ESIC vs. Mr. Pravesh Sharma: Cut-off Date Dispute

The case between ESIC and Mr. Pravesh Sharma revolves around the dispute over the cut-off date for age eligibility in the NEET UG 2024 application. Mr. Pravesh Sharma, as the petitioner, challenges the decision made by ESIC, the respondent. The judgment delves into the intricacies of setting a cut-off date for reservation entitlement and the implications of such a decision. Follow the updates on this case to understand the legal nuances involved.


  • ESIC restricted reservation entitlement to dependent male ‘Ward of IP’ under the age of 21 by 10 April 2024.
  • Petitioner applied for NEET UG 2024 on 22 February 2024 based on the Public Notice.
  • ESIC later permitted ‘Ward of IP’ undertaking NEET-UG 2024 to apply for reservation.
  • ‘Ward of IP’ are insured under ESIC and entitled to preferential quota for MBBS admission subject to NEET UG merit.
  • Petitioner applied for NEET UG 2024 to seek admission into MBBS courses nationwide as a ‘Ward of IP’.


  • Mr. Pravesh Sharma argues that the fixing of 10 April 2024 as the cut-off date is arbitrary.
  • The argument is based on the belief that an earlier cut-off date would have benefitted more individuals.
  • No specific legal or procedural grounds are provided to support the claim of arbitrariness.
  • The focus is solely on the potential benefit of more persons with an earlier cut-off date.


  • The petitioner, Mr. Pravesh Sharma, is aggrieved by the cut-off date of 10 April 2024 for age eligibility in the NEET UG 2024 application
  • The petitioner crossed 21 years of age before 10 April 2024, making him ineligible for the ‘Ward of IP’ reservation
  • The ‘Ward of IP’ reservation is provided by the ESIC as a beneficial dispensation
  • The ESIC is within its rights to fix a cut-off date for age eligibility for the ‘Ward of IP’ reservation
  • The petitioner argues that the cut-off date has resulted in his disentitlement to the reservation
  • The petitioner’s argument is based on the discrepancy between the application submission dates and the age cut-off date


  • Various Supreme Court judgments have upheld the fixation of cut-off dates as a permissible policy decision largely immune from judicial scrutiny, unless arbitrariness or discrimination is proven.
  • The fixing of a cut-off date for determining maximum or minimum age for a post is at the discretion of the rule-making authority or the employer.
  • Prescription of age limits or extent of relaxation in rules cannot be termed arbitrary or unreasonable.
  • The court does not interfere with the fixing of cut-off dates unless it is shown to be arbitrary or discriminatory.
  • Past practices of fixing cut-off dates can be relied upon by the rule-making authority.
  • Fixing cut-off dates for reservation policies is a conscious policy decision and not arbitrary.
  • The High Court’s interference with a cut-off date must be based on valid reasons, not merely sympathy towards certain candidates.
  • The validity of a rule should not depend on individual cases of hardship that may arise from its application.
  • The discretion to fix a cut-off date lies with the executive, and courts should not legislate on such matters.
  • Setting a firm cut-off date provides certainty and avoids conjecture or hypothesis.
  • Judicial review is limited in the context of cut-off dates and age limits, only intervening when arbitrariness is established.
  • The critical cut-off date for determining eligibility of insured persons for availing benefits under the seats allocated for wards of insured persons is 30th September 2023.
  • Only a person who is an ‘Insured Person’ as per the Act on 30th September 2023 would be eligible for availing benefits under the seats allocated for wards of insured persons for their child/children.
  • The age limit for dependent male ‘Wards of IPs’ for eligibility under the seats allocated for wards of insured persons should not exceed 21 years as on the last date of submission of the application form for NEET-UG 2024, which is 10th April 2024.
  • Courts generally defer to the wisdom of administrators in academic institutions when it comes to policies regarding admission processes, career progression, and other administrative matters.
  • Fixing a cut-off date is considered within the discretion of the rule-making authority, and unless it is shown to be plainly arbitrary or discriminatory, courts do not interfere with it.
  • The validity of a cut-off date is not determined by individual cases of hardship but by whether it has a rational basis and is not manifestly unreasonable.
  • Decisions regarding cut-off dates are considered incidental to the regulatory control exercised by an authority over the selection process.
  • Courts should be cautious in exercising judicial review over academic policies, including admission criteria, as they lack the expertise and technical background of academic bodies.
  • The choice of a cut-off date cannot be labeled as arbitrary unless it is shown to be unreasonable, capricious, or whimsical.
  • Courts do not intervene to correct mere errors in cut-off dates but only when there is a palpable arbitrary exercise of power.
  • The decision to fix a cut-off date is within the authority of the rule-making entity unless it is shown to be arbitrary or lacking a rational nexus with the objective to be achieved.
  • The fixation of the cut-off date for reckoning the age of 21 years as 10 April 2024 in the admission notice issued by ESIC is not arbitrary.
  • The cut-off date was set in accordance with the admission policy of ESIC approved by the Central Government.
  • The Court cannot interfere with the fixed cut-off date unless arbitrariness is established, and the onus to prove arbitrariness lies with the party claiming it.
  • Fixation of any cut-off date is bound to result in some individuals being prejudiced.


  • The writ petition has been dismissed.
  • No costs have been ordered.
  • The applications for consideration have been disposed of.


Case Number: W.P.(C)-7349/2024

Click here to read/download original judgement

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