OCI students are eligible for admission to medical, dental, and engineering courses on par with Indian citizens, Karnataka govt. tells High Court

April 05, 2024 11:54 pm | Updated April 06, 2024 12:51 am IST - Bengaluru

High Court of Karnataka

High Court of Karnataka

The State government has told the High Court of Karnataka that all Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card-holding students are eligible to participate in the counselling for admission to the undergraduate medical, dental, and engineering courses for the academic year 2024-25 under both the government and the private quota seats, on par with Indian citizens.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Anu Sivaraman and Justice Anant Ramanth Hegde recorded this submission of the State government while hearing a petition filed by Abhidyu Gowda Mandya Chandrashekar, an OCI card-holding student, who is studying in Mandya in Karnataka from the past over 10 years.

Notification clause

The petitioner has challenged a clause in the January 9, 2024, notification, issued by the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) for the Common Entrance Test (CET)-2024 for admission to various professional courses, which stated that ‘eligibility for OCI/PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) candidates for government seats shall be as per the directions of the government.

Appearing for the petitioner-student, advocate Ajoy Kumar Patil has contended this clause on eligibility of OCI students is contrary to the law laid down by the High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

It was pointed out in the petition that a Division Bench of the High Court in 2020 had held that OCI students should be treated on par with the Indian citizens as per the then existing notifications issued by the Central Government under the Citizenship Act.

What SC said

Also, it has been stated in the petition that Supreme Court in its 2023 judgement had said that March 4, 2021 notification, issued by the Central government under the Citizenship Act stating that all OCI/PIO students would be eligible for admission to professional courses in India only under NRI category, operates prospectively.

The apex court, the petition has pointed out, had made it clear that the March 4, 2021 notification is not enforceable against OCI cardholders who were born before March 4, 2021, and the new rule restricting OCI cardholders’ admission only under NRI quota would be applicable to those who were born and registered as OCIs on or after March 4, 2021.

On par with Indian citizens

Following these contentions, the government has stated before the Bench that it has no objection to the OCI cardholders being considered for admission to the undergraduate professional courses for the academic year 2024-25 for both government and private seats, on par with Indian citizens.

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