'Draconian, Disastrous': Madras High Court Quashes MCI Order Cancelling Admissions Of 778 Medical Students

Upasana Sajeev

7 May 2022 4:39 AM GMT

  • Draconian, Disastrous: Madras High Court Quashes MCI Order Cancelling Admissions Of 778 Medical Students

    The Madras High court recently set aside the order of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Government of Puducherry (GOP) cancelling the admissions of 778 students in the MBBS course on the ground that their admission to these course was made illegally, without following merit. The bench of Justice Krishnan Ramasamy made the orders on a batch of writ petitions filed by...

    The Madras High court recently set aside the order of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Government of Puducherry (GOP) cancelling the admissions of 778 students in the MBBS course on the ground that their admission to these course was made illegally, without following merit.

    The bench of Justice Krishnan Ramasamy made the orders on a batch of writ petitions filed by the students and the colleges alleging that the order of the MCI was illegal, arbitrary and made without observing the principles of natural justice.

    The court held that the order was made without considering the procedure of admission adopted by the colleges and that passing of such draconian directions was arbitrary. The court also observed that implementation of such directions would turn out to be disastrous for the students who were now pursuing their fifth year of the MBBS course. The court also observed that the students cannot be put in a disadvantage due to the inability of the concerned authorities to formulate a proper mechanism for admission.

    "Even assuming that there has been error in the procedure followed by Colleges, same is not sufficient to set aside the admissions of the petitioners/students by the MCI, and GOP," it said.


    MCI introduced NEET for the first time in India during the academic year 2016 – 17. NEET become mandatory through out India for admissions in Medical and Dental Colleges following the decision in Sankalp Charitable Trust & Anr. Vs. UOI and others(2016) . The MCI also introduced Section 10-D by virtue of amendment in Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Act, 2016 by virtue of which all Medical Educational Institutions both the Under Graduate and Post Graduate level shall conduct uniform entrance examination. Based on requests, the State Governments were exempted from NEET examinations but the exemption was limited to admission of students in the State Government Quota in Government Medical Colleges and in Private Medical Colleges and not to management quota seats.

    On 09.08.2016, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India sent a letter to all the States/Union Territory Governments stating that they shall preferably go for combined counseling for admission to MBBS/BDS Courses. However, on 15.09.2016, the University Grants Commission (UGC) sent a clarification to all Medical Institutions Deemed to be Universities that, in the event, for any reason, common counseling is not being held by the State Government or the Deemed to be Universities are not covered in the State Government common counseling, Deemed to be Universities of that State should put up a transparent system of admission, under which, no student should be denied or deprived from applying for admission and admission should be done based on purely inter-se merit amongst the applicants based on marks obtained in NEET.

    The Government of Puducherry did not conducted any common counseling for the academic year 2016-17, and informed that the admission process would be overseen by the Permanent Admission Committee (PAC). The Deemed to be Universities submitted that admission to these colleges should be conducted as per UGC Guidelines and the same was taken on records.

    Subsequent to the meeting conducted by PAC with the self financing Colleges, Colleges have furnished all the details as sought by PAC. PAC directed all the self financing colleges as well as the Deemed Universities to fill up the management quota seats on or before last cut-off date, i.e. 30.09.2016, based on which, the Colleges filled up seats, and no admission was made subsequent to the said date.

    On 10.03.2017, a Notification was issued for common counseling, whereby, Section 5A was introduced to Regulations on Graduate Medical Education 1997, by virtue of Regulations on Graduate Medical Education (First Amendment) 2017. On 07.09.2017, MCI passed the impugned discharge order marking a copy to all the Colleges and the Government of Puducherry, based on which, Government of Puducherry, passed the consequential impugned order dated 14.09.2017, to discharge students, who are not admitted through CENTAC for the academic year 2016-17 and also students, who were admitted after the last date of admission i.e., 30.09.2016. The Pondicherry University also passed order dated 05.07.2017 stating that, I year MBBS Exam would be conducted only for those students, whose qualification are recognized and registered as matriculates of their University for the academic year 2016-2017 and for the remaining students admitted under the management quota (NEET 2016), examination will be conducted on receipt of recognition from Academic Section, Pondicherry University.

    Petitioner's Submissions

    The petitioners submitted the MCI directions were illegal, improper and bereft of essential particulars and were vague. They submitted that the orders were issued without proper understanding of the facts. The petitioners submitted that all the admissions were made on the basis of NEET scores. The MCI and the PAC merely stated that that there were allegations of illegal admissions and passed the impugned orders stating that proper details of the students such as their date of birth were not provided. The petitioners submitted that all the information was duly uploaded to the MCI website and that the whole admission process was done in a transparent manner. Therefore, the norms relating to transparency have not been violated.

    The petitioners submitted that even if it is assumed that there were deficiencies, the same is not due to the fault of the 778 petitioners/students and is merely due to the inability of the MCI, Government of Puducherry, and the PAC to work out a concerted action plan with regard to the admission of students for the academic year 2016-17. Therefore, the petitioners/students cannot be put to any disadvantage or suffer. The petitioners have already completed four years of study and are now pursuing the fifth year in the MBBS Course and would be greatly affected by the order of the MCI.

    Respondent's Submission

    The respondents submitted that the State of Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry had obtained an exemption from NEET for admission to Government Quota seats for the academic year 2016-17. The Centralized Admission Committee (CENVAT), constituted by the Government of Puducherry was entrusted to conduct counseling for admission to MBBS course to Government Quota seats based on the Higher Secondary marks and the PAC was to oversee the admission for the Management Quota seats based on NEET merit.

    Additional Government Pleader Mr. C.T Ramesh submitted that complaints were received from various aggrieved parents, individuals as well as through Associations that, Private Medical Colleges have denied admission to meritorious candidates and have demanded exorbitant fee against the fee fixed by the Fee Committee, which is against the principles of admission.

    Thus, the private colleges have admitted students without following the order of merit in NEET and the admission was not done in a transparent manner and the colleges have also not furnished the list of admitted students in time to the PAC to oversee the admission process, and have thereby violated the directives and instructions of the Supreme Court.

    Mr. Shubharanjani Ananth, Standing Counsel for the MCI submitted that the Monitoring Sub-Committee constituted by the MCI had accepted the reports of blatant violation in respect of the manner of granting admissions to MBBS course and had decided that all the students, except, those, who were admitted in MBBS course through the counseling conducted by the CENTAC, GOP, for the academic year 2016- 17 should be discharged. These recommendations were approved by the Executive Committee of MCI and accordingly the impugned order was passed.

    The standing counsel also submitted that as per Regulation 7(6B) of the Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997, students admitted beyond the cut off date were supposed to be discharged and the MCI had powers to discharge them. Further, , in exercise of powers conferred by Section 33 of the MCI Act, MCI has framed regulations on Graduate Medical Examination and such regulations framed by MCI are statutory in character, and it is binding and mandatory on all concerned Universities and Colleges conducting medicine courses.

    It was also submitted that the PAC was the appropriate designated authority in the Union Territory of Puducherry to oversee the admission process for medical Institutions in Puducherry. Further, the onus of furnishing true, correct and authentic information with respect to the details of students admitted is upon the College concerned, and in case of furnishing wrong/incorrect information, it is open to MCI to initiate action as is permissible in law.

    It was also submitted that as per the UGC guidelines, the deemed to be universities were also directed to be part of the common counseling to be organized by the State Government or its agencies. However, there was no record to show that the petition students or universities have taken part in the common counseling. Therefore, since they had taken admission in the institution illegally, these petitioner students should not be granted any relief.

    Mr M Ravi, appearing for the Students Parents Association submitted that meritorious students were denied admission as they could not pay the illegally demanded exorbitant fees by the Private Medical Colleges, while students who were lower in merit were able to get admission because of their financial capacity to meet the demands of the colleges. He also produced reports filed by the colleges to show that the admissions were carried out even after the stipulated cut-off date.

    Mr P.R Gopinathan, Standing Counsel for UGC, Mr. S Subramanian, representing the Schools and Higher Education Parents Students Welfare Association also made their submissions Mr. L Swaminathan, Standing Counsel for MGMC.

    Courts Observations

    The court observed that the power of discharge that is available to the MCI is limited to the students who were admitted after the cut-off date. However, going through the orders of discharge, it is observed that the MCI did not undertake any such exercise as its details were also not provided in the order. Thus, there was a serious lapse on the decision-making process by MCI and the same was made without application of mind and liable to be quashed.

    The court also observed that during the period of admission, there was no regulation/provision or rules for conducting common counseling and the colleges were to conduct the common counseling based on the NEET percentage in a fair and transparent manner. Therefore, the common counseling in the State/Union Territories would not apply for the academic year 2016 – 17. Further, there was no direction by the Government of Puducherry, CENTAC or PAC to conduct any Common Counselling. In the absence of such rules or regulations, the question of conducting the common counseling does not arise.

    The court also stated that even if there were lapses, the students should not be punished for the same. The PAC, MCI, or the Government of Puducherry should have taken action against the institution and not against the students without giving them a proper opportunity. The court observed that the principles of natural justice were affected in that the students, who were to be affected by the impugned order were not given an opportunity of being heard. Further, the MCI had also not given proper reasons for passing such orders. Thus, the impugned orders are not free from arbitrariness, unreasonableness or unfairness and accordingly, it violates the principles of natural justice and are liable to be set aside.

    The court also reiterated that the role of CENTAC was limited to administering the admission to Professional Colleges in the Government of Puducherry for the government quota seats, which includes seats in government Colleges and Private Self-Financed Colleges. The management quota seats were to be filled up by the respective private Unaided/self-financed Medical Colleges in the Union Territory of Pondicherry, on their own from the NEET qualified students on All India Ranking Score based on inter se NEET percentile.

    The court also held that the order of the Controller of Examination in not permitting the students to write examinations was in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution and would affect the entire course of the students and was therefore liable to be set aside.

    Case Title: Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College & Hospital v. The Government of Puducherry and Others

    Case No: W.P No. 17527 of 2017 and other connected cases

    Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 201

    Click here to read/download the judgment

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