The Madras High Court on Friday prohibited the Centre as well as the Medical Council of India from permitting students who had scored less than 80% marks in core science subjects in their Plus Two examinations from undergoing undergraduate medical courses in foreign institutions.

Justice N. Kirubakaran took serious note of a miniscule percentage of candidates with foreign degrees being able to pass the screening test titled Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted in the country, before allowing them to practice the profession, because of lack of merit.

He pointed out that 1,160 (9.44%) out of 12,283 candidates who took the FMGE, conducted by the National Board of Examinations, had cleared the examinations in 2016. Similarly the pass percentage in 2015 was only 11.33% as just 1,374 managed to clear as against 12,125 students who took up the examinations that year.

Since the MCI issues eligibility certificates to any candidate who has scored 50% marks in core science subjects, such students struggle to complete the medical courses on time, though their economically well-off parents manage to obtain seats in foreign medical colleges, the judge said.

He pointed out that in the present case, the petitioner had taken eight years to complete a medical course of four-year-duration in West Indies.

He had joined the course in 2003, completed it in 2011 and managed to clear the FMGE only in 2016, thereby wasting several years of his prime life.

“Thus, it is the duty of the Government of India as well as the Medical Council of India or any successive body to be established by the Government to prevent the wastage of valuable manpower in the futile exercise, which may not be in the interest of students and his family, as well as the country,” the judge said.

Mr. Justice Kirubakaran went on to state that less meritorious students would not be able to do justice to the medical profession. “Moreover, the money invested by a student to become a graduate in medicine has to be earned by him. With heavy competition, it may not be possible for him/her to get back the money spent for the medical course.”

“Hence, there is a likelihood of malpractice by those candidates in an attempt to get back the money spent. The said situation cannot be ruled out though there may be doctors who are still interested in rendering quality medical services to the poor people in spite of the money spent by them,” the judge said.

The judge made it clear that the minimum requirement of 80% marks in core science subjects in Plus Two should be insisted for foreign admissions, apart from the requirement of clearing NEET.

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