Medical seats: SC seeks info on OCI, NRIs

The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to clarify if the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) can enjoy better status than that of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) 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 the OCI with regard to admission to the MBBS course.

“The issue would have great repercussions. 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, representing 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’s to produce the original files related to the OCIs.

Senior advocates Shyam Divan and K V Vishwanathan, appearing for the some OCI candidates, contended that they were children of professional- parents who went abroad to settle. 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 from other countries or acquire the Indian ones on attaining the age of 18 years, they said.

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

During the hearing, on the court’s query if the terms OCI and NRI have been defined in the law, the counsel said it was only the Income Tax Act that describes the NRIs.

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

 

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