SC seeks details on medical students returned to Ukraine who took advantage of the academic mobility program

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Center to provide information about those Ukrainian medical students who availed its academic mobility program under which they could complete their courses in universities or colleges in other countries.

The Center said it cannot host medical students studying in Ukrainian universities, who have returned to the country due to the war there, in Indian medical institutes or universities as it would “disrupt the entire system of medical education” here.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, to file an affidavit specifying the details of the number of medical students who have been accommodated in third countries and as the plan progressed.

Bhati said the Center had earlier filed its affidavit and said with the assistance of the Ministry of External Affairs, the National Medical Council (NMC) issued a notice dated September 6 under which an academic mobility program was launched under which the NMC would accept completion. of their remaining courses in other countries (with the approval of the university or parent institution in Ukraine).

The top court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by first-year to fourth-year medical undergraduates in their respective foreign medical colleges or universities.

These students mainly seek transfer to medical colleges in India in their respective semesters.

Senior advocate Ajit Sinha, appearing for some of the students, said they are suffering through no fault of theirs and several states have said they are ready to accept these students.

The bench said that all these matters are in the domain of experts and it cannot do anything as medical education is regulated by the NMC and the Center has to take a call to accommodate them.

Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy, who is also appearing for a group of medical students, said this is a humanitarian issue and due to lack of government help many medical students have to go back to Ukraine ravaged by war.

Senior advocate R Basant said the government cannot run away from these students and must come forward with help.

He said that 12 states are willing to accept such students and help them complete their course and the Center only needs to give its permission.

Bhati said that in India, thousands of students who are studying medical education have gone to these universities after passing the NEET exam and allowing these students returned to Ukraine to disrupt the entire medical education system of the country.

He said any relaxation will be detrimental to students studying in universities after qualifying the NEET exam, noting that the aggrieved students have gone to Ukraine by choice.

The bank asked Bhati to look into providing them with assistance in South Asian countries.

On September 23, the Center had told the top court that it was working on the suggestions given by the court to help medical students who have returned to India from Ukraine.

On September 16, the apex court had suggested that the Center assist these medical students by setting up a web portal with details of foreign universities, where they could complete their studies under the government’s academic mobility scheme.

The counsel for the Center had told the high court that they have written to the secretaries of the external affairs and health ministries on the issue.

On September 16, the apex court said that there should be a transparent system and the web portal should specify the complete details of fees and number of seats available in alternative foreign universities from where these students could pursue their studies.

The Centre, in its affidavit filed in the matter, had said that they (students) cannot be accommodated in medical colleges here due to lack of legal provisions and so far, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has not given no permission to move. or host foreign medical students in any Indian medical institute or college.

However, he had said that to help and assist these returnee students who could not complete their MBBS courses in Ukraine, NMC in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs has issued a public notice dated September 6, 2022 (Schedule of academic mobility), indicating that NMC would accept the completion of your remaining courses in other countries (with the approval of the parent university or institution in Ukraine).

The government had said that after the completion of their remaining courses, it is expected that the certificate of course completion/degree will be issued by the parent institutions in Ukraine.

He added that in the September 6 public notice, the phrase “global mobility” cannot be interpreted as accommodation of such students in Indian colleges/universities, as the existing regulations in India do not allow migration of students from foreign universities to India. .

The government had further said, “It is humbly submitted that in respect of these students, there are no such provisions either in the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 or the Medical Commission Act 2019, nor in the regulations to accommodate. or transfer medical students from any foreign medical institute or college to Indian medical colleges.”

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