Published: 23rd September 2022
Centre to SC: Working on the court's suggestions to assist Ukraine-returned medical students
On September 16, the SC suggested that the Centre provide help to these medical students by creating a web portal, giving details of the foreign universities
On September 23, the Centre told the Supreme Court that they are working on the suggestions given by the court to assist medical students who have returned to India from Ukraine in view of the war with Russia, as stated in a report by PTI. On September 16, the Apex Court suggested that the Centre provide help to these medical students by creating a web portal, giving details of the foreign universities, where they could complete their courses as per the government's academic mobility programme.
On September 23, the counsel appearing for the Centre told the SC that they have written to the secretaries of the Ministry of External Affairs as well as Health on the issue. In this regard, the counsel told a Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia, that, "In terms of the last order, we have written to the secretaries of MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) as well as Health. Our instruction is that they are on it."
As per the last hearing, the court indicated the website where information can be provided. Referring to this, the counsel said, "We are on it. It is taken up with utmost priority." Further, the next hearing is posted to October 11 by the court. When one of the advocates said that final-year medical students can be permitted to take online education, the Bench observed, "We are not saying anything. We will pass a comprehensive order."
Earlier on September 16, the Apex Court said there should be a transparent system and the web portal should specify complete details of the fees and the number of seats available in alternative foreign universities from where these students could complete their courses. In this regard, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had sought time to get instruction from the government on the suggestions of the Bench.
The Apex Court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by undergraduate medical students, who are of first to fourth-year batches in their respective foreign medical colleges/universities. These students are primarily seeking transfer to medical colleges in India in their respective semesters. Last week, the Centre in its affidavit said that students cannot be accommodated in medical colleges here due to a lack of provisions under the law and, till now, no permission has been given by the National Medical Commission (NMC) to transfer or accommodate any foreign medical students in any Indian medical institute/university.
However, the Centre said that in order to assist Ukraine-returned medical graduates, the NMC in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs has issued a public notice dated September 6, 2022 (academic mobility programme), indicating that the NMC would accept completion of their remaining courses in other countries (with the approval of parent university/Institution in Ukraine). Also, after completion of the remaining courses, the course completion/degree certificate is expected to be issued by the parent institutions in Ukraine, the government said, as stated in a report by PTI.
Further, the government added that the phrase "global mobility" cannot be interpreted to mean accommodation of these students in Indian colleges/universities, as the extant regulations in India do not permit the migration of students from foreign universities to India. Additionally, it added saying, "It is humbly submitted that in so far as such students are concerned, there are no such provisions either under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 as well as the Regulations to accommodate or transfer medical students from any foreign medical institutes/colleges to Indian medical colleges."
The students have relied upon the report of the Lok Sabha committee on external affairs dated August 3, by which it had recommended to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to accommodate these students in Indian colleges/universities as a one-time measure.