The injunction was made because of the suddenness of the notification, and the court would not have intervened if it had been issued sooner.
On Monday, the Supreme Court authorised all qualified Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) candidates to take part in the NEET counselling for undergraduate and postgraduate medical programmes for the academic year 2021-22 in the general category.
The applicants before the court, as well as “other similarly placed candidates,” are given relief for the academic year 2021-22, according to an order signed by Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari.
On September 29, the bench issued an interim ruling enabling a small number of OCI petitioners to participate in NEET-UG counselling in the general category. The judgement came in response to a writ case filed by OCI candidates challenging the Ministry of Home Affairs’ decision to treat them on a same footing with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) for college admissions.
That injunction, however, only applied to the petitioners in that instance. A few more OCI applicants later submitted a similar case, requesting the same relief.
The bench dismissed the case today, ruling that all similarly situated people will be entitled to remedy.
“The applicants and any other eligible candidates in a similar situation are entitled to appear in the General Counseling on the same basis as Indian Citizens to study MBBS/BDS and other undergraduate/postgraduate programmes in approved/recognized Medical/Dental & other Colleges.”
The bench stated in the decision that “the foregoing interim relief is confined to the academic year 2021-2022 only.”
The National Testing Agency and the counselling authorities, the court told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, are obligated to carry out the order. The bench cited Article 144 of the Constitution, which states that all civil and judicial authorities must act in support of the Supreme Court and carry out its orders.
ASG Bhati stated that the Centre was bound by the Court’s ruling and sought that the matter be scheduled for hearing as soon as possible.
Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General, appeared at this moment. He asked the court to limit the remedies to only those petitioners who have come forward. “We’d be inundated with applications,” he predicted. He went on to say that OCIs cannot be compared to general categories because they have a separate standing. The SG further requested that the case be heard as soon as possible.
The bench clarified that the relief is just for the academic year 2021-22. The injunction was made because of the suddenness of the notification, and the court would not have intervened if the notification had been issued sooner.
“We’d like to clarify something, Mr. SG. We’ve made it clear that it’s only for the 2021-22 academic year. We took a long look at the situation before issuing the interim order. Because of the suddenness of the notification, we’ve done this. We would not have passed such a judgement if you had sent the notification 8/9 months sooner “While granting relief to all applicants in a similar situation, the bench made the following observation.
The matter was then scheduled for hearing in the second week of January by the bench.
In today’s session, lawyers Kunal Cheema, Apporva Singh, and Srishti Agnihotri represented the applicants.
On October 29, the Supreme Court granted interim relief to a NEET PG aspirant, allowing him to participate in NEET PG Counseling and admission for the years 2021-2022 in the General Category, on par with Indian citizens.
Anushka Rengunthwar and others v. Union of India and others (WP© No.891/2021); Dr. Radhika Thapetta and others v. Union of India and others (WP© No.1397/2020); Dr. Radhika Thapetta and others v. Union of India and others (WP© No.1397/2020); Dr. Radhika Thapetta and others v. Union of India and others