Day 3 Oral Hearings – Admission

Constitutional Rights of Overseas Citizens of India

October 29th 2021

A two-judge bench comprising Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari will continue to hear challenges to Section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (‘the Act’) on October 29th 2021.

The challenges have been filed by Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). They claim that the provisions give the executive unchecked discretion to revoke their citizenship. They also argue that the Union Government is taking away rights previously granted to them.

In the previous hearings, the Bench heard challenges to a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which requires OCIs to take admission in medical colleges only through NRI quota seats. This notification, released in March 2021, was issued under Section 7 of the Act.

In the first hearing, the OCI candidates argued that the decision to limit their admission to NRI seats was arbitrary because they did not have financial parity with NRI candidates. In the second hearing, the Union argued that OCIs were not Indian citizens and should not be able to compete for all seats. The Court decided that the short notice given to OCI candidates was arbitrary and allowed OCIs to compete for General category seats under NEET in 2021-22.

Today, the Court heard another application for interim relief seeking to ensure that OCIs can participate in counselling under the General category for NEET. They sought a stay for this year on the provision of the notification that allows OCIs to only take NRI seats.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union government, stated that this has ‘all-India ramifications’. He requested that the matter should be heard along with the main matter challenging the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Adv. Apoorva Singh Parihar, for the impleading applicant, stated that counselling would begin soon.

Since the matter would require the Court to hear arguments, the Bench said they will hear the matter on Monday, November 8th. Adv. Srishti Agnihotri for the main petitioner stated that they would need more time to file submissions for the main matter. On her request, the Bench agreed to only hear the interim application on Monday.