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Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, NBEMS for barring OCI doctor from writing NEET-SS 2021

The matter will next be heard on September 23, 2021.

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre and the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences over a petition filed by an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder doctor, who was declared ineligible by the Central government to take up the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-SS 2021 examination.

The Division Bench, led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and also comprising Justice Jyoti Singh, on Thursday issued notice on a petition filed by Dr Snigdha Kamini, wishing to pursue Super Specialty studies in the country. The matter will next be heard on September 23. 

Rights of OCI cardholders regarding Indian entrance tests

The Indian Government issued a notification on March 4, specifying the rights to which an OCI cardholder will be entitled, wherein Clause (4) (ii) provided that OCI cardholder aspirants appearing for all India entrance tests or such other 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’.

In August this year, the NBE published the Information Bulletin in respect of NEET-SS 2021, wherein Clause 3.6, in accordance with the Government’s notification, stipulated that foreign nationals are not eligible as there is no reservation of seats in Super Specialty courses.

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Filed through Advocate Shivendra Singh, the plea highlighted that the petitioner shifted to India in June, 2004 and has been residing in the country ever since. She completed both her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) as well as Master of Surgery (MS) from India, and was at the forefront during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plea stated that the petitioner has very limited opportunities abroad as in many countries, including the US, post-graduation training in their own country is a prerequisite for admission into super-specialty training, owing to which her Master of Surgery (MS) is not recognised in many countries outside India.

“Even though the petitioner had an opportunity to pursue her post-graduation elsewhere, she chose to stay here as she has strong roots in India and intended to make a career in the healthcare sector, claimed the petition.

The petition prayed for restraining the Government and the NBE from giving effect to Clause (4) (ii) of the notification dated March 4, as also to Clause 3.6 of the Information Bulletin for NEET-SS 2021 examination. 

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“The deep and pervasive link of the petitioner with the medical profession in India cannot be abruptly snapped after she has been permitted to read for MBBS (course with duration of five and a half years) and MS (course with duration of three years) by the Respondents, who knew fully well that she was an OCI cardholder,” the petition contended.

“India is in dire need of healthcare professionals, as evident during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and by the extremely poor Doctor-Patient ratio. The notification would only demotivate healthcare professionals from staying back in India,” it added.

Case Name- Dr Snigdha Kamini vs Union of India & Anr

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