Indian medical students who fled Ukraine due to war cannot be accommodated in the country’s medical colleges, the Center told the Supreme Court on Thursday.
In its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Union Health Ministry noted that it had already introduced some “proactive measures to help the returned students”.
Any further relaxation, the ministry said, including transfer to medical colleges in India, would be “beyond (the scope of) the provisions of the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 and the the National Medical Commission of 2019”.
Allowing such transfers would also seriously hamper the standards of medical education in India, he added.
The high court is due to hear a plea from the students on Friday.
In the affidavit, the health ministry said it had looked into the issue elaborately in consultation with the National Medical Commission (NMC), the country’s apex medical education regulatory body.
He said while the NMC had so far “not allowed any foreign medical student to be transferred or accommodated in any Indian medical college or university”, the regulatory body had allowed medical graduates with incomplete internships, due to their leaving their colleges or universities abroad. of war or the Covid pandemic, to complete the remaining part of the internship in India.
He said the NMC had also devised, following the SC’s directions in July this year, a scheme for returnees who had been in the final year of their undergraduate courses abroad and completed their studies in India and who were subsequently awarded course completion certificates on or before June. 30, 2022. The scheme allowed these students to take the foreign medical postgraduate examination in India, the ministry said.
The ministry said the current applicants, however, appeared to be first- to fourth-year undergraduate students studying in foreign medical colleges, mainly seeking to transfer to Indian medical colleges in their respective semesters.
“There are no such provisions,” the affidavit said, “either under the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 or under the National Medical Council Act, 2019, as well as regulations for hosting or transferring students of Medicine from any foreign medical institute or college to Indian medical colleges”.
The ministry said that to help these returning students, the NMC, in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs, had issued a public notice on September 6 “indicating that NMC would accept the completion of the remaining course in other foreign countries (with the approval of university/mother institution in Ukraine).
However, it added that the public notice “cannot be construed as accommodation of students in Indian colleges/universities as the existing regulations in India do not allow migration of students from foreign universities to India’ and that it ‘cannot be used as a backdoor’. admission to Indian colleges/universities offering degree courses”.
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The ministry said most of the petitioning students had chosen to study in foreign countries because they scored “poor” in the NEET exam and because medical education was affordable in those countries.
If they are now allowed admission to India’s premier medical colleges, the ministry added, there may be defaults in several litigations from those aspiring candidates who could not get seats in these colleges and have accepted admission to lesser-known colleges or have been deprived. of a seat in medical schools.
“Furthermore, in case of affordability, if these candidates get permission for private medical colleges in India, they may once again not be able to afford the fee structure of the concerned institution,” he adds the affidavit.