Madras HC asks NMC to permit MBBS student to sit for screening test

The court directed the secretary of NMC to issue the eligibility certificate, hall ticket, and allow Manikandan to participate in the screening test
The petitioner, N Manikandan, joined a MBBS course at college in Ukraine on October 18, 2017
The petitioner, N Manikandan, joined a MBBS course at college in Ukraine on October 18, 2017(Pic: EdexLive Desk)

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court recently directed the National Medical Commission (NMC) to allow a MBBS student to appear for a screening test.

The court was disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by a MBBS graduate, whose request for a screening test was rejected by the NMC in 2023, stated a report by The New Indian Express.

The petitioner, N Manikandan, joined a MBBS course at college in Ukraine on October 18, 2017. At the time, he was 11 days away from turning 18.

Upon his return after completing three course, Manikandan applied for a screening test conducted by NMC, but his request was rejected in October 2023, on the grounds that he had not attained the minimum age of 18 when he joined the course.

Citing a ruling of a Division Bench of Rajasthan High Court in a similar case, Justice GR Swaminathan said the refusal of an eligibility certificate for a medical course because the candidate was not 18 years old may not be justified.

"This case is different as Manikandan has completed his medical course. He is not seeking admission now, but wants to write the screening test," the court observed.

When the counsel of NMC pointed out that Manikandan had joined the overseas college without writing the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), the court stated that the requirement to qualify NEET for admission to colleges in foreign countries became mandatory only from the 2019-20 academic year.

The court said that if Manikandan were to study MBBS in India, then he would have had to write NEET and would have met the age criteria.

"But during the relevant time, he was not required to write NEET. He has completed his six-year course, and if he is denied relief at this point, it will ruin him," said the court, and directed the secretary of NMC to issue the eligibility certificate, hall ticket, and allow Manikandan to participate in the screening test.

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