NEET Aspirant seeks age relaxation: Delhi HC directs to challenge Regulations on Graduate Medical Education
New Delhi: While listening to a plea by a minor NEET candidate, the Delhi High Court has directed the petitioner student to withdraw his plea and challenge the Regulation 4.1 of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 that have set the age boundaries instead.
This comes after the minor student had approached the Delhi High Court and filed a plea through his local guardian seeking directions to be allowed to appear in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) after he was denied filling application for the same for not attaining the minimum age.
Medical Dialogues had reported back in 2017 that the University Grants Commission (UGC), in order to bring about greater synchronization of functionality, had reduced the attempts for appearing in the medical entrance exam and also had introduced a age restriction. As per the norms, in order to appear at NEET medical entrance, a candidate needs to be 17 years of age at least.
However, the student petitioner failed to fulfill that requirement as there was a 13-month gap between the petitioner's age and the minimum age required to appear in the examination, i.e. 17.
The student who had passed his Class X examination with 90.2 percent and Class XII exam with 89 percent marks had filed the petition on August 4 and the last date for filing the application form was August 6, which was later extended till August 10.
Although all his classmates were allowed to appear for the entrance examinations for getting admission to the courses of their choice, the petitioner student was denied that privilege for his age.
For making his case, the plea had referred to several child prodigies who had attained their goal despite their age. His citations included, the reference of Dr. Bala Murali Krishna 'Bala' Ambati, an ophthalmologist from Boston, holding the Guinness World Record for being the youngest Doctor at aged 17 years and 294 days, adds India Legal.
Other references included Dr. Arpan Doshi, youngest physician to practice in the United Kingdom at age 21, Yasha Asley, youngest professor at age 14 years, and Dr. Sho Yano, a neurologist from Chicago.
In his plea, the petitioner had also quoted Justice P. N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India, "The child is a soul with a being, a nature and capacities of their own, who must be helped to find them, to grow into their maturity, into a fullness of physical and vital energy and the utmost breadth, depth and height of its emotional, intellectual and spiritual being; otherwise, there cannot be a healthy growth of the nation."
As per the latest media report by India Legal, on Tuesday, during the hearing of the case, the local guardian of the petitioner informed the court that recently a Division bench of Madras High Court had permitted a 16-year-old girl for appearing in the examination.
Urging that the Judgment of the Division Bench of Madras High Court holds a persuasive value on the court, he requested the court to pass a similar judgment in favor of the student petitioner.
On the other hand, the counsel appearing on the behalf of the National Medical Commission (NMC) and the Dental Council of India (DCI), Advocate Tanoodbhav Singhdev contended that Regulation 4.1 of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 clearly mentioned that in order to appear in NEET, a candidate must attain the age of 17 years.
"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," Mr. Singhdev was quoted saying by India Legal.
Arguing that the said Regulations have been challenged many times previously and were upheld as well, he further relied upon the 2003 Writ Petition of Mohit Kumar vs Union of India & Ors, where a Division Bench of Delhi High Court had clarified that the age restriction on PMT candidates was not arbitrary.
He also referred to other cases including Gautam Kapoor vs State of Rajasthan, and Ankit Chaturvedi vs Union of India, where the decision regarding the age restriction was upheld.
Now, the Delhi HC bench has granted the petitioner student the liberty to withdraw his plea and challenge Regulation 4.1 of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 instead.