20/06/2016 7:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Indian Doctor Working On Blood Cancer Cure In US Denied Permission By Government To Go Back

Shutterstock/Rob Bouwman

An Indian doctor working on finding a cure for blood cancer in the US was forced to return to India after the Indian government refused to issue a No-Obligation to Return to India (NORI) certificate to him, following a change in guidelines.

According to The Times of India, Dr Sunil Noothi, who has been working as a biomedical researcher with the University of Kentucky since August 2013, has moved the Bombay High Court challenging the Health ministry's decision.

Dr Noothi's petition which says that the government's decision "lacks any application of mind" explains that since he has been working "under a confidentiality and intellectual property protection agreement and cannot undertake the same research elsewhere", he is now effectively rendered "unemployed in India".

He told TOI that he had already received the go-ahead by the Karnataka government as well as the Mumbai Regional Passport Office to return to the US. However, the Union Human Resources and Health ministries refused to pay heed to his plea, as did the Prime Minister’s Office.

Reportedly, the Health ministry did not given Dr Noothi a NORI certificate because he was a doctor and they wanted to tackle the "the severe shortage of public health professionals in India."

Dr Noothi does not practice medicine, despite holding an MBBS degree. After getting a PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and working as an analyst, Dr Noothi went to the US on a J1 visa in 2011. Since 2013, he has been in Kentucky as a post-doctoral research scholar.

He said that the American government had already funded to the tune of $1.5 million, the project to find a cure for blood cancer that he is working on.

In his petition to the High Court, Dr Noothi has posed the question: "If motivated people are not encouraged, when will Indians receive a Nobel prize in medicine."

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