NEET SS 2021: OCI Cardholder Gets HC Nod to Apply for exam
New Delhi: Taking note of the fact that the petitioner doctor, who is an OCI cardholder, has pursued her MBBS and MS courses from India, the Delhi High Court bench on Thursday allowed her to apply for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for Super Speciality admissions, NEET SS 2021 examination.
Such a decision was taken by the High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh as it observed 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," noted the bench 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.
Thus, while granting the Centre to file its response regarding the petition, the bench was quoted saying by India Legal, "Meanwhile, we hereby permit the petitioner to prefer an online application for NEET-SS 2021 Examination, and we hereby direct the respondent to accept the online application of the petitioner for NEET-SS 2021 Examination."
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the petitioner, Dr. Snigdha Kamini, an OCI cardholder, who has studied both for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Master of Surgery (MS) in India, approached the High Court challenging a provision in the notification relating to eligibility criteria for NEET SS 2021.
As per the petition, she was aggrieved by the addition of the words after "such other tests" in para (4)(ii) (including the proviso) in the notification dated March 4, 2021, issued by the Central government. Para 4 of the notification deals with non-resident Indians.
Para (4)(ii) of the notification stated that parity with non-resident Indians in the matter of appearing for the all India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any non-resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat, provided that the OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens.
Stating that until last year the OCI cardholders were eligible to appear for Super Specialty entrance exams conducted by NBE, the plea further stated, "It is well-known that the path to becoming a specialist doctor is arduous and the petitioner cannot be expected to from the scratch. To deny even the eligibility to the Petitioner to write the 2021 National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Super Specialty (NEET-SS) examination is patently illegal. 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."
"Thus, the addition of the words after "such other tests" in para (4)(ii) (including the proviso) in the notification dated March 4, 2021, issued by the Respondent No. 1/Union of India, inter alia, violates the substantive legitimate expectation of the petitioner requiring interference of this Court. It is respectfully submitted that the words after "such other tests" in para (4)(ii) (including the proviso) in the notification dated March 4, 2021, issued by the Respondent No. 1/Union of India also fail the test of proportionality," it added.
So, the petitioner sought to declare the words after "such other tests" in para (4)(ii) (including the proviso) in the notification dated March 4, 2021, notified by the respondent Central government in the Gazette of India are unconstitutional and void.
Apart from this, she also sought a direction restraining the respondent National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences from enforcing or giving effect to Clause 3.6 of the Information Bulletin for NEET-SS 2021 Examination issued by it on August 31.
As per the latest media report by India Legal, the counsel for the Centre, Advocate Rajesh Kumar while seeking time for filing a response to the previous court order submitted before the bench that a similar issue is pending before the Apex Court and it would likely be listed on September 29 for further hearing.
On the other hand, Advocate Shivendra Singh, the counsel for the petitioner opposed such averments and submitted that issues involving the two petitioners were completely different as the matter pending before the Apex Court concerns whether OCIs should be considered at parity with that of NRIs. However, the petition before the Delhi High Court challenged the eligibility criteria for NEET-SS examination.
At this outset, the counsel for the petitioner pointed out that even though the doctor completed her MBBS and MS from India and invested 8.5 years for medical education, she is not even allowed to register for the NEET-SS 2021 examination on the ground that she is not an Indian National.
Contending that not allowing the candidate to register for the examination, the counsel for the petitioner urged the court to at least give permission to the doctor to register for the test.
After listening to these contentions, the High Court bench granted permission to the doctor for registration. However, at the same time the bench made it clear that the acceptance of the online application form is subjected to the final outcome of the matter.
"No equity will be created in favour of the petitioner if the petition is dismissed… Similarly acceptance of the online application by the respondents shall not be treated as an admission of any facts by the respondents," the bench was quoted saying as it listed the matter for further hearing on October 22, 2021.