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HC stays on Age limit for NEET aspirants

The Delhi high court on Wednesday (28 March 2018) stayed a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) notification specifying age restrictions for medical aspirants. The move comes as a relief to thousands who couldn't apply for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)- UG due to the eligibility conditions laid by the board.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar stayed the notification — which barred general candidates above 25 years of age and reserved category aspirants aged over 30 from applying for the MBBS and dental course entrances — and allowed the aspirants, some of whom are from Open School, to submit their application forms by March 9. The HC also sought the response of the CBSE and the Medical Council of India (MCI) on the candidates' plea, challenging the eligibility criteria laid by the board.

The court, however, clarified that while the candidates will be allowed to submit their application for the entrance exam, they cannot sit for the examination — scheduled on May 6 — as the case is sub judice and will be heard on April 16.

The HC was hearing several petitions filed by medical aspirants and two medical students from Kerala who have already completed courses in Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) and Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS). Aspirants from open schools should have studied privately or under a recognised board to apply for the NEET exam, the bench pointed out.

Appearing for some of the petitioners, senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta told HC that students were also challenging the constitutional validity of the amendments made by the MCI in the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, which are the basis of the NEET-UG notification issued by the CBSE. But senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for MCI, opposed the maintainability of the pleas saying a similar issue has already been decided by the high court in the past. On its part, the CBSE said it was only concerned with carrying out the tests.

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