Shruti Juyal, a Non Resident Indian (NRI), applied for Kasturba Medical College, Manipal under Manipal University, for MBBS course for the academic session 2016-17. She was given admission to the college in the month of May and was told to join classes on October 1, 2016, with confirmation from the college. The orientation classes in the college began on September 15 and Shruti shifted to the college hostel. However, her dream of becoming a doctor were shattered when she received an e- mail from the college authorities, stating that her admission stands cancelled.

The Supreme Court, on April 28, passed an order stating that medical admission in the country will be made only through NEET scores. According to one such NRI medical aspirant from Dubai, who got admission in Kasturba Medical College, he was informed that NRI students will not need NEET scores for admission to the college. The NEET prospectus also states that only Indian and Overseas Citizen of India can register for NEET. Due to the lack of clarity about the admission procedure many parents decided to follow the instructions given by Manipal University for admission under 15% NRI category.

“We have complied with each and every regulation of the university since day one. No one told us that the NEET has to be given until the admission process was over,” said Shruti.  

The Non Resident Indian (NRI) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) students had applied to the Manipal University and their selection was made on the basis of their class 12 marks. The application procedure for the college begun on December and most of the admissions were complete before the month of May, when the Supreme Court judgment came stating NEET to be the common examination for admission in medical/dental courses across the country.

According to an official correspondence from the university dated June 10, disclosed to PaGaLGuY by one NRI student, NEET does not apply to the students under foreign/NRI category and they can start classes from October 1, 2016. The mail clearly mentions the ‘confirmation’ of the candidate for 2016 MBBS batch in the college.

 On August 3, Medical Council of India (MCI) made it necessary for private medical colleges to fill up their 15% NRI quota seats through the merit list compiled on the basis of NEET. Challenging it, Manipal University and other private institutes went to the Karnataka High Court. The High Court on September 15, stated that NEET is mandatory for admission in medical and dental courses even for the NRI quota. This is when the medical aspirants and their parents came to know about the admission requirement, through the official correspondence that they received from Manipal University. The university went to the Supreme Court with the case and on September 28, the apex court dismissed the case leaving the already admitted medical aspirants and their parents in a fix.

“The college assured us that NEET was not needed for students who have completed their 12th standard from outside India. We were given a confirmed admission letter on July 20, after paying the fees in Kasturba College. Now, after two weeks of joining classes (on September 15), my daughter has been told to leave the college,” said Anupama Sharma from Nairobi, Kenya.

Because of the delay in beginning of the MBBS course this year, many of these students will have to lose a year as they will not be able to join any other course. “The Supreme Court should have allowed the medical students to keep their seats, who have already taken admission under the NRI quota, before its ruling this year making NEET mandatory for admission,” said the concerned sister of one NRI medical aspirant.

Tanmoy Sabud, one of the parents based in Lagos, Nigeria said, “The tender hearts of so many young aspirants are bleeding now. Some of them might not even recover from this shock. Not only will they lose a year, they will be shattered for not being able to pursue their dream course even after beginning classes this year.”

“They are all outstanding students but now it’s too late. All opportunities for the year are closed and the students are mentally devastated and will lose a year for no fault of theirs,” concluded Anupama. 

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