NTA has confirmed and published the new age limit criteria for NEET 2020. While the lower limit remains unchanged, the details for upper age limit, have been made clear. Age limit is a crucial point in the eligibility criteria for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and the same is now finally clear through the information brochure that has been published at ntaneet.nic.in.
The lower age limit for NEET 2020 is 17 years, as on 31 December of the year of admission to first year undergraduate medical courses.
NTA says that the upper age limit us 25 years as on the date of examination, with relaxation of 5 years to SC, ST, OBC NCL, PWD category candidates.
However, there is a catch. The court cases regarding age limit for NEET exam are still ongoing. The various judgement and hearings are pending adjudication before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. In such a scenario, the last interim order of the court is being followed, and in the words of officials “the candidates above 25 years are provisionally permitted to appear and their candidature is subject to the outcome of pending petitions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court”.
So ultimately the matter is like this. Candidates should be more than 17 years as on December 31, 2020. They should ideally also be less than 25 years as on May 3, 2020 or 30 years for SC, ST, OBC NCL. However as of now, those who are older than the upper age limit can also apply, and the final judgement about whether or not they are eligible will be decided when the court cases come to an end.
Therefore to apply for NEET 2020, candidates should just check that they are born on or before December 31, 2003. Other than that, no other age limit criteria needs to be checked for now.
The history behind NEET age limit is like this. As per the regulations on Graduate Medical Education 1997 vide amendment dated 22.01.2018, the upper age limit for the medical entrance exam should be 25 years. However the matter was challenged in the High Court of Delhi and the age limit was upheld as per judgement dated 11.05.2018 in writ petition no. 1813/2018.
Then once again the judgement was challenged, this time in Supreme Court in SLP (C) no. 14320/2018 and vide interim order dated 29.11.2018 candidates older than 25 years were allowed to appear provisionally.
Then the Supreme Court ordered on 29.04.2019 to permit candidates to provisionally take part in the counselling subject to adjudication of matters. This is still pending.
There are parties in favor of having an upper age limit in NEET exam, considering that competition becomes unfair for younger students when candidates who have been preparing for several years also compete for the limited seats. Then there are groups against the age limit as well, who feel that medical education should not be limited by age per se.
What do you think? Should there be an upper age limit in NEET? Or not?