Explained: The NEET ‘dress code’ that can lead to ‘overzealous’ officials harassing aspirants


A row has erupted in Kerala over complaints that a number of National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) aspirants have been made to remove their indoor clothes before entering a facility. exam Sunday July 17.

There have been similar complaints in the past too – in 2017, for example, four “overzealous” teachers at a school in Kerala were suspended for asking a girl to take off her underwear before going to school. enter a NEET exam center in Kannur.

Is there a dress code for NEET aspirants?

Yes, the NEET 2022 information brochure specifies a dress code. Candidates are not permitted to wear light, long-sleeved clothing in the examination rooms. Slippers and low-heeled sandals are allowed, but shoes are not.

What items are listed as prohibited?

Apart from any form of textual material on paper, pencil boxes, plastic sleeves, pens, calculators, scales, notepads, USB sticks, erasers and dashboards are not permitted inside the centers. Cell phones, headphones and health bracelets are prohibited, as are wallets, glasses, watches, bracelets and cameras.

The NEET notice specifically prohibits “any metal ornaments/objects”. But the notice does not specify whether clothes with metal hooks are also prohibited.

Are candidates searched?

According to the notice, candidates will be subjected to intensive and compulsory searches “using highly sensitive metal detectors”, and prohibited items will not be allowed inside the test center “under any circumstances”.

Candidates will be searched inside a closed enclosure by female personnel only.

Are there similar guidelines for JEE (sector), JEE (advanced) and CUET-UG?

The instructions are more or less the same. But for JEE (Hands) and CUET, there is no reference to long sleeves and shoes. For the JEE (Advanced), candidates are prohibited from wearing “charm/taweez, objects containing metals such as a ring, bracelet, earrings, nose pin, chain/necklace, pendant, badge, brooch, clothes with big buttons. They are told to wear open shoes like chappals and sandals.

Does this clothing advice take into account specific religious or cultural practices?

According to the notices, candidates can come in cultural/customary dress to the centers, but they are expected to show up at least an hour before the last reporting time so that there is “enough time to search properly without any inconvenience for candidate while maintaining the sanctity of the examination.

What measures were taken in 2017 to prevent the problem from happening again?

The CBSE, which then ran the NEET, said the incident was a “consequence of overzealousness” by staff involved in the search. No major changes were made to the guidelines even after the National Testing Agency (NTA) began conducting the review, leaving room for overzealous interpretations.


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