SC permits OCI candidates to participate in general category NEET counselling for UG, PG med courses

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday permitted all eligible Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) candidates to participate in general category NEET counselling for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses.

A bench comprising Justices S A Nazeer and Krishna Murari, however, clarified that the aforesaid interim relief is limited to the academic year 2021-2022 only.

“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/Post Graduate courses in approved/recognised Medical/Dental & other Colleges/Institutes.

“It is made clear that the aforesaid interim relief is limited to the academic year 2021-2022 only,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing in the second week of January 2022.

The top court passed the order on a plea filed by OCI candidates challenging a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to treat them at par with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) for admission through NEET.

The apex court told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati that the National Testing Agency and the counselling authorities are duty-bound to implement the order.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the bench to limit the relief to only the petitioners who have approached it.

The court, however, said it has granted the relief only for the academic year 2021-22.

“We want to clarify one thing. We have made it very clear that it’s only for the academic year 2021-22 only. We heard the matter in length while we passed the interim order. We’ve done this because of the suddenness of the notification. If you would have issued the notification eight-nine months earlier we wouldn’t have passed such an order,” the bench said.