The Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Lucknow has asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Union Government, to clarify how the upper age limit for NEET (UG) 2017 was determined.
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In response to two writ-petitions filed by Navneet Tripathi and others, the two division bench of Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Sanjay Harkauli passed the order pertaining to the upper age limit set for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, which conducts admissions to MBBS and BDS seats across the country.
The upper age limit rule, which states that NEET applicants cannot be above 25 years (30 years for reserved categories) on the day of the exam, has been mired in controversy ever since its introduction. The two petitions contend that the upper age limit is not supported by any appropriate regulation or procedure prescribed by the regulations framed under the MCI Act. Given that the upper age limit was not present earlier, and because its recent introduction has not been in conformity with law, it deserves to be struck down, the petitions argue.
NEET 2017 is scheduled to be held on May 7 this year. Calling it an urgent matter requiring immediate disposal, the High Court bench directed the Centre and the MCI to file their counter-affidavits no later than February 20, the next date of hearing. The Court also directed the counsel for the CBSE, the exam conducting body for NEET 2017, to file a response on the same.
“The stand of the Medical Council of India as well as that of the Union government has to be brought on record by way of an affidavit as to what was the procedure adopted for the purpose of fixing the upper age limit of 25 years for NEET examination,” the Bench stated.
This is not the first time the new rule on NEET upper age limit has been embroiled in a legal tussle. Earlier this month, a similar petition challenging the upper age limit was filed in the Supreme Court. The petition is expected to come up for hearing before the Supreme Court on February 17, 2017. Read the full story here.
Till last year, the existing age related clause for the NEET exam regarding the upper age limit was applicable to 15% All India Quota seats only. On January 31, 2017, the CBSE released a notification on NEET 2017, which read,“The upper age limit of the candidates appearing for NEET 2017 has been fixed at 25 years on the date of conduct of examination in which five year relaxation has been given to the reserved category candidates.” Along with this ruling on age limit, there was also a change introduced in the number of maximum attempts available to a candidate “There shall be three attempts available uniformly for all the candidates in NEETexamination,” declared the notification, while adding that any previous attempt in NEET or AIPMT would also be counted. Both these new rules generated tremendous controversy among medical aspirants across the country, with the MCI later issuing a clarification that NEET 2017 would be counted as the first attempt for all candidates, irrespective of previous attempts.
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