SC asks if OCIs can get govt seats in MBBS course

The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to clarify if Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) can enjoy better status than  Non Resident Indians (NRI) and seek admission to MBBS course under government quota seats in Karnataka and other states.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit also asked the medical education regulator, Medical Council of India, to explain the rules governing OCIs for pursuing MBBS course.

“The issue would have serious repercussion. Should we leave it to individual states? You are the regulating authority. You take instructions,” the bench told Gaurav Sharma, appearing for the MCI.

The court asked both the Union government, represented by Additional Solicitor General Sandeep Sethi, and the MCI's counsel to file their respective affidavits by Monday. The  court  also  asked  the  Union  government to produce the original files pertaining to OCIs.

Subsidised education

Senior advocates Shyam Divan and K V Vishwanathan, appearing for some OCI candidates, contended they were children of professionals, who had settled abroad. But the candidates are living in India on permanent visas. It would depend on them, as a matter of choice, if they wanted to retain their citizenship of other countries or acquire Indian citizenship on attaining the age of 18 years, they said.

Senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, appearing for Karnataka government, contended that OCIs cannot seek admission under government quota seats and get subsidised education.

On the court's query if the terms OCI and NRI have been defined in the law, the counsel said only the Income Tax Act described NRIs.

The court put a batch of petitions filed by OCI candidates, challenging denial of admission under government quota seats by Karnataka, for further consideration on Tuesday.

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