The controversy surrounding NEET 2017 reached the Supreme Court on Friday, with a petition being filed against the newly introduced upper age limit criteria to take the exam. According to the rule introduced from this year, only those candidates who are less than 25 years of age (30 years in the case of reserved categories) on the day of the exam are eligible to appear for NEET 2017. The petition is expected to come up for hearing before the court on February 17.
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Filed by Mr. Sabyasachi Rai, a medical aspirant deemed ineligible by the new rule, the petition challenges the sudden introduction of this new eligibility criteria and demands that the government should roll it back. Speaking to a national daily, Dr. Amit Gupta, a member of the writ petition team, said “With the implementation of upper age limit, many aspirants have now been suddenly barred from appearing in NEET 2017, wasting months of their preparation. These candidates have been left with no other alternative. This is why we have filed a case.”
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On January 31, 2017, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the body responsible for organizing NEET 2017, had issued a notification stating, “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.”
Until last year, the age-related clause for the NEET exam was applicable to 15% All India quota seats only. But given that NEET has been introduced as the single exam replacement for all the different medical entrance examinations held by states and other private bodies, NEET eligibility criteria 2017 now applies to all medical aspirants who wish to take admissions to MBBS/BDS courses in any medical college in the country.
While notifying NEET 2017, the CBSE had also introduced a cap on the number of attempts available to a candidate. This was, however, withdrawn on February 3, 2017, after the Medical Council of India (MCI) clarified to the Health Ministry that the cap of three attempts would continue but the attempt will be counted from 2017 onwards.
The CBSE notification had unsurprisingly generated controversy among medical aspirants across the country, with many calling the new regulations ‘unfair’. Read the full story here. With the scrapping of the cap on attempts, aspirants will now be hoping that the newly filed petition is successful in leading to the removal of the upper age limit criteria as well.
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