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NMC’s foreign medical graduate regulations upheld by the Supreme Court.

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Published By:
Peeyush Ghalot
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The Supreme Court noted that "overbearing parents" and "exploitative founders of infrastructure-deficient colleges" have contributed to the decline and commercialisation of medical education, and upheld the National Medical Commission's regulations requiring foreign medical graduates to meet certain requirements before practising in India. The first requires foreign medical graduates (FMGs) to complete a minimum 54-month medical course, a 12-month internship in the same foreign medical institution, registration with a professional regulatory body competent to grant licence in the same foreign country, and a 12-month supervised internship in India after applying to the National Medical Commission. The second sets forth stringent requirements for FMG internships in India.

Both sets of regulations were challenged in Supreme Court appeals as infringing on the public's right to health and students' freedom to practise their profession. The appellants stated that the laws imposed an onerous and unreasonable burden on students wishing to continue medical education in another country. Students should not apply to international universities that do not require them to do an internship as part of their core medical education. The feverish hurry to become competent medical practitioners, Justice Ramasubramanian reasoned, "cannot lead them to countries where shortcuts to success are offered”. The court stated that these two NMC regulations "merely specify the minimal conditions to be met by people who study in those [foreign] schools but want to practise here in India," rejecting the claim that the laws infringe on other countries' sovereignty. Thus, the claim that the country requires more doctors and that restricting the registration of foreign medical graduates infringes on professionals' fundamental rights under Article 19(1) and citizens' basic rights under Article 21 must be expressed only to be denied." The appeals were dismissed by Justice Ramasubramanian.

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