Good news for students with OCI cards or Overseas Citizens of India cards. The Karnataka High Court has ruled that students with OCI cards must be treated as citizens of India when they apply for professional courses in colleges.
They are now eligible for the state quota as well as the quota reserved for Non Resident Indians (NRI) students.
Can Students With OCI Card And CET
The ruling, benched by Justices B.V. Nagarathna and N.S. Sanjay Gowda, has commanded the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) to allow the student petitioners to register for Common Entrance Tests in 2020 and all subsequent years.
Students with OCI cards can also apply for admission in government and private colleges based on their ranking in the CET exam. OCI students are also entitled to take up counselling sessions for CET exams from 2020 onwards.
Until the judgment was passed, students with OCI cards were not permitted by KEA to take up online counselling sessions for MBBS, BDS, Engineering and other courses as they weren’t considered eligible to do so.
Students With OCI Card – The Petition And The Verdict
The Section 2(1)(n) of the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions Act (Regulation of Admission & Determination of Fee) of 2006, (amended in 2017), had included OCI cardholders under the definition of NRIs, which bars them from the same rights as other Indian students.
Moreover, a rule mentioned in the Karnataka selection of candidates rule book states that candidates other than Indian citizens are not eligible for admission to government seats.
There were two sets of petitions filed by OCI students against the State government demanding for their inclusion as other Indian students. All the writ petitioners were born overseas, have foreign passports, and were pursuing their education in Karnataka for the past 10 years.
Since all the petitioners were minors when they had filed the petitions, they are eligible for dual citizenship in this case, as per the high court ruling. The bench mentioned that the decision must adhere to the Citizenship Act of 1955. Section 4(1A) of the Citizenship Act and protect the interests of minors until the age of majority.
As a closing statement, the two-man bench highlighted the traditional concept called Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which translates to ‘the world is a family’. They opined that the minor children of Indian citizens born abroad deserve the same rights and statuses as minor Indian citizens.
Both the writ petitions by OCI cardholders and the writ appeal by the Karnataka state against the judgment were heard by the division bench and disposed of.
The ruling has directed the state government and KEA to bring all the necessary changes with immediate effect as CET- will take place in a couple of months.