The Madras High Court Friday restrained the Medical Council of India and the Centre from issuing eligibility certificate to foreign medical education aspirants if their score was less than 80 per cent in the qualifying Class XII exam. Flagging the low pass percentage in screening tests for foreign medical graduates, the court said minimum qualifying marks should be raised from 50 per cent to at least 80 per cent.
Passing the order on a petition by a foreign medical degree holder, Justice N kirubakaran pointed out that in the past 10 years, only 15-25 per cent of doctors with foreign degrees managed to clear the mandatory screening test, the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination, conducted by the National Board of Examination to practise the profession in India. “This would only make one to understand that the minimum marks of 50 per cent prescribed by MCI has to be revised and higher marks have to be prescribed,” the judge noted. Therefore, for this year, the judge said the minimum marks should be raised from 50 per cent to at least 80 per cent.
When students who secured more than 95 per cent in the qualifying examination were unable to get seats for pursuing medicine in India, the judge wondered how candidates with 50 per cent marks in the qualifying exam could be allowed to get admission in foreign medical colleges. Counsel for MCI submitted that before the introduction of National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET), minimum marks prescribed by it was 50 per cent in physics, chemistry and biology together for getting eligibility certificate. The same position would continue for this academic year too since a one-time exemption has been made for 2018-19 from NEET.
Qualifying in NEET was made mandatory on March 1, 2018 by a notification and the last date for registration was March 9 and the candidates did not have sufficient time to prepare for the examination, the MCI said. Justice Kirubakaran posted the matter after four weeks for passing further orders.