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Devbrat Patnaik

New Delhi: In a major announcement, the Supreme Court has allowed undergraduate medical students of age 25 or above to appear for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). The SC bench, however, said that their admission will be subjected to the final outcome of the case on validity of CBSE's decision to fix the upper age limit.

It may be noted here that the SC has directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to extend the deadline by one week to allow the students to fill up the NEET form, as the filling up of forms expires tomorrow.

In another development, the Supreme Court last week set aside the Madras High Court order awarding 196 grace marks to the NEET-UG 2018 aspirants who had opted to write the test in Tamil language on account of error in translation.

The top court directed that from year 2019-20, NEET-UG examination will be held by the newly constituted National Testing Agency instead of the CBSE.

A bench of justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said that "the method adopted by the Madurai bench of Madras High Court is manifestly arbitrary and unjustified and cannot be sustained".

"For these reasons, we set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court of Madras dated July 10, 2018. We direct that from the year 2019-20 onwards the NEET-UG Examination will be conducted by the National Testing Agency and the bilingual examination will be conducted after the question paper is translated...," the bench said.

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It noted that the list of students who opted to give the NEET-UG, 2018 Examination in Tamil after the addition of 196 marks is "startling".

Referring to the list, the bench said that a student who got 260 marks has been awarded a total of 456 marks and a student with 137 marks becomes entitled to 333 marks and the student who got 92 marks becomes entitled to 288 marks.

"Even students who have 21 marks been entitled to 217 marks. It is clear that the High Court lost sight of the primary duty of Court in such matter that is to avoid arbitrary results," the bench said.

[With Agency Inputs]

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