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neet cut off: “It will dilute the standard”: Govt had argued last year denying any reduction in NEET cut off in HC last year

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In a significant turn of events, the Indian government has decided to reduce the NEET-PG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate) qualifying percentile to zero. This move comes as a surprise, considering that just last year, the government vehemently opposed any reduction in the qualifying percentile, as highlighted in the Delhi High Court, a TOI report stated.

The government’s stance at the time, as stated in the court’s judgment, revolved around the necessity of maintaining a minimum qualifying percentile for admission to ensure a baseline standard of education and uphold general standards for professional course admissions. This argument was presented in response to a petition filed by three students who sought a lowering of the NEET-PG cut-off.

Taking these arguments into account, the court made a decisive ruling, emphasizing that “lowering the standards of medical education has the potential of wreaking havoc on society.” Recognizing the critical nature of the medical field, it asserted that such decisions involve matters of life and death. Therefore, the court deemed it “unconscionable” to interfere with the standards established by the governing authority. Consequently, the petition was dismissed on July 29, 2022.

However, this judgment faced a challenge from the Indian Medical Association’s Bihar branch in the Supreme Court earlier this year. Regrettably for the petitioners, the apex court upheld the High Court’s judgment on March 27.

Interestingly, the students who had sought lower cut-offs had used the same reasoning that the government has now adopted to lower the percentile to zero. They argued that the fixation of a minimum percentile led to the wastage of a substantial number of seats and advocated for the removal of the minimum percentile system.

In response, the government argued that a significant portion of the vacant seats pertained to non-clinical courses, which remained unclaimed not only due to the minimum percentile requirement but also because of a lack of candidates interested in these courses. Furthermore, the government clarified that the vacancies were not solely attributable to the regulation mandating admission through the NEET-PG exam with a percentile cut-off.The government highlighted that most of the vacant seats were in pre- and para-clinical subjects such as microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, or anatomy. It also noted that the candidates occupying these seats were already registered medical practitioners aiming to enhance their academic qualifications in specific disciplines. The government contended that postgraduate qualifications in these subjects did not equip candidates to function as specialists but primarily made them eligible for teaching positions.The Delhi High Court judgment acknowledged the government’s viewpoint, stating that the NEET aimed to ensure that only meritorious students with the right aptitude were selected for admission to postgraduate medicine courses, allowing them to pursue specialized medical disciplines after proper teaching and training.

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