Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the undergraduate (UG) medical students of India who fled to Ukraine due to the war will not be accommodated in the country’s medical colleges, as allowing such transfers would hamper the standards of medical education in the country.
In its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Union Ministry of Health pointed out it had already introduced some “proactive measures to assist the returnee students”. Any further relaxation, the ministry said, including transfer to medical colleges in India, would be “dehors (outside the scope) of the provisions of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the National Medical Commission Act, 2019”.
It said while the NMC had so far “not allowed to transfer or accommodate any foreign medical student in any Indian medical institute/ university”, the regulatory body had allowed medical graduates with incomplete internship, due to their leaving their colleges or universities abroad in view of the war or the Covid pandemic, to complete the remaining part of the internship in India.
The ministry said the current petitioners, however, appeared to be undergraduate students in the 1st to 4th year of studies in foreign medical colleges, seeking transfer to Indian medical colleges in their respective semesters. “There are no such provisions”, the affidavit stated, “either under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or under the National Medical Council Act, 2019, as well as regulations to accommodate or transfer medical students from any foreign medical institutes/ colleges to Indian medical colleges.”
The ministry said that most of the petitioner students had to study in foreign countries because they had “poor” scores in the NEET exam, and due to the affordability of medical education in such countries.
If they are now allowed admission in premier medical colleges in India, the ministry added, 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 allowed private medical colleges in India, they once again may not be able to afford the fees structure of the concerned institution,” the affidavit stated.