Mumbai: Suffering from the policy of the government of not issuing No Obligation to Return to India (NORI) certificate to doctors, an Indian doctor who had been working in the US as a research Scientist for little less than three years, has been forced to return to India. Dr Sunil Noothi, who was in between his research in the US, as a result of the return, is now reported jobless.
The doctor has knocked the doors of the Bombay High court, challenging the decision of the central government. His lawyers have clearly pointed out in the court, that though being an Indian medical graduate, Noothi is not practicing medicine in US, rather is engaged in research. A Bio medical Researcher at the University of Kentucky, he had been associated as a post doctoral scholar with its department of Microbiology, Immunology and molecular genetics since 2013. He had also been funded over $1.5 million on his project to find cure for blood cancer.
However, immigration laws required him to return to India in December 2015 for the want of a NORI certificate. The central government, having changed its policy in August, 2015 rejected his plea. The doctor even approached the PMO in June 2016, only to face further rejection. Noothi has finally moved the Bombay High Court as a last resort.
The Bombay high court has decided to hear his plea. His lawyers have requested the court, to hear the plea separately and not club it with the petition of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors which is ongoing with the Aurangabad Bench. His major arguments can be summarized as follows:-
- When he went to US, NORI certificates were being issued, hence guidelines framed cannot be applied to him
- Having done a PhD at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 2008, post his MBBS, he is not working as a practicing physician, rather working as a researcher. Since other researchers without M.B.B.S degree are being issued NORI, his case should fall in the same bracket. Merely having an MBBS degree cannot be used to deprive him of his job and leads to violation of his right to trade and right to life.
Dr Noothi is actually in a state of fix since his return to India. As reported by TOI, Dr Noothi said he is “under a confidentiality and intellectual property protection agreement and cannot undertake the same research elsewhere”, hence is “now unemployed in India”. He was working on “blood cancer of chronic lymphocytic leukemia at a level of complexity not found in Indian labs”. “If motivated people are not encouraged, when will Indians receive a Nobel prize in medicine?” he asked the high court.