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Delhi HC seeks govt response on upper age limit for veterinary courses – education


The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Veterinary Council of India, the respondents on a plea challenging the upper-age limit of 25 years, as a criteria for admission to Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry degree course.

The age limit was brought by the government under Regulation 6 of the Veterinary Council of India Minimum Standards of Veterinary Education – (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry – Degree Course) Regulations, 2016.

Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh after hearing the submission made by Advocate Zoheb Hossain and Advocate Vivek Gurnani represented for the petitioner, sought response of Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Veterinary Council of India and slated the matter for January 13, this year.

The plea states that the regulation is violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19(l)(g) and 21 of the Constitution. Apart from creating two artificial classes of students with no reasonable nexus with the objective of maintaining minimum standards of veterinary education and thereby violating Article 14.

The plea also stated that the said regulation has the effect of taking away the right to practice a profession of one’s choice or to carry on any occupation or trade or business guaranteed under Article 19(l the respondent has notified that the admissions to the BVSc and AH degree course shall be on the basis of merit obtained in the said NEET examination.

Moreover, the petition also stated that by stipulating an upper age limit for admissions in the said degree course, the respondent is creating an invidious classification by dividing one class of students into two artificial and irrational classes, depriving the students over the age of twenty-five and thirty years belonging to general category and SC/ST/OBC categories respectively, the right to avail of medical education as guaranteed to them by the Constitution of India.

Fixing of the maximum age limit is neither in furtherance of the objective behind formulating the 2016 regulations nor does it fit into the scheme of the regulations which have been primarily framed to maintain standards of veterinary education, the plea said.

According to the plea, the petitioner Gajanand Mishra, an aspirant, has taken the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, 2020 by virtue of the Supreme Court’s orders passed in the petitions challenging the upper age limit set by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for taking the said NEET examination.

The Supreme Court has allowed the candidates above the age of 25 to take the entrance examination (NEET) and the respondent has notified that the admissions to the BVSc and AH degree course shall be on the basis of merit obtained in the said NEET examination.

Moreover, the petition also stated that by stipulating an upper age limit for admissions in the said degree course, the respondent is creating an invidious classification by dividing one class of students into two artificial and irrational classes, depriving the students over the age of twenty-five and thirty years belonging to general category and SC/ST/OBC categories respectively, the right to avail of medical education as guaranteed to them by the Constitution of India.

Fixing of the maximum age limit is neither in furtherance of the objective behind formulating the 2016 regulations nor does it fit into the scheme of the regulations which have been primarily framed to maintain standards of veterinary education, the plea said.

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