Supreme Court overturns MCI’s decisions, allows five medical colleges to operate this year

Supreme Court overturns MCI’s decisions, allows five medical colleges to operate this year

By Aditya AK and Murali Krishnan

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has, in a span of three days, delivered seven separate judgments granting permission to five medical colleges to admit students for the current academic year. Two other colleges have been given the green signal for the academic year 2016/17, and pending inspection, they will be allowed permission to operate for the next two academic years.

What is interesting to note is the common thread running through all seven cases; all seven colleges had been rejected letters of permission to set up shop, on the recommendation of the Medical Council of India (MCI), which even decided to debar a couple of colleges. The Oversight Committee – set up by the Supreme Court in the NEET matter – intervened in all cases, and suggested grant of permission. The MCI, however, stuck to its decision leading to the petitions before the Supreme Court by medical colleges.

All seven judgments were delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar.

Below are the details of the seven judgments:

August 30

Dr. Jagat Narain Subharti Charitable Trust and Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. [WP (C) 513 of 2017]

Facts

The petitioner wanted to establish a medical college at Dehradun from the academic session 2016-17 onwards. An application for the same was forwarded by Union Health Ministry to MCI. Discrepancies as to ownership and title of land, among other things were found, so MCI recommended against grant of letter of permission to the college.

Oversight Committee (OC) then stepped in, directing fresh compliance by college. In this light, Centre issued a Letter of Permission (LoP) to the college. On carrying an inspection, the MCI found deficiencies and asked the Centre to revoke the LoP granted to the college. The Centre revoked the LoP on August 14, 2017.

Verdict

The Court found the three deficiencies of the college pointed out by MCI “palpably untenable” and set aside order revoking LoP. It also allowed the petitioners to start the new college and admit 150 students, even though the cut-off date for establishment of a new college has passed. The MCI can, however, conduct an inspection and in case any deficiency is found, they can proceed as per law.

Read the judgment here.

Kanachur Islamic Education Trust v. Union of India & Another [WP (C) 468 of 2017]

Facts

The petitioner’s application was rejected by the Centre on recommendation of the MCI. The OC recommended that the LoP granted, subject to conditions, including the deposit of Rs. 2 crore as bank guarantee by the college.

On recommendation of the MCI, the Centre barred the petitioner college from taking admissions for academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19. It also directed the MCI to encash the bank guarantee of Rs. 2 crore deposited by the college. The Supreme Court had on August 1 set aside this order and directed the Centre to reexamine the materials on record.

Verdict

The Court, with respect to the Centre, noted the “patent omission on its part to consider the relevant materials on record”. Conditional LoP should be granted to the college, and a fresh inspection may be conducted by MCI only in case of genuine necessity. Date of counselling qua petitioner college is extended till September 5.

Read the judgment here

August 31

Shri Gangajali Education Society & Anr. V. Union of India & Anr. [WP(C) 709 of 2017]

Facts

The petitioner’s application for establishment of medical college and admitting students to the college for two years i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19 was rejected by the Central government after placing reliance upon the recommendations of the Medical Council of India.

This rejection had come despite the Oversight Committee having accorded its approval twice and the Chhattisgarh High Court having allowed a fresh inspection of the college. Despite the same, The Centre had rejected the application based on the recommendations of the MCI.

Verdict

The Court set aside the decision of the Centre to the extent that it barred admission of students for 2017-18.

The Court, however, gave the MCI or the Competent Authority of the Central Government the liberty to inspect the petitioner college as and when deemed fit, and if any deficiency is found, to suitably proceed against the college in accordance with law.

Read the judgment here.

Apollo Institute of Medical Sciences & Research and Ors. v. Union of India & Anr. [WP (C) 496/2017]

Facts

The Centre rejected the application of the petitioner for establishment of medical college. Subsequently, Oversight Committee, which was constituted by the Supreme Court issued directives, as a result of which the Centre asked for and obtained a fresh compliance from the college. Based on the fresh compliance, OC granted LoP to the petitioner college for academic session 2016-17 subject to certain conditions.

Subsequently, the MCI conducted assessment and verification of compliance of the conditions set out by MCI and based on the finding sent a negative recommendation to the Centre. The Centre again sought the opinion of the OC which confirmed the LoP contrary to the MCI’s recommendations.

However, the Centre, acting upon the negative recommendation of MCI, debarred the petitioner college from admitting students for two years and authorised MCI to encash the Bank Guarantee offered by the petitioners. That decision was assailed by the petitioners before this Court in the present writ petition.

Verdict

The Court quashed the impugned decision of the Central government to the extent it bars the petitioners to admit upto 150 students for the academic session 2017-18. It directed the Centre to permit the petitioners’ college to take part in the current-year counselling process which is still in progress.

The Court, however, gave the MCI or the Competent Authority of the Central Government the liberty to inspect the petitioner college as and when deemed fit, and if any deficiency is found, to suitably proceed against the college in accordance with law.

Read the judgment here.

September 1

Shri Venkateshwara University Through its Registrar and Another v. Union of India & Anr. [WP (C) 445/2017]

Facts

Similar factual matrix wherein the Centre debarred the petitioner college from admitting students for academic sessions 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 and directing MCI to encash bank guarantee of Rs. 2 crore.

The MCI had initially given an adverse report against the college. However, the OC constituted by the Supreme Court had accepted the explanation offered by the University and imposed certain conditions and recommended for grant of LoP and eventually the same was granted by the Central Government for the year 2016-17.

Subsequently, after another inspection, the MCI submitted an adverse report against the college. Interestingly, this inspection was carried out on a day when the college had declared a holiday for Eid which fell five days later, a defence which the college put up all along. The Centre, however, accepted the MCI recommendation and debarred the college from admitting students for two years.

Verdict

The Court considered the contention of the petitioner that the inspection was done on a day which was declared a holiday by the concerned University. As per the MCI regulations, MCI has an obligation not to carry out any inspections 2 days before and 2 days after an important religious and festival holidays declared by the Central/State Government. The Court, however, held that since Eid fell after 5 days, the current case was not covered by the concept of two days of moratorium.

The Court, therefore rejected the prayer for renewal of Letter of Permission for the academic session 2017-2018.

However, it held that the students who have been admitted in the Institution for the academic session 2016-2017, shall continue their studies. Moreover, the Court also directed the MCI to carry out another inspection within a period of two months and submit an inspection report. Further, the court also directed that the bank guarantee not be encashed. The matter is now listed for hearing on November 17 when it will consider the inspection report of MCI.

Read the judgment here.

Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust and Anr. V. Union of India and Anr. [WP (C) 515/2017]

Facts

The petitioner college was debarred from admitting students in MBBS course for the academic sessions 2017-18 and was directed to apply afresh for renewal of permission for academic session 2018-19.

Verdict

The Court quashed and set aside the impugned decision to the extent it barred the petitioners to admit upto 150 students in the academic session 2017-18. It directed the respondents to permit the petitioner college to take part in the current year counselling process.

It gave the MCI or the Competent Authority of the Central Government the liberty to inspect the petitioner college as and when deemed fit and, if any deficiency, is found to suitably proceed against the college in accordance with law.

Read the judgment here.

Krishna Mohan Medical College and Hospital & Another v. Union of India and Another [WP (C) 448 of 2017]

Facts

Similar factual matrix as Shri Venkateshwara University and Kanachur cases.

Verdict

The Court held that conditional LoP must be granted to the college for academic year 2016-17. The Court also directed the MCI to undertake a fresh inspection for the academic year 2018-19 within eight weeks, and directed the MCI to not encash the college’s bank guarantee of Rs. 2 crore. However, the Court refused to allow the college to admit students for the academic year 2017-18.

Read the judgment here.

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