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Centre to SC: No Existing Provision to Permit Ukraine Returned Medical Students in Indian College

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Ukraine Returned Medical Student Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: 16 September 2022 at 19:51 IST

In a key event, the Central Government informed the Supreme Court that Indian medical students who returned from Ukraine could not be accepted in Indian colleges due to the National Medical Commission Act’s lack of a provision authorising them.

According to the Centre’s counter-affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, allowing such a waiver will lower the quality of medical education in India. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare secretary filed the declaration in response to a number of requests from Indian students who were forced to leave their medical studies in Ukraine midway due to the Russian attack in February–March 2022.

According to the centre, students’ choice to study abroad was motivated by two factors: affordability and low NEET performance. Allowing low-achieving students into India’s top medical schools may result in additional legal disputes. Additionally, they won’t be able to afford Indian institutions’ tuition costs.

“It is humbly submitted that in case these students with (a) poor merit are allowed admission in premier medical colleges in India by default, there may be several litigations from those desirous candidates who could not get seats in these colleges and have taken admission in either lesser known colleges or have been deprived of a seat in medical colleges.”

“Further, in the case of affordability, if these candidates are allocated Private Medical Colleges in India, they once again may not be able to afford the fee structure of the concerned institution”, the affidavit stated.

The Centre added that the National Medical Commission‘s public announcement from September 6 is a no-objection, allowing students who cannot finish their education due to the conflict in Ukraine to transfer to other universities abroad. This public notification, however, is not permitted to be utilised as a “backdoor entry in Indian colleges offering UG Courses.

The centre claimed that, while balancing the need to maintain the required standard of medical education in the nation, it has taken proactive measures to support Ukrainian students who are returning to their home country.

“Any further relaxation in this regard, including the prayer seeking transfer of these returnee students to Medical colleges in India would not only be dehors the provisions of Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 as well as the regulations made thereunder, but would also seriously hamper the standards of medical education in the country.”

The bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia delayed the hearing on Thursday after hearing from the Central Government’s attorney that the Union Ministry had submitted an affidavit.

The petitioners cited a report from the Lok Sabha Committee on External Affairs dated August 3 that suggested the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare consider temporarily housing Ukrainian students who had returned to Indian private medical schools. The petitioners asked the government of India and the National Medical Commission for the required action to be taken about Ukrainian students in light of the aforementioned suggestion.

The bench had inquired about the policy developed by the Indian government during the most recent hearing on the subject in response to prior orders from the Court to create a plan for students who were unable to complete their international medical education due to the pandemic.

The bench was informed that students who had finished their coursework but were unable to perform their internships in other nations, such as China, were now able to do it here. Not all Ukrainian students, nevertheless, are in their final year of study.