Lucknow Medical College Case: CJI Dipak Misra’s Bench Says Allahabad HC "Abandoned Judicial Propriety" [Read Order]

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, directed a Medical College in Lucknow to grant compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each to the students it had admitted for the Academic Year 2017-18.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also imposed costs of Rs. 25 lakhs on the College, G.C.R.G. Memorial Trust, observing that their conduct was "absolutely blameworthy".

The Court was hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by the Medical Council of India (MCI), challenging an order passed by a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in September this year. The High Court had permitted the College to admit students for the Academic Session 2017-18, ignoring the observations made by the MCI that the college was ineptly handling patients in the hospital.

In the judgment, the Court recalls the factual matrix and notes that the High Court had been approached on 29 August and had passed a judgment on 1 September without waiting for a reply from the Centre or the MCI.

"Be it noted, the writ petition that was filed before this Court was withdrawn on 28th August, 2017 and a fresh writ was filed before the High Court on 29th August 2017 and the judgment was delivered without waiting for the reply from the Central Government or MCI on 01st September 2017. It is clear as the cloudless sky that the judgment of the High Court shows unnecessary and uncalled for hurry, unjustified haste and an unreasonable sense of promptitude possibly being oblivious of the fact that the stand of the Medical Council of India and the Central Government could not be given indecent burial when they were parties on record. Such a procedure cannot be countenanced in law".

The Apex Court noted that in the case at hand, the renewal for the Academic year 2017-18 and the confirmation of letter of permission for 2016-17 was "totally unwarranted" as the deficiency noted by the MCI was beyond the permissible limits.

Calling it "a most unfortunate situation" the Court further observed, "One cannot but say that the adjudication by the Division Bench tantamounts to a state as if they dragged themselves to the realm of “willing suspension of disbelief”. Possibly, they assumed that they could do what they intended to do. A Judge cannot think in terms of “what pleases the Prince has the force of law”. Frankly speaking, the law does not allow so, for law has to be observed by requisite respect for law....

...the Division Bench had no reason to abandon the concept of judicial propriety and transgress the rules and further proceed on a path where it was not required to. Such things create institutional problems and we are sure that the learned Judges shall be guided by it."

The Court then opined that the students should not be made to suffer for the "recourse to unholy and uncalled for practice" taken by the college and ordered, "Students are to be compensated. They had paid the fees. Hopes were kindled in their hearts and aspirations in their mind. Their young minds were polluted by the institution and, therefore, we direct the respondent-institution to pay Rs.10,00,000/- to each of the students who had taken admission apart from refunding their fees. "

The Court also refused to consider the College's prayer regarding Academic Session 2018-19, observing, "We say so as an unscrupulous litigant who conceived the idea of paving the path of his own desire, moving according to his design, proceeding as per his whim and marching ahead with brazenness abandoning any sense of prudence cannot be leniently dealt with. It is the duty of the Court to take stringent action, for he has polluted the purity attached to the justice dispensation system and sullied the majesty of law."

The issue of debarment of medical colleges has been making the news since the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a charge-sheet filed by the CBI against retired Judge of Orissa High Court, Justice I.M. Quddusi.

As per the FIR, Mr. Quddusi allegedly conspired with one Ms. Bhawana Pandey to “settle” the matter concerning debarment of Prasad Institute of Medical Science, Lucknow, which is one of the 46 colleges barred by the Government. It reveals that Mr. B.P. Yadav, who manages affairs of the medical institute, got in touch with Mr. Quddusi and Ms. Pandey and “entered into criminal conspiracy for getting the matter settled”.

Mr. Quddusi had allegedly advised Mr. Yadav to withdraw his challenge to the debarment from the Apex Court and approach the Allahabad High Court instead. The High Court had then granted an interim stay against the debarment.

While the Medical Council of India has approached the Supreme Court against this order, Mr. Quddusi and Ms. Pandey have allegedly assured Mr. Yadav that they will “get the matter settled in the Apex Court through their contacts”.

The petition filed by Advocate Kamini Jaiswal seeking probe in to the allegation against judiciary were dismissed by a three Judge Bench on Nov.14.

Read the Judgment Here