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Ukraine-Returned Indian Medical Students Have Lost Their Seats: Delhi High Court While Allowing Medical College's Plea To Increase Seats

Nupur Thapliyal
16 March 2022 4:35 AM GMT
Ukraine-Returned Indian Medical Students Have Lost Their Seats: Delhi High Court While Allowing Medical Colleges Plea To Increase Seats
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The Delhi High Court has directed increase in the number of seats in various post graduate and under graduate courses in a medical educational institute being run and managed by Santosh Trust, formerly known as the Maharaji Educational Trust in the city. Taking note of the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Justice Rekha Palli said that several thousand rescued Indian medical...

The Delhi High Court has directed increase in the number of seats in various post graduate and under graduate courses in a medical educational institute being run and managed by Santosh Trust, formerly known as the Maharaji Educational Trust in the city.

Taking note of the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Justice Rekha Palli said that several thousand rescued Indian medical students, who had gone to pursue their medical education in Ukraine, have also lost their seats in medical colleges.

Accordingly, the Court directed the National Medical Commission and other respondent authorities to grant permission to the institute on the basis of the an inspection report and to increase the seats from 4 to 7 in MS (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), from 3 to 7 in MS (Orthopaedics), and from 100 to 150 in the MBBS course.

"I, cannot also lose sight of the fact that on account of the lack of adequate number of medical institutions providing quality affordable education to cater to the needs of the aspiring students, they are often compelled to make the choice of leaving behind their home country and pursuing their studies abroad. This reality has especially become a cause of concern at a time when due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, several thousand Indian medical students, who had gone to pursue their medical education in the now war-hit Ukraine have been rescued and brought home, have also lost their seats in medical colleges," the Court said.

While the Court said that there was no doubt the respondents cannot be asked to lower the standards prescribed under the regulations however, the Judge was of the view thus:

"….in situation where it is found that an institute which has been running for the last more than 20 years is not lacking in any infrastructure and has also rectified the deficiencies which were found at the time of initial inspections, that too when the said deficiencies were only on account of the Covid pandemic, it would also be against public interest to deny permission to the petitioner to increase the seats."

"At a time when the ratio of medical profession as vis-a-vis the population of the country is abysmally low, an increase in the number of PG and UG seats would certainly contribute to the bigger goal of strengthening the medical infrastructure of the country."

The Court was dealing with a petition challenging the disapproval letters issued by the National Medical Commission rejecting the petitioners' request for grant of permission for increase of seats in the medical college in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (hereinafter referred to as 'MBBS') course as also in post-graduate courses of MS (Obstetrics & Gynaecology) and MS (Orthopaedics).

The petitioners also challenged the order dated 22.12.2021 vide which the respondents had directed an interim inspection of the said college for continuation of its existing recognition for 100 MBBS seats.

The Court therefore set aside the two impugned orders as being unsustainable and directed that the seats be increased in the medical college keeping in view that there was no deficiency in the infrastructure of the medical institute, coupled with the fact that the deficiency in clinical material, found during the initial inspections, stood rectified in another inspection.

"These directions are being issued only in the light of these peculiar facts, and by taking into account the fact that the petitioner institute has already missed the first two rounds of counselling, and any further delay at this stage would prevent it from participating even in the upcoming Mop-Up and Online Stray Vacancy rounds of counselling. The petitioner is therefore, granted permission to participate in the remaining rounds of counselling with the increased seats as noted hereinabove, without any further inspections," the Court said at the outset.

The Court was of the opinion that in the present case, the petitioner institute was seeking permission of the enhancement of seats in a medical college and that it is a well-known fact that in India, a large number of aspirants, desirous of seeking medical education, apply every year for each additional seat and that admission to such medical colleges is much sought after.

"These medical colleges are also therefore, shouldered with the responsibility to provide quality medical education to its students and also ensure that the standards of professional ethics as required in the medical profession are adhered to," the Court noted.

It said "In my considered opinion, there can be no doubt about the fact that there is an element of public interest in the decision taken by the respondents. It has been urged by the respondents that if the allegations made in the complaints against the petitioner institute are found to be correct, the career of students who seek admission in the college would be at stake and therefore, they were justified in rejecting the petitioners' application on the basis of subsequent material, which though already mentioned in one of the impugned orders i.e., 25.01.2022 has now been explained in detail."

The Court was also of the view that mere pendency of some Court cases against a medical institution at the behest of banks or financial institutions, in the absence of any restraint orders passed by a Competent Court, cannot per se be a ground to hold the institution as not meeting the eligibility criteria under Section 29 of the National Medical Commission Act, 2019.

"Moreover, the petitioner institute is not seeking recognition as a new college, but is only seeking an increase in the number of seats on the basis of the available infrastructure, which infrastructure has been found to be satisfactory in the inspection carried out by the respondents itself," the Court said.

Accordingly, the plea was disposed of.

Also Read: NEET-PG | 'Such Clamour For Admission Yet Seats Going Vacant, Students Forced To Go To Places Like Ukraine': Delhi HC In Plea To Relax Cut-Off Percentile

Case Title: SANTOSH TRUST & ANR. v. NATIONAL MEDICAL COMMISSION & ORS.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 206

Click Here To Read Order 




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