Tamil Nadu

HC wonders how a 16-year-old can be allowed to write NEET

If a 16-year-old has good knowledge about politics, can we allow him/her to vote in elections? the Madras High Court asked on Monday while hearing the plea of a 16-year-old girl to allow her to write National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) though the minimum age required to appear for the medical entrance test was 17 years.

Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and Krishnan Ramasamy raised the query during the hearing of a writ appeal preferred by National Testing Agency (NTA) against a single judge’s order to allow the 16-year-old to write NEET and one more writ petition filed by the student SP. Shree Harini of Kumbakonam seeking permission to write the test.

Senior counsel G. Rajagopalan, representing the NTA, contended that the single judge had erred in allowing the 16-year-old girl to write the test when the regulations clearly state that the candidates must have completed 17 years of age as on December 31, 2020. He said the courts should not interfere in such decisions taken by the National Medical Commission (NMC).

On her part, NMC counsel Subharanjini stated that there was a difference between the intelligence of a student and his/her maturity. Stating that certain amount of physical as well as mental maturity was required to undergo medical courses, the counsel said the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of a student could not be considered a measure of his/her maturity.

Adding a rider that she might sound a little rude, the counsel said: “We do not want somebody giggling in the anatomy room after joining medical college.” While recognising that the writ petitioner might be a brilliant student with a very high IQ, the counsel said, still, she could not be allowed to write NEET in violation of the regulations.

On his part, senior counsel AR.L. Sundaresan, representing the student, said he was not challenging the age criteria fixed by NMC but only insisting upon carving out an exception for an academically brilliant student. Pointing out that Central Board of Secondary Education had permitted her to write Plus Two examinations, he said, she could not be forced to waste one year to write NEET.

He urged the court to permit the student to write NEET scheduled on Sunday and then take a decision on allowing her to join MBBS or not. However, warning that a possible poor performance in NEET might also demoralise the student and affect her psychologically, the judges decided to pass orders on the writ appeal as well as the writ petition on Tuesday.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 8:14:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-wonders-how-a-16-year-old-can-be-allowed-to-write-neet/article36329051.ece

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