SC asks Centre if OCIs eligible to get K'taka govt seats

SC asks Centre if OCIs eligible to get K'taka govt seats

The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to explain if Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), who have cleared NEET 2017, are entitled to admission on government seats in MBBS/BDS courses in medical colleges in Karnataka.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar granted time till Monday to Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha to take instructions on the issue.

A group of candidates, who are OCI card-holders and have passed NEET, approached the Supreme Court, challenging the Karnataka high court's judgement of July 7.

The high court had held that such candidates were not eligible to be considered under the category of government seats in view of a clear bar under government rules. The Union government's rules stated that no candidate would be eligible for admission to government seats unless he is a citizen of India.

It had rejected the candidates' plea that the rule was arbitrary and violative of Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution.

The OCI card-holders under Section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 are entitled to be treated on par with Non-Resident Indians, the high court had held. It directed for considering their admission in various categories, other than government seats, if they were eligible under the rules.

The Karnataka government has also maintained that these candidates were eligible for admission only under the NRI quota. According to rules framed by the state government, only Indian citizens were eligible to apply for government seats, it said.

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