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"Not Studied English As A Separate Subject": Madras HC Upholds NMC's Decision To Not Issue Eligibility Certificate To OCI Medical Student To Practice In India

Aaratrika Bhaumik
26 Oct 2021 6:59 AM GMT
Not Studied English As A Separate Subject: Madras HC Upholds NMCs Decision To Not Issue Eligibility Certificate To OCI Medical Student To Practice In India
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The Madras High Court on Monday has refused to interfere with a decision taken by the National Medical Commission (NMC) to not allow a student who had pursued medical education in China to write the screening test, Foreign Medical Graduate Examination required to be cleared before commencing practice in India, because she had not studied English as a separate subject during her higher...

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The Madras High Court on Monday has refused to interfere with a decision taken by the National Medical Commission (NMC) to not allow a student who had pursued medical education in China to write the screening test, Foreign Medical Graduate Examination required to be cleared before commencing practice in India, because she had not studied English as a separate subject during her higher secondary education.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed,

"Admittedly, the Petitioner has not undergone English as a separate subject in the Higher Secondary Course. The experts in their wisdom have stipulated an eligibility criteria and this court exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 of Constitution of India, cannot sit over judgment upon this stipulation made by the experts. The individual opinion of a judge cannot come in the way while deciding cases of this nature and this court has to necessarily satisfy itself as to whether a candidate fulfils the qualification prescribed in the regulation. The law on this issue is well settled."

In the instant case, it was brought to the notice of the court that the petitioner was an overseas citizen of India The petitioner had studied in India till her secondary school education and thereafter, moved to Sri Lanka where she continued her higher secondary education. After completing the higher secondary education, the petitioner completed her MBBS degree from a University in China.

While undergoing higher secondary education, the subjects pursued by the petitioner consisted of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. However, English was not studied by the petitioner as a separate subject even though the medium of instruction was only in English.

The petitioner however emphasised that she had pursued her higher secondary education in English medium and had also secured 7.5 out of 9 in International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

The NMC had refused to issue an eligibility certificate to the petitioner to appear for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination on the sole ground that she had not studied English as a separate subject during higher secondary education after which she had filed the instant petition.

The Court noted that the Foreign Medical Institution Regulations and the Screening Test Regulations, 2002, makes it very clear that the candidate should fulfil the eligibility criteria for admission to MBBS course in India as prescribed in the Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997. If in case, the candidate does not fulfil the qualifying criteria, the NMC is at liberty to reject the application for issuance of eligibility certificate.

Opining that the petitioner fails to fulfil the eligibility criteria, the Court observed,

"In the considered view of this court, the relevant regulation has to be understood from the plain language that has been used in the regulation and this court cannot tweak it to suit the convenience of a candidate. Howsoever persuasive may be the plea raised by the learned counsel for the Petitioner by impressing upon the court that the Petitioner is good in English and has undergone the Higher Secondary Course through English medium, this court is duty bound to satisfy itself as to whether the Petitioner has fulfilled the qualification criteria as prescribed under the regulation. A careful reading of Clause (a) shows that the word "OR" has been placed in between physics, chemistry, biology/ biotechnology and mathematics on the one side and any other elective subjects on the other side. When it comes to English subject, it is applicable to both streams and it is also specifically provided that the English subject must be at a level prescribed by the NCERT. Therefore, Clause (a), by no stretch, dispenses with the candidate undergoing English as a compulsory subject."

Accordingly, the Court refused to interfere with the impugned communication dated June 14, 2021 issued by the NMC refusing to issue an eligibility certificate to the petitioner to appear for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination.

Case Title: Mrs. Ouwshitha Surendran v. National Medical Commission and Ors 

Click Here To Read/Download Order 



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