The order was passed by a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar on several petitions moved by medical aspirants who are aggrieved by various other eligibility norms which bar them from applying for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-UG.
The application process for NEET exam began online on February 8, 2018 and it will be concluded on March 9, 2018. The exam will be conducted on May 6, 2018.
The court, while passing its interim order, made it clear that while the candidates are allowed to submit their application for the entrance exam, it does not mean that they can sit for it.
Senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, appearing for several MBBS aspirants, told the court that the 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.
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.
Press Trust of India reported yesterday that Malappuram based Jalaludheen T and Suresh T, who have already completed courses of Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) and Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS), have alleged that the upper age limit prescribed by the national level medical entrance exam was "arbitrary and unreasonable".
The petitioners contended in their plea that the Supreme Court had quashed the age limit prescribed by CBSE for NEET last year and had allowed all the candidates to appear for the exam without any age limit.
Their petition stated that the Kerala provides for quota in admission to MBBS and allied courses for the candidates who have qualified BAMS, BHMS and for nurses.
"The duration of BAMS and BHMS courses are five and a half years. Now if a person desires to take NEET-UG after completion of his course, it becomes difficult for him to do so due to the upper age limit prescribed infringing their fundamental rights enshrined under our Constitution," the petition said.
Under the CBSE notification, candidates who have studied in open school, students who have had biology as an additional subject, those who have taken more than two years to complete their 11th and 12th and students who have studied privately were not eligible to apply for the exam.
The court today said students from open school or those who have studied privately should belong to a recognised board in order to apply for the exam.
The court said the interim order will continue till the next date of hearing on April 6.
Meanwhile, CBSE apprised in a notification on February 24 that the Board has no role to play in deciding the eligibility conditions for NEET.
"It is to apprise that the responsibility of CBSE is limited to hold the NEET (UG) examination, based on the eligibility criteria provided by Medical Council of India (MCI)," it said in the notification.
"As per eligibility criteria, students who have pursued schooling through NIOS/ State Open School or students who had studied Biology/ Bio-Technology, as an additional subject at 10+2 level are ineligible as per Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997, as amended in 2018 under the MCI Act, 1956 and provided to CBSE to hold the NEET (UG)," it added.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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