Supreme Court to hear PIL seeking to accommodate medical students returning from Ukraine in Indian medical Colleges on November 29

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The Central Government had recently informed the Top Court that in so far as such students are concerned, there are no 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 Supreme Court has decided to hear the plea seeking to accommodate the medical students returning from Ukraine and permit them to complete their education in Indian medical colleges on November 29th.

When the matter was taken up today, ASG Aishwarya Bhati informed the Court that the Central government had filed its reply in the instant plea.

To this, Advocate Maneka Guruswamy Appearing for the petitioners told the bench that they had not received a copy of the reply.

"It's okay, what's the hurry? You will be served", said the bench in reply.

Furthermore, "I will serve a copy by today", added ASG Bhati.

Accordingly, a bench of Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath decided to take up the matter on November 29, 2022.

In September, when the matter was taken up, the Top Court had suggested that Central Government may assist the medical students, who returned to the country from Ukraine in view of the war with Russia, by creating a web portal giving details of foreign universities, where they could complete their courses as per the government’s Academic Mobility Programme.

This suggestion came in response to the Centre's affidavit in the matter stating that the petitioner students could not be accommodated in medical colleges in India for lack of provisions under the law.

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, the Court was further told.

However, the affidavit stated that with a view to aid and assist such returnee students who could not complete their MBBS courses in Ukraine, NMC in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had issued a Public Notice dated September 6, 2022 (Academic Mobility Programme), indicating that NMC would accept completion of their remaining courses in other countries (with the approval of parent university/institution in Ukraine).

The returnee students' plea stated that as there is no hope of normalcy in the near future in Ukraine and back here in our country there is no emergency policy of the appropriate authorities and appropriate governments in accommodating the returning Indian medical students, a stop-gap arrangement may be made in various Central/ State/ Private medical colleges in India so that the returnees can complete their medical education without losing an academic year.

In addition to this, the plea sought directions to the Central Government to coordinate with the Ukraine government and appropriate authorities in Ukraine and declare some central and/or state government/private medical colleges/some seats in the said colleges as overseas campuses of Ukrainian institutes for the purpose of continuation of studies as a one-time emergency measure till normalcy prevails in Ukraine and students may be taken back there for studies.

Case Title: Parthvi Ahuja & Prapti Singh vs. Union of India & Ors.