NEET 2020 Exemption: Delhi HC allows petition of MBBS abroad aspirant, accepts MCI decision on matter
New Delhi: In its recent verdict, the Delhi High Court has allowed the petition filed by an aspirant seeking MBBS abroad considering the MCI order wherein the medical council had declared "one-time exemption" for all NEET aspirants who intend to pursue MBBS in foreign medical institutions.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had taken this decision keeping in view of the unprecedented circumstances given the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with this, the MCI has made it clear that the candidates would have to appear and qualify the exams either in 2020 or next year 2021.
According to a March 2019 gazette notification by the Medical Council of India (MCI), the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)–the common level entrance exam conducted for admission to medical courses–has been made mandatory for pursuing MBBS courses abroad.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the NEET exam has been deferred twice and is now scheduled for September 13. The plea, considering which the MCI issued the order, had sought to direct the authorities to grant her one-time exemption as an exception from the requirement of having to clear NEET for admission to overseas medical courses in a foreign university for the current academic session 2020-2021.
Hence, addressing the grievance of all candidates like the concerned petitioner NEET candidate and an aspirant seeking MBBS abroad, the MCI announced to give exemption from the entrance test.
In order to address the grievance of candidates like the Petitioner, owing to the extraordinary situation of COVID 19 Pandemic, as a one-time measure, it would be appropriate to permit such aspirants to take admission in Foreign Medical Institutes, provided they fulfil the criteria as provided in the "Eligibility Requirement For Taking Admission In An Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002" as well as "the Screening Test Regulations, 2002" read with "Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997" for admission to MBBS course.
However, it would be mandatory for such candidates to qualify the NEET-UG in 2020 or 2021. In case, such candidates fail to qualify NEET-UG in 2020 or 2021, their decision to continue their Foreign Medical Courses thereafter shall be at their own risk, as they shall not be entitled to appear for the Screening Test and thereby would not be entitled for grant of Provisional/Permanent Registration by the State Medical Councils. Further, it is incumbent upon such candidates to faithfully follow with norms laid down by the Central Government for travelling abroad in view of COVID) 19 Pandemic"
The apex medical council had further warned the candidates about the relief by saying:
In case, such candidates fail to qualify NEET-UG in 2020 or 2021, their decision to continue their Foreign Medical Courses thereafter shall be at their own risk, as they shall not be entitled to appear for the Screening Test and thereby would not be entitled for grant of Provisional/Permanent Registration by the State Medical Councils. Further, it is incumbent upon such candidates to faithfully follow with norms laid down by the Central Government for travelling abroad in view of COVID) 19 Pandemic"
Taking note of a similar petition before the Delhi HC bench, the MCI had informed about this aforesaid declaration of one-time exemption.
In the present case, the court was hearing a petition by Baskara Prasad S Isukapalli seeking one-time exemption, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for his daughter from the requirement of clearing NEET for admission to the ''Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia'', for the current academic session 2020-2021.
The petitioner had also sought permission for her daughter to take admission in the foreign university in the current session and an exception to be given for an opportunity to clear NEET in the next three sessions due to the restrictions put by the DGCA, because of which she is unable to travel
During the hearing, the MCI said that owing to the "extraordinary" situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a one-time measure, candidates can go abroad for pursuing a medical course, provided they fulfil the criteria under the 'Eligibility Requirement for Taking Admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002' for admission to MBBS courses. The candidates should also fulfil criteria under the 'Screening Test Regulations, 2002' and the 'Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997', it said.
The submissions were made before Justice V Kameswar Rao by MCI's lawyer T Singhdev, who said the decision shall be applicable to all candidates, who are taking admission in a foreign institute or university for pursuing foreign medical qualification for which possessing National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) qualification is a prerequisite.
He said the decision has been taken by the MCI pursuant to a concurrence given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The counsel for the MCI submitted, "It is incumbent upon candidates to qualify the NEET-UG in 2020 or 2021 and in case they fail to qualify, the decision to continue foreign medical courses will be at their own risk as they will not be entitled to appear for the screening test and thereby, would not be entitled for grant of provisional or permanent registration by the state medical council concerned."
Keeping in view the submissions made by MCI, petitioner advocate Ashish Upadhyaya said he has no further grievance and that the petition be treated as closed, which was allowed by the court.
The MCI's had counsel also informed the court that in another matter, the Supreme Court was informed that Vande Bharat Mission flights are available for students and efforts will be made by the Ministry of External Affairs to accommodate Indian and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) students before the NEET examination on September 13 and genuine requests for relaxation of quarantine conditions will be considered.
Attached is the order below:
With NEET 2020 around the corner and several questions on its postponement, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has recently released official information about the conduct of the examination.