NEET-UG test: National Medical Commission modifies eligibility criteria

Students who have pursued physics, chemistry, biology or biotechnology along with English even as an additional subject, after passing class 12 from duly recognised boards will be eligible to appear for the NEET-UG test.

In a public notice issued on Wednesday, the National Medical Commission (NMC) said the decision will be applicable even to those students whose applications were previously rejected.

The erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI), through the provisions of the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, including the various amendments, under Chapter-II had regulated admission and selection to the MBBS course. 

It had mentioned that candidates must have undergone two years of regular or continuous study of Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Biotechnology, in Class 11 and 12 with practicals, along with English, the Undergraduate Medical Education Board of the NMC said in the public notice.

The two years’ study was required to be completed from regular schools and not from open schools or as private candidates. 

Further, the study of Biology and Biotechnology or any other requisite subject, could not be completed as an additional subject after passing Class 12, the notice said.

The provisions were challenged before the Delhi High Court and were quashed vide judgement dated May 11, 2018 in a case and other related matters.

This had a bearing on candidates seeking admission to graduate and primary medical courses in foreign medical institutes due to the statutory regulations in this regard i.e. eligibility for admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002 and the Screening Test Regulation, 2002.

In this background, candidates were debarred from the NEET-UG Test and their applications seeking eligibility certificates were rejected.  

Meanwhile, the NMC has framed the Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2023 as notified on June 2. 

Regulation 11(b) provides that candidates who have passed 10+2 or its equivalent with the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Biotechnology and English shall be eligible for appearing in NEET-UG. 

“Therefore, after framing the Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2023, the earlier Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, including the various amendments stand repealed prospectively,” the NMC notice said.

The NMC held detailed deliberations in a meeting held on June 14, 2023 and took into consideration the New Education Policy, which permits a great extent of flexibility in the study of various subjects in Class 12.

It “decided that the previous approach of the erstwhile Medical Council of India needs to be revisited by permitting candidates to undertake study of the requisite subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Biotechnology along with English) even as additional subjects after passing Class 12th from a duly recognised board”. 

Such candidates shall be permitted to appear in the NEET-UG Test and thus will be eligible for grant of eligibility certificate, the notice stated.

The present decision shall be applicable retrospectively also on candidates whose applications for grant of eligibility certificate were rejected on the grounds contemplated in the present public notice. However, for the purpose of appearing in NEET-UG, candidates who become eligible after the date of the present public notice, shall be permitted to appear in NEET-UG-2024. 

Further, court cases filed by MCI/ NMC, as before any court, in this regard shall be withdrawn and the current position with the present public notice shall be explained in all pending litigations filed by candidates, against MCI or NMC, so that the same could be disposed at the earliest. 

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