SC directs IIT Madras to treat OCI student as Indian student for fee

IANS-

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the IIT Madras to treat a student belonging to the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) category at par with Indian students in connection with the fee, for the current academic year.

A bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari said: “Respondent IIT Madras to treat the petitioner at par with the Indian citizens with regard to the fees charged in terms of our order dated October 27, 2021.. ordered accordingly, subject to the outcome of the SLP.”

The top court order came on a plea by Nidhay Eedala Reddy.

Senior advocate Anitha Shenoy, representing the petitioner, contended before the bench that her client was admitted under the open category, and the institute asked him to pay fees meant for foreign nationals. She added that OCIs, for the past 12 years, have been paying the same fee as Indian students but last year, it was reversed.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, submitted that the fee for non-Indian candidates is Rs 3,18,000 per semester and for the Indian student it is Rs 1,04,000.

In October last year, the top court permitted the petitioner to appear in counseling in the general category to pursue respective courses for the academic year 2021-2022. Citing this order, the top court said with respect to fee charged by the institute, the OCI candidate should be granted parity with the Indian counterparts, at least for this academic year.

Bhati argued that fee is determined by the candidate’s birth category and not their seat category and added that a Scheduled Caste candidate would get the benefit of the subsidized fee even if he or she is allotted/they choose open category seats. She further submitted that fee difference is not so much that the court has to pass an interim order and added OCI candidates are ultimately taking the fee subsidized for the purpose of Indian students.

The Indian students will serve the nation after acquiring these degrees, she added.

As counsel appearing for the IIT submitted that out of 81 students, in the current year, who are foreign nationals, only the petitioner is seeking parity in connection with the fee, the top court clarified that the order is being passed only with respect to the petitioner.