NEET 2018: Delhi HC relaxes dress code norms for Sikh candidates

Somesh S Menon | May 4, 2018 - 5:44 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI, May 4: The Delhi High Court has given permission to Sikh candidates to appear for NEET 2018 while carrying the traditional kangha kara (iron bracelet) and kirpan (short dagger with curved blade) on their person. All candidates intending to do so are required to report at their respective NEET exam centres by 8.30 AM, ie. an hour before the last reporting time.

The order, passed by a two member Delhi HC Bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla, comes as a source of relief to numerous Sikh aspirants who were challenging the CBSE’s strict NEET dress code guidelines which prevented candidates from carrying ‘metallic items’ as well as other assorted accessories to the exam centre.

Allowing kakars, the five articles that Amrithdhari Khalsa Sikhs are required to carry with them at all times, in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) centres has been a pressing demand of numerous Sikh organizations for the past many months now. The CBSE’s rules regarding what NEET 2018 candidates could carry with them to the NEET exam centres however excluded all such items, even if they were of a religious nature.

As per media reports, the Delhi High Court disagreed with the CBSE’s argument that such items could be used for ‘unfair means’ and hence should not be allowed, noting that there were no previous recorded instances of such misuse. Despite the CBSE claiming that the ban on such articles was not intended to target any community, the Court has asked the Board to relax its norms for the affected Sikh candidates on the basis that “uniformity of policy should not lead to absurdity”. As long as candidates report to the exam centre an hour or more in advance to undergo the mandatory frisking process, they should be allowed to appear for the exam as per the Court.

NEET 2018 will be conducted on Sunday, May 6, 2018. According to the NEET Information Bulletin, candidates are only allowed to enter the exam centre with their admit card and a passport size photograph. Strict instructions were issued by the Board regarding the dress code and a separate list of barred items, comprising all types of stationery items, communication devices, eatables and personal accessories, was also released. With the exception of Sikh candidates, all other aspirants should ensure they adhere to the specified rules and not carry with them any such items which may lead to their debarment from the exam.

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