The top 20 percentile students of each education board will now be eligible to seek admission in IITs and NITs and appear for JEE Advanced even if they have not scored 75 per cent marks in class 12, according to Ministry of Education sources.

The decision comes against the backdrop of constant demands for relaxing the eligibility criteria for JEE (Advanced), which requires at least 75 per cent marks in aggregate in the class 12 examination conducted by respective education boards.

"The 20 percentile criteria will help those candidates who are short of 75 per cent aggregate in their class 12 boards. Discussions were held and since many of the top 20 percentile candidates in a number of state boards score below 75 per cent marks or 350 marks, the ministry decided that if a candidate is in the top 20 percentile he or she is eligible," a source said.

The online registration for the first edition of JEE-Main will end on January 12. The exam will be conducted between January 24 and 31.

According to the JEE (Main) 2023 information bulletin, admission to BE/BTech/ BArch/BPlanning programmes in the NITs, IIITs, and CFT via central seat allocation board will be based on all India rank with the additional eligibility of at least 75 per cent in aggregate in the Class 12 examination conducted by the respective education boards.

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For Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates, the qualifying aggregate is 65 per cent in class 12 board exams. The eligibility criteria was kept in abeyance during the pandemic (2020, 2021 and 2022).

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, refused to defer the JEE Mains examination scheduled later this month.

A division bench of Chief Justice S V Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne held that it would not be appropriate to postpone the pan-India examination in response to a Public Interest Litigation as it would affect lakhs of IIT aspirants.

The Public Interest Litigation was filed by child rights activist, Anubha Sahai, who wanted the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Mains to be deferred till March.

The petition challenged the National Testing Agency's (NTA) December 15 notification scheduling the examination between January 24 to 31, 2023.