has qualified the National Eligibility Entrance Test, and he/she shall not be allowed to appear for the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test until he/she completes the age of 17 years on or before December 31 of the year of admission to the MBBS,” stated Singhdev. 

He relied upon the 2003 Writ Petition of Mohit Kumar vs Union of India & ors, where a Division Bench of Delhi High Court stated that the age restriction on PMT candidates was not arbitrary. He further placed reliance upon Gautam Kapoor vs State of Rajasthan, where a Full Bench of Rajasthan High Court had upheld the age restriction for medical aspirants and Ankit Chaturvedi vs Union of India, where Allahabad High Court had come to a similar conclusion.

The petitioner had completed his Class X examination in 2019 with 90.2 percent marks and Class XII examination in 2021 with 89 percent marks from the Central Board of Secondary Education.

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