Courts Update Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, NBEMS for...

Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, NBEMS for barring OCI doctor from writing NEET-SS 2021

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New Delhi Sept 11(ILNS): The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, sought response from the Centre and the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences upon a plea by an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder medical practitioner wishing to pursue Super Specialty studies in the country.

The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice in the plea by one Dr. Snigdha Kamini, challenging the government’s decision that declared her ineligible to take the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-SS 2021 examination.

The matter will next be heard on September 23, 2021. 

Background

The Indian Government, on March 4, 2021, issued a notification specifying the rights to which an OCI cardholder will be entitled, wherein Clause (4) (ii) provided that the OCI cardholder aspirants appearing for the all India entrance tests or such other tests are eligible for admission ‘only against any Non-Resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat’ and ‘shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens’.

In August this year, the NBE published the Information Bulletin in respect of NEET-SS 2021, wherein Clause 3.6, in accordance with the Government’s notification, stipulated that foreign nationals are not eligible as there is no reservation of seats in Super Specialty courses.

Filed through Advocate Shivendra Singh, the plea highlights that the petitioner shifted to India in June 2004 and has been residing in India ever since. She has completed both Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) as well as Master of Surgery (MS) from India and was at the forefront during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plea states that the petitioner has very limited opportunities abroad as in many countries, including the US, post-graduation training in their own country is a prerequisite for admission into super-specialty training, owing to which her Master of Surgery (MS) is not recognized in many countries outside India.

“Even though the Petitioner had an opportunity to pursue her post-graduation elsewhere, she chose to stay here as she has strong roots in India and intended to make a career in the healthcare sector,” the plea claims.

In light of the above, the plea prays for restraining the Government and the NBE from giving effect to Clause (4) (ii) of the notification dated March 4, 2021, as also to Clause 3.6 of the Information Bulletin for NEET-SS 2021 examination 

The plea reads thus:

“The deep and pervasive link of the Petitioner with the medical profession in India cannot be abruptly snapped after she has been permitted to read for MBBS (course with duration of five and a half years) and MS (course with duration of three years) by the Respondents who knew full well that she was an OCI cardholder.”

“India is in dire need of healthcare professionals as evident during the COVID pandemic crisis and by the extremely poor Doctor-Patient ratio. The impugned notification would only demotivate healthcare professionals from staying back in India,” the plea adds further./ILNS/BG/KR/SNG

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