A bench of justices, R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik dismissed the Medical Council of India's (MCI) contention that allowing such students to practice would open the pandora's box for unscruplous medical colleges to operate in India without recognition.
The apex court said if a student has done his entire course from an unrecognized medical college in India, then he or she would not be entitled to practice.
However, if part of the course is done in India and the remaining completed in a recognized foreign college, then MCI cannot deny them recognition.
"The course of study could be in that country or if the norms of the Medical Council of that country so permitted, the course of study could be partly in that country and partly in another country, including India.
"Once that country recognizes a medical qualification granted by the institution in that country for the purpose of enrolment as a medical practitioner in that country and such medical degree holder passes the screening test in India, the Medical Council of India cannot refuse to recognize such a degree on the ground that the student did a part of his study in an institution in India as a part of his medical study programme for the foreign institution," said Justice Raveendran writing the judgement.
The apex court dismissed MCI's appeal challenging the directions of Andhra Pradesh High Court to accord recognition to students who did part of their course in India (for 18 months) from an unrecognized college and completed the remaining (18 months) from International Medical and Technological University in Tanzania.
The Tanzanian university was established by Vignan Education Foundation, an organization based in India.
Interpreting Section 10A of the MCI Act, the apex court said requirements for recognition of a medical qualification granted by an institution outside India are different from those in India.