NEET SS 2021 Eligibility criteria for OCI candidates: HC issues notice to Centre, NBE
New Delhi: Responding to a batch of petitions filed by Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder medical practitioners, who wished to pursue Super Specialty Courses in the Country, the Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response from the Central Government and the National Board of Examinations (NBE) regarding the matter.
These doctors moved the High Court as a consequence of the Government's decision which held that OCI cardholders are ineligible to appear in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Super Specialty (NEET-SS) 2021 examination.
Issuing notice in the matter, the High Court division bench led by Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh posted the matter to be next heard on October 11, 2021.
Earlier, while allowing the Centre to file its response, the High Court had also granted a petitioner doctor, who had pursued both MBBS and MS degrees in India, to apply for the NEET-SS 2021 examination. Medical Dialogues had recently reported that such a decision had come on the part of the Delhi High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh as it had opined that not granting the stay would cause an irreparable loss to the petitioner.
"If the stay as prayed for is not granted, it will cause an irreparable loss. Balance of favour is also in favour of the petitioner. Hence, online application shall be accepted by the respondents," the bench had noted as it took note of the fact that having her medical degrees from India, there is a prima facie case in the favor of the petitioner doctor.
However, at the same time the bench had clarified that the acceptance of the online application form is subjected to the final outcome of the matter.
All these petitions have come after the Central Government on March 4, 2021 had issued a notification on March 4, 2021, wherein it had specified the rights of OCI cardholders. Clause (4) (ii) of the notification had mentioned that the OCI cardholder aspirants willing to appear in the all India entrance 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'.
Following this, in August 2021, NBE also published the Information Bulletin of NEET SS 2021 and in Clause 3.6 it was clearly mentioned that in accordance with the Government's notification, foreign nationals are ineligible as there is no such reservation in seats in Super Specialty courses.
As per the latest media report by India Legal, aggrieved by such directions issued by both the Central Government and NBE, the petitioner doctors have approached the Delhi High Court and filed the pleas through Advocate Shivendra Singh. They have claimed in the petitions that they have been residing in India for a long and have also completed their MBBS and post-graduation studies in India.
Further claiming that they have been at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the doctors have alleged that the notification dated March 4, 2021 is a total deprivation of eligibility of petitioners to appear in NEET SS 2021.
"The deep and pervasive link of the Petitioners with the medical profession in India cannot be abruptly snapped after they have been permitted to read for MBBS (course with duration of five and a half years) and post-graduation (course with duration of three years) under a system which was well aware of the fact that they were OCI cardholders," stated the petitions.
"Even though the Petitioners had an opportunity to pursue their post-graduation elsewhere, they chose to stay here as they have strong roots in India and intend to make a career in the healthcare sector," the petitions stated as per India Legal.
Praying that Clause (4) (ii) of the March 4 notification and Clause 3.6 of NEET-SS 2021 Notification get restrained, the petition further stated, "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."