Gauhati HC Directs MoHFW to Issue NORI Certificate to Indian Student Pursuing Post Doctorate in Medicine Abroad
4th August 2021, Gauhati High Court in Rajdeep Das vs. Union of India & Others – WP(C)/2869/2021 – directed the government authorities to issue NORI certificate to the petitioner student pursuing a doctorate in medicine in the United States of America and held that educational authorities must strive to prevent any adverse impact on the continuation of any course undertaken by students.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua held:
“There is a concern on the part of the petitioner for producing the NORI certificate before the authorities in United States of America and if it is not produced within a very short time, it may have adverse impact on his further continuation of his post-doctoral course he is presently undertaking in that country. From the said point of view, we require the authorities in the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Govt. of India to give a consideration to any such application that may be submitted by the petitioner within a period of seven days from it being received by the respondent authorities and pass the reasoned order thereon in terms of Clause(C) of the guidelines laid down in the office memorandum dated 03.08.2021.”
The petitioner, a medical student having completed his graduation from Kathmandu Medical College, postgraduate medical education from Gulf Medical University and currently pursuing post-doctoral study from the University of California, as per the mandatory requirement of producing a certificate of No Obligation to Return to India (NORI) under the immigration laws of the United States of America applied to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, for the NORI Certificate. However, his application was rejected by the authorities citing the Medical Council of India (MCI) Guidelines wherein a person is not permitted to practice in India if he/she has qualified for the medical profession through a Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE). Aggrieved, the present petition was filed.
The respondents submitted that as the petitioner had his medical education from the institutes outside the country and as per the law prevalent in India that does not permit FMGE passed candidates to practice in India by not issuing the NORI certificate, the petitioner can be prevented from pursuing his medical profession in the country. However, the petitioner submitted that he had no intentions of undertaking medical practice in India and needed the NORI certificate to fulfill the immigration requirement under US laws to complete his medical education in the country. He also submitted an affidavit to the effect.
Subsequently, both parties mutually agreed on the point that the claim of the petitioner for a NORI certificate would be covered by Clause (iii) of Guidelines for Issuing the NORI Certificate that provides for the eligibility for NORI issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Govt. of India on 03.08.2021.
Clause III provides that, NORI may be issued to the person satisfying the following three (3) conditions:
(a) if SON has not been issued previously.
(b) if the applicant is a Foreign Medical graduate and has not qualified eligibility test as per IMC/NMC ACT.
(c) if the applicant does not have MCI/NMC/State Medical Council registration.”
Following this, the court, noting the urgency of the issuance of the certificate, directed the authorities to:
“As the petitioner is presently pursuing his post-doctoral course in the United States of America and in the present it will be difficult for him to physically come over for submitting such application, the petitioner is permitted to submit his application through e-mail process in the appropriate address of the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Govt. of India. Any such certificate if issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Govt. of India be also transmitted and forwarded to the petitioner through e-mail in his e-mail address and also to any other authority as may be required under the law.”
Consequently, the Court disposed of the petition by directing the respondents to consider the application of the petitioner and to issue him the required NORI certificate.
Kumar Sonal | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL