Ukraine returned medical students still hopeful of positive response from Centre after Nov 11 SC hearing

Denied accommodation in Indian medical colleges repeatedly by the Centre, the Ukraine returnees have been distressed for many months
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: PTI)
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: PTI)

The Supreme Court, yesterday, November 11, asked the Centre for details on Indian students from Ukraine medical universities who have opted for the academic mobility programme. Though the students and their lawyers feel that this is a favourable development, a solution for these students is still far from sight.

Denied accommodation in Indian medical colleges repeatedly by the Centre, the Ukraine returnees have been distressed for many months now. Amidst the uncertainty, while some have already returned to the war-torn country to complete their education and some have opted for transfers to other countries, the majority are opting for online classes and pinning their hopes on a suitable solution from the Centre.

"We are still hoping that the Centre comes up with some relaxation soon, if not accommodation. Academic mobility is not an option for us because it has many disadvantages," said Harsh Goel, a student from Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University (IFNMU). He added, "Some solution should be in place, at least for this semester." He further stated that in case of the continued absence of any measures to help them, he would also consider moving to Ukraine in the next semester as most of his friends have already gone. However, Harsh is optimistic that the next hearing will bring some positive results.

What happened at the November 11 hearing?
Senior Advocate Ashwarya Sinha, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, submitted that the Centre has not considered a Lok Sabha Committee recommendation to accommodate the Indian students from Ukraine and that the NMC's (National Medical Commission) offer of the academic mobility programme was "not practical", as informed by a statement given by Advocate Sinha (to whom??).

He also submitted that 12 states are ready to accommodate the students, but the Centre was not allowing it. Following this, the court questioned Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who appeared on behalf of the Centre, as to why the Centre wasn't ready. She apprised the court of the mobility programme. The court, in turn, asked for data on students who've opted for the programme.

"After hearing the parties at length, the Learned Bench was pleased to direct the Union of India to file an affidavit disclosing the number of students who were pursuing their studies in Ukraine and those that have been accommodated by the decision taken by the Center. The matter has now been adjourned to 22.11.2022," Advocate Sinha stated in a document that was shared by the students with EdexLive.

Students' opinion
"Although the judges asked the defendant to file an affidavit at the next hearing regarding mobility, I still think we can dissolve that with the fact that Ukrainian universities are not offering mobility anymore, so it doesn’t matter if the Government of India allows mobility. I highly doubt accommodation but expect some form of relief that will make our degrees valid," stated Archita, one of the petitioners and a student from Amritsar, who studies at the Kharkiv National Medical University in Ukraine.

All in all, the students were happy with the proceeding. "All the previous hearings lasted for not more than 10 minutes. But yesterday, the judges heard the matter with patience and the hearing lasted for about half an hour," Harsh said. It may be noted that the matter was listed before a Bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath. It may also be noted that since September 5, the Centre has been praying for time in the matter, as the SC listings reveal.

Related Stories

No stories found.