In a breather to the aspirants of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) who wish to avail the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) quota in MBBS courses for the upcoming academic year, the Kerala High Court ordered the authorities concerned to keep the online portal open for an additional 10 days [Fathima S v. State of Kerala]
Justice Devan Ramachandran ordered the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations to make the facility available on the website for a period of 10 days, from August 5.
"I order these writ petitions, directing the competent Authorities to keep the Online Portal open for the petitioners and all other candidates, to make options to the NRI Quota, for a period of 10 days from August 5, 2022," the judgment stated.
The Court opined that since students are still allowed to opt for other or additional subjects, allowing candidates to also opt for NRI seats would not delay the selection process, especially in light of the fact that the results of the examination have not yet been published.
"Even the results of the NEET examinations have not yet been published and candidates are even now allowed to opt for other or additional subjects. When these factors not controverted, I fail to understand how the verification process can be delayed merely because candidates are allowed to opt for the NRI seats also,” the Court said in its judgment.
The Court was considering two petitions moved by a several NEET aspirants challenging a decision of Commissioner for Entrance Examinations refusing to grant them another opportunity for modifying their option, for being included in the NRI Quota for admission to the MBBS Course in the academic year 2022-23.
Government Pleader PG Pramod, appearing for the Commissioner of Entrance Exam, contended that candidates who have already submitted applications are still allowed to add required courses as per their eligibility. However, if the candidates are now allowed to opt for the NRI seats also, it would cause unnecessary delay in the verification process, he said.
Senior Counsel Kurian George Kannanthanam, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the justification offered by the Commissioner of Entrance Exam is nothing but an excuse as the results of the NEET examinations have not been published yet and no extra delay could be caused on account of allowing the petitioners to opt for NRI seats for some more time.
The Court concurred with the petitioners and decided to order the authorities keep the portal open for a fixed period of 10 more days from August 5.
However, it clarified that that it has not spoken about the entitlement of the petitioners or any other person to be granted the benefits under the NRI quota, and that the same will be subject to all requisite and mandatory criteria being satisfied by them.