Indian government says Ukraine returnee medical students can’t be accommodated in Indian colleges
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Indian government says Ukraine returnee medical students can’t be accommodated in Indian colleges

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) Thursday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court of India stating that Indian medical students who returned from Ukraine due to the Russia-Ukraine war can’t be accommodated in Indian medical colleges in the absence of any provision in the National Medical Commission Act allowing such accommodation.

MHFW filed its response to a collective petition filed by students (approx. 20,000 students), seeking transfer to medical colleges in India in their respective semesters. In the petitions, the students relied upon the report by the Lok Sabha Committee on External Affairs released in August wherein it was recommended to the MHFW to consider accommodating the students who returned from Ukraine in Indian private medical colleges as a one-time measure.

MHFW contended that these students went to foreign universities owing to the poor meritorious performance in India’s National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and their affordability.

MHFW further stated in its affidavit:

It is humbly submitted that in case these students with (a) Poor Merit are allowed admission in premier medical colleges in India by default, there may be several litigations from those desirous candidates who could not get seats in these colleges and have taken admission in either lesser known colleges or have been deprived of a seat in medical colleges. Further, in case of affordability, if these candidates are allocated Private Medical Colleges in India, they once again may not be able to afford the fees structure of the concerned institution.

Earlier in September, the National Medical Commission (NMC) granted no-objection to academic mobility programs for Indian medical students who are studying in Ukraine provided that other criteria of Screening Test Regulations, 2002, are fulfilled. MHFW argued that NMC’s no-objection notice can’t utilized as “backdoor entry in Indian colleges offering UG Courses.”

The students have contended that the extraordinary situation created by the Russia-Ukraine war has impeded the education of about 14,000 evacuated Indian students, which has come to a complete halt as their careers stand to be irreparably jeopardized and their fundamental rights protected under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India have become illusory. They urged the Supreme Court to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution and to consider the extraordinary situation on account of the ongoing war in Ukraine to protect the interests of the evacuated students and their migration to Indian medical colleges.