The Bombay High Court on Tuesday, in an interim order, permitted Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) students to appear for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) counselling under the general category and not the one reserved for NRIs or foreign nationals.
The bench comprising Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Madhav Jamdar was hearing the plea filed by the female student challenging a part of the notification issued on March 4 this year by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), reported PTI.
The student has been seeking admissions to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
As per the MHA notification, OCI cardholders can claim only NRI quota seats in educational institutions based on all-India entrance tests such as National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and JEE, among others.
However, senior counsel Vineet Naik, who appeared for the petitioner, questioned the legal validity of the provision.
He argued that though the petitioner student held an OCI card, she was not an NRI and had completed her Classes, X and XII, from India.
The advocate argued that students such as the petitioner should be treated as general category candidates rather than foreign national candidates.
Suppose they are considered general category candidates. In that case, they will be entitled to consideration of a larger pool of seats and courses – approximately 16,000 – as opposed to 1,600 supernumerary seats created for foreign nationals, he told the court.
He cited a recent interim order of the Supreme Court whereby it had permitted an OCI cardholder student to appear for NEET counselling under the general category.
The HC noted that a bench of the Madras High Court, too, had passed a similar order recently.