Supreme Court Allows Petition of US National Who Appeared for NEET, Citing OCI Eligibility

Supreme Court Law Insider

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Published on: 03 September 2023 at 17:05 IST

The Supreme Court has granted a writ petition filed by a US National who appeared for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), citing her undeniable eligibility to claim the benefit of being an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card Holder.

The petitioner sought relief under Article 32 of the Constitution as she was aggrieved by the rejection of her candidature for a Post Graduate medical seat.

Her application was rejected after she appeared in the written examination, and the results were declared for NEET (PG) and the INI-CET/2023.

A two-Judge Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Aravind Kumar ruled, “In the present case, although the OCI Card relied upon by the petitioner on 04.08.2022, the fact that she was in fact issued the OCI registration card first, on 02.11.2015. In such circumstances, the petitioner’s eligibility to claim the benefit of OCI card holder in terms of the ruling in Anushka (supra) is undeniable. The rejection of her candidature at this stage, i.e. on 19.06.2023 is not supportable in law.”

The Bench referred to the case of Anushka Rengunthwar & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. (2023)

The petitioner, a US National and OCI card holder, applied for a Post Graduate medical seat through the NEET examination. Initially, she was treated as a foreign national and was allocated a seat in the ‘pediatrics’ discipline at AIIMS. However, she was later informed that she would be considered an ‘Indian National,’ leading her to approach the court.

The Supreme Court noted that the petitioner had been treated as a foreign national and allowed to participate in the NEET mains as an OCI cardholder. She even secured a high rank. However, just before the first round of counseling, her status was changed to that of an Indian national.

The Court directed that the petitioner be considered in the remaining counseling rounds by AIIMS and all participating institutions for PG Medical seats. The consideration would apply to seats that are unfilled on the date of the judgment, whether reserved for SC/ST/OBC or other categories, and those earmarked for Bhutanese candidates, if they can be filled by candidates like her who held OCI cards before 04.03.2021 and met the counseling criteria based on their NEET performance and ranking.

Consequently, the Supreme Court allowed the writ petition.

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