NEET 2017: Upper age limit removed, CBSE refused to comment on resuming application window

In a major relief to NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) applicants, MCI (Medical Council of India) has decided to remove the upper age limit of 25 years from the notification. MCI Executive Committee Vice President Dr C V Bhirmanandam, while talking to PaGaLGuY said that MCI is not against the larger interest of the medical aspirants and would like to give the opportunity to more such applicants to take up the examination.

The judgment regarding the upper age limit is due on March 20 at the apex court. But, according to media reports, a panel headed by Justice R M Lodha heard the matter and was in favour of striking down the upper age limit. The recommendations of the panel will be taken into account on March 20 in the Supreme Court where the apex court will finally pass its judgment.

As the matter is still sub-judice, a senior CBSE official did not want to speak about the matter. “We have not received any information in this regard as yet and can’t say anything about the re-opening of the application window,” said a higher official of CBSE.

However, Dr Bhirmanandam pointed out that the MCI has decided to roll back the upper age limit from yesterday after their executive level meeting. “Our decision of getting rid of the upper age limit from NEET applications came into effect from today. We are not in favour of limiting the opportunities of aspirants who are keen on taking Medicine as their career option. We are anyway facing a dearth of qualified doctors in the country and limiting aspirants on the basis of their age would not be the right thing to do,” said Dr Bhirmanandam. On asking whether the decision to get rid of the upper age limit is applicable only for this year, Dr Bhirmanandam quickly pointed out that the decision is going to remain unchanged for the years to come.

It is an interesting turnaround of MCI, as it is also one of the respondent parties in the petition along with the Centre and CBSE, filed by the medical aspirants against the upper age limit in Supreme Court. Dr Anand Rai, who was spearheading the petition against the forceful imposition of upper age limit in NEET application, seemed happy with the recent MCI stand. “Our good intent has forced the government and MCI to stand down once again. An aspirant who wants to get into the noble profession of a doctor should not be limited by an age barrier,” said Dr Rai.

CBSE has closed the application process for this year on March 1, and those candidates who couldn’t apply for the examination will be eager to know when the application window will open for them next. It is expected that the dates will be declared once the Supreme Court passes its order on March 20. “Judgment of the apex court is due and we are hoping that it will direct CBSE to open the application window in due course of time,” concluded Dr Bhirmanandam.