Medical students who returned from Ukraine after Russia invaded the country, cannot be accommodated in Indian universities, the Centre has told the Supreme Court, reported Live Law on Thursday.

There is no provision in the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, that could allow enlisting the students, the Centre has said in an affidavit.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath was hearing a batch of seven pleas filed by Indian medical students who had fled Ukraine in February-March.

The petitioners are seeking relief based on a report submitted by Lok Sabha Committee on External Affairs on August 3. The report stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recommended that Ukraine-returned medical students should be allowed to enroll in Indian private institutions as a one-time measure.

“Approximately 20,000 Indian students study in various universities in Ukraine, out of which 18,000 are medical students,” the report stated.

However, in the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Union government has said that allowing the students to enroll in Indian colleges would hamper the standards of medical education in the country. The government said that the students went to foreign countries due to poor score in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET, and high fee in Indian medical colleges.

The Centre said that allowing students with poor merit in premier medical colleges in India could lead to other litigations. Also, they would not be able to afford the fee structure in Indian colleges, it added.

The affidavit said that that the government has taken pro-active measures to help the students who returned from Ukraine but at the same also balanced the need to maintain the standard of medical education in the country.

The court will next hear the matter on Friday.