Centre’s Response Sought On Plea By Indian Students Enrolled In China

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the Centre and the National Medical Commission’s response on a petition to allow over 140 medical students studying in China to undertake practical training in India as they have not been able to return to their university due to travel restrictions.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Ministry of Law & Justice, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Health as well as the Commission on the petition which also seeks recognition of their online classes while asking the respondents authorities to look into the issue as the petitioners are “students not terrorists.”

The 147 petitioners who are students of medicine in the Ningbo University in China informed the court that they had returned to India in early 2020 but have not been able to go back since then as China is not issuing student visas.

They asserted that while China has no plan of taking Indian students back at least till September, the Indian authorities have notified certain regulations mandating Indian students studying in foreign universities to undertake the entire course, training and internship/clerkship from their own foreign medical institution.

Their plea states that in terms of the regulations issued in November last year, no part of their medical training and internship is permitted to be done in India or from any country other than the country from where the primary medical qualification is obtained.

The petitioners have contended that on account of these conditions which have been imposed during an unprecedented pandemic, their future is at stake as they are “neither being allowed to attain physical training/ internships/clerkships in India by the NMC nor any clarifications is being provided by the authorities regarding the approval to the online theory classes attended by them”.

“In the present extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic and China, unfortunately, being the epicentre of the pandemic, thus having strict travel restrictions, the Petitioners herein who are Indian students studying medicine in China having been stuck in India are not left in the position of doing internship/ training/clerkship in China. The Petitioners will be put to irreparable hardships if the above conditions in the Regulations are implemented in case of the students who are studying outside India,” the plea said.

The students have asserted that there is no reason to not allow them to pursue physical training/ internship/clerkship in India when they can become an asset to the country during the medical emergency.

The matter would be heard next on March 21.

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