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SC permits OCI students to apply for state and All India exams against NRI seats


NEW DELHI: In an interim relief, the Supreme Court on Saturday permitted students to apply for State and All India Examinations and counselling, particularly those conducted by the State of Kerala against the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) seat, by producing proof of their Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) status and domicile in India without being required to upload documents establishing NRI status.

The interim order is subject to the outcome of the main petition challenging the government notification of 2021 which contends that the parity granted to OCIs with Indian citizens is completely reversed by the notification.

“OCIs were, without warning, lumped into the same category as NRIs for the purposes of admissions, a field in which the two categories were treated as separate and distinct for well over a decade,” the main petition said.

The petitioners represented by advocate Srishti Agnihotri had said that the KEAM (Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical) portal of the Kerala counselling authority requires those aspiring for NRI seats to produce proof of sponsorship etc.

It was contended by the petitioners that the OCIs cannot apply for the general seats due to the government notification of 2021 that puts them on par with NRIs, and they can't apply for NRI seats either in the KEAM portal as it asks for details of an NRI sponsor which resident Indian OCIs do not have thus rendering them unable to fill the application forms.

“The petitioners are OCIs among whom mostly have completed their schooling in India. They do not have NRI sponsorship documents as they are not NRIs. Their parents are also not NRIs and do not possess documents by which they can sponsor the petitioners. They form a wholly different class from NRIs as many of the petitioners’ parents are Indian citizens and they all reside and work in India, earn in Indian currency and have been taxpayers in India for the last several years,” the plea reads.