SC allows OCI candidates to appear in NEET counselling for UG, PG

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed all eligible Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) candidates to participate in general category NEET counselling for medical courses, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

A bench of Justices S.A. Nazeer and Krishna Murari, in its order, said: “The applicants and all other eligible candidates who are similarly situated are permitted to appear in the counselling in the general on par with Indian Citizens to pursue MBBS/BDS courses and other undergraduate/postgraduate courses in approved/recognised Medical/Dental & other Colleges/Institutes.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the bench to limit the relief only to the petitioners who had moved the top court. The bench made it clear that the interim relief is only limited to the academic year 2021-2022, and posted the matter for further hearing in the second week of January next year.

The bench told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati that the National Testing Agency and the authorities associated with counselling are required to implement its order.

Emphasiing that the relief is only for the academic year 2021-22 only, it said: “We heard the matter in length while we passed the interim order. We’ve done this because of the suddenness of the notification.”

The top court told the Centre’s counsel if the notification were to be issued 8 or 9 months ago, then it would not have passed the order.

The OCI candidates had moved the top court challenging a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to treat them at par with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) for admission in NEET.

On October 29, in an interim relief, the Supreme Court had allowed an OCI NEET PG aspirant to appear in the counselling in the general category at par with Indian citizens for counselling and admission for 2021-2022.

In September, the top court had passed an interim order allowing OCI candidates to participate in the NEET-UG counselling in the general category for the academic year 2021-2022 and issued notice on the plea.