SC Denies Provisional Registration to Foreign Medical Students without Practical Training


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on May 02, 2022 11:07 AM IST

The Supreme Court, on April 29, 2022, said that NMC does not need to grant provisional registrations to students enrolled in foreign medical institutes who have not completed physical training as part of their course.

SC Denies Provisional Registration to Foreign Medical Students without Practical Training

The Supreme Court has declared that the National Medical Commission cannot grant provisional registrations to complete internships to students who have not taken in-person clinical training as a part of their MBBS course abroad.

The bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian observed that without practical training there cannot be any doctor who is expected to take care of the citizens of the country.

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The observation came in response to the medical students who have studied for nine semesters including clinical training in the medical colleges in China. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the clinical training for Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology and Nuclear Medicine in the tenth semester was conducted online and the students have been awarded MBBS degrees after qualifying in all the subjects from the foreign institutes.

The Tamil Nadu Medical Council declined to give provisional registration to some students, which made the latter approach the Madras High Court. As the Madras High Court allowed their writ petition, the National Medical Commission approached the Supreme Court against the verdict of the High Court. The concern was raised by the commission that in clinical training diagnosis and interactions with the patients involve an integral part which is not possible in online mode and no amount of online training can satisfy the requisites of the Screening Regulations.

The Apex Court observed that the framework of MBBS in Foreign Medical Institution Regulation, 2022 was compromising the interest of the Indians and the Indian health infrastructure.

The Act and the Screening Regulations are framed in a way that the course completed by the students gains validity in India provided that the medical qualification is recognized for enrolment of the medical practitioner in that country.  The courses in these foreign institutes are designed to make the students become eligible to practice medicine in India.

The court also noted that the qualifying in the Screening Regulations is not proof of the clinical experience of the students. The Screening examination is based on Optical Mark Reader (OMR) answers and does not have any correlation with practical training.

The Supreme Court has also negated the High Court’s view that two months of clinical training in China is sufficient instead of the usual three months. The Courts do not have the expertise to decide on an academic curriculum or the requirement of the curriculum training which the students may be required to satisfy.

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The Court has directed the National Medical Commission to frame a scheme as a one-time measure within two months to allow the students in similar situations to undergo clinical training in Indian medical colleges which may be identified by the appellant for a limited duration as may be specified the appellant and also it shall be open to the  NMC  to test the candidates in the scheme so framed in the manner within next one month.

Source: Live Law

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