NEET, NEET PG 2021: SC allows OCI candidates to appear in General Category Counselling
New Delhi: In an enormous relief to all the eligible candidates belonging to the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), the Supreme Court has allowed them to participate in the general category of NEET and NEET PG counselling for the 2021-22 academic year MBBS, BDS, MD, MS and MDS admissions.This has come as interim relief to the OCI petitioners to participate in the NEET 2021 general...
New Delhi: In an enormous relief to all the eligible candidates belonging to the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), the Supreme Court has allowed them to participate in the general category of NEET and NEET PG counselling for the 2021-22 academic year MBBS, BDS, MD, MS and MDS admissions.
This has come as interim relief to the OCI petitioners to participate in the NEET 2021 general category counselling considering the notification that was earlier issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had insisted they be treated at par with NRIs only.
The OCI candidates had moved the top court challenging the said notification. The plea pointed out that OCIs like petitioners have undergone many years of schooling in India, and their families live and work in India.
Despite the same, they are not allowed to compete with the general pool of candidates and are forced to compete for a very small number of seats earmarked for NRIs. This would mean that they would also have to pay exorbitant admission fees that accompany the NRI quota seats, which they cannot afford unlike NRIs whose families are living and working in the global west and have more access to financial resources, the plea said.
Earlier on October 29, in an interim relief, the Supreme Court had allowed an OCI NEET PG aspirant to appear in the counselling in the general category at par with Indian citizens for counselling and admission for 2021-2022.
Moreover, back In September, the top court had passed an interim order allowing OCI candidates to participate in the NEET-UG counselling in the general category for the academic year 2021-2022 and issued notice on the plea. However, that order was limited only to the petitioners in that case. Later, another application was filed by a few other OCI candidates, seeking the same relief.
Now, during a recent deliberation on the matter, the Supreme Court bench of honourable Justices S.A. Nazeer and Krishna Murari, granted relief to the OCI candidates and stated,
"The applicants and all other eligible candidates who are similarly situated are permitted to appear in the counselling in the general on par with Indian Citizens to pursue MBBS/BDS courses and other undergraduate/postgraduate courses in approved/recognised Medical/Dental & other Colleges/Institutes."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the bench to limit the relief only to the petitioners who had moved the top court. The bench made it clear that the interim relief is only limited to the academic year 2021-2022, and posted the matter for further hearing in the second week of January next year, reports IANS.
The bench told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati that the National Testing Agency and the authorities associated with counselling are required to implement its order.
IANS has quoted the bench as emphasising that the relief is only for the academic year 2021-22 only, and saying: "We heard the matter in length while we passed the interim order. We've done this because of the suddenness of the notification."
The top court told the Centre's counsel if the notification were to be issued 8 or 9 months ago, then it would not have passed the order.
Putting light on the said notification features, Dr B Srinivas, ADG (ME), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare told The Times of India, "The MHA notification had stated that OCIs are eligible only for NRI seats and not the Indian seats since the national seats are subsidised by Indian taxpayer's money."
"The MHA notification prompted around 170 OCIs to petition before the SC, where it was stated that being of Indian origin, they must be allowed to participate in the Indian medical exams and should be considered both for the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) seats and the Indian/national seats -- an entitlement they had enjoyed in the previous years. SC in its order has clarified that the OCI petitioners can be at par with the NRI category as well as opt for Indian national seats if found eligible, but this will be applicable only for the current academic year," he added.
Following the SC order, the OCI petitioners, if found eligible, can now opt for the government medical seats.
However, whether such seat allocation will impact general category students who would be vying for the Indian/national seats, Srinivas told TOI, "Since the number of petitioners are few and the selection through NEET-UG exams is merit-based, the number of qualifiers would be miniscule. The OCI petitioners who are found eligible for government seats may not exceed 20, which will not make a marked difference to the general category candidates. The OCIs who were not among the petitioners have not been given relief by the Supreme Court, will however be considered only for the NRI seats."
Meanwhile, pointing towards the interest of general category candidates, Dr Sushil Vijay, DBMCI said, "It should be binding upon OCI candidates who have been given a general category seat to serve the country for at least a duration of 5-7 years because they are not Indian citizens. Since the number of OCIs who had registered in NEET UG 2021 was around 564, and only 400 qualified, they will not impinge upon the interests of the general category students and status quo will be maintained."
Garima joined Medical Dialogues in the year 2017 and is currently working as a Senior Editor. She looks after all the Healthcare news pertaining to Medico-legal cases, MCI/DCI decisions, Medical Education issues, government policies as well as all the news and updates concerning Medical and Dental Colleges in India. She is a graduate from Delhi University and pursuing MA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She can be contacted at email@example.com Contact no. 011-43720751