Published: 04th October 2021
NEET 2021: SC says OCI students are no longer restricted to NRI seats, but there's a twist
In March this year, the NTA had issued a notification that stated that the OCI candidates will be allowed to participate in the admission process as Non-Resident Indians
The National Testing Agency has been asked by the Supreme Court in an interim order to allow Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) to be considered under the general category for admission into medical colleges during the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
In response to a writ petition by OCI students, Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari said that the students are of Indian origin and should be considered on par with Indian aspirants. In March this year, the NTA had issued a notification that stated that the OCI candidates will be allowed to participate in the admission process as Non-Resident Indians.
The Supreme court questioned if the notification was arbitrary and said, "Our country is known for inclusiveness. You can bring non-citizens and give them citizenship. These are very much Indians. Maybe they must have gone out of the country but Section 9 must have been upheld many times now. But we are on the question of an immediate problem, namely, the notification."
However there's a twist — it was made clear that the order would stand only for the current academic year (2021-2022). Additional Solicitor General ASG Bhati defended the centre's decision, saying that it did not violate any rights of the OCI aspirants and that since they have taken voluntary citizenship of another country, they cannot occupy General Category seats.
The Apex court said that students will need time to make the adjustment suggested in the NTA's notice, but it would be unfair for students from this year to get everything in place all of a sudden. Out of the seats available all over the country, 10 per cent are reserved for NRIs in the admission process for medical college seats in India under NEET. The Supreme Court said that it might not be possible for OCI students to land any of these in competition with the NRIs.
The NTA is supposed to release the UG results, and even sooner, the final key for NEET which was conducted on September 12.