The National Medical Commission (NMC) has removed the upper age limit for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) (NEET-UG) for admission to MBBS courses across the country. Till now, the upper age cap was 25 years for unreserved candidates and 30 years for reserved candidates.
In a letter to the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts entrance exams for higher education, NMC Secretary Dr Pulkesh Kumar wrote on Wednesday: “I would like to inform that it has been decided in the 4th NMC meeting held on 21st Oct 2021 that there should not be any fixed upper age limit for appearing in the NEET-UG examination… The process for official notification to suitably amend the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 to this effect has been initiated.”
“Good news for the aspirants of NEET-UG! The National Medical Commission removes the fixed upper age limit for appearing in the NEET-UG examination. The decision will immensely benefit aspiring doctors and further help in strengthening medical education in the country,” the office of Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted.
The upper age limit has been a contentious issue ever since NEET began phasing out the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) and the state pre-medical tests in 2016. After the CBSE introduced the upper age limit in its NEET prospectus in 2017, the decision was challenged in the Supreme Court in May 2018.
In November 2018, the Supreme Court passed an interim order granting provisional permission to candidates above 25 years to appear in the NEET-UG. The NEET-UG information bulletin then stated that “candidates above 25 years are provisionally permitted to appear and their candidature is subjected to the outcome of pending petitions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
“The AIPMT did have the 25-year age limit, but it governed only 15 per cent of the total medical seats. The state PMTs did not have age restrictions. Now, NEET governs admission for all medical seats, so how can the same criteria apply? There are women and candidates from under-privileged background who may not follow the same timetable as the rest, and, therefore, may miss out on the opportunity to study medicine altogether,” said Amit Gupta, one of the petitioners spearheading the case.
Gupta, who is a teacher in Kota, said the court had asked the NMC to state its position at the hearing scheduled for next week. “Now, they will say that they agree with the petitioner at the next hearing,” he said.
The decision will benefit candidates who may miss the age cutoff if the exam is delayed or postponed, like it was in 2020 and 2021.
Courtesy : The Indian Express