Published: 11th November 2022
Provide details of Ukraine-returned medical students who availed academic mobility: SC to Centre
The Centre said it cannot accommodate the medical students studying in universities of Ukraine, who have returned to the country due to the ongoing-war there
On Friday, November 11, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to provide details of those Ukraine-returned medical students who availed its academic mobility programme under which, they could complete their courses in universities or colleges of other countries. Earlier, the Centre said it can not accommodate them in Indian medical institutes or universities as it "would disrupt the entire medical education system" here. These students had returned back to India due to the Russian-Ukraine war over there.
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 how the scheme was progressing, as stated in a report by PTI. Bhati said the Centre earlier filed its affidavit and had said that 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 programme was launched, under which, the NMC would accept completion of their remaining courses in other countries (with the approval of parent university/institution in Ukraine).
This was said by the apex court when it was hearing a batch of petitions filed by undergraduate (UG) medical students of first to fourth-year batches in their own respective medical colleges/universities. With the war situation in Ukraine, these students are asking for a transfer to Indian medical colleges in their respective semesters.
Appearing for a few of the students, Senior Advocate Ajit Sinha said that they are suffering for no fault of theirs and several states have said they are ready to accept these students. Responding to this, the bench said all these issues are in the expert domain and it cannot do anything as medical education is regulated by the NMC and the Centre has to take a call on accommodating them.
Similarly, another Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy, appearing for a group of medical students, said it is a humanitarian issue and due to the lack of help from the government, many medical students have to return to war-torn Ukraine. Additionally, the government cannot shy away from these students and has to come forward with help, said Senior advocate R Basant. As many as 12 states are ready to accept these students and help them in completing their course and the Centre has only to give its permission, he added.
On contrary, saying that thousands of Indian students are pursuing medical education after clearing the NEET exam, Bhati said allowing these Ukraine-returned students would disrupt the entire medical education system in the country. Any relaxation will be prejudicial to the students who are studying in colleges after qualifying for the NEET examination and pointed out that aggrieved students have gone to Ukraine by choice, she added.
Further, the bench asked Bhati to look for providing them assistance in South Asian countries. Also, it was on September 23, the Centre informed the apex court that it is working on the suggestions given by the court to assist medical students who have returned to India from Ukraine.