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Migration From Unrecognised Medical College To Recognised One Restricted By MCI Regulations: Supreme Court

Mehal Jain
4 Feb 2021 3:49 AM GMT
Migration From Unrecognised Medical College To Recognised One Restricted By MCI Regulations: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that migration cannot be permitted from an unrecognised medical college to a recognised medical college in view of Regulation 6 of the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997. The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Indira Banerjee were hearing the MCI's challenge to a September, 2020 Rajasthan High Court...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that migration cannot be permitted from an unrecognised medical college to a recognised medical college in view of Regulation 6 of the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997.

The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Indira Banerjee were hearing the MCI's challenge to a September, 2020 Rajasthan High Court judgment allowing the said migration and holding that the term 'Migration' referred to in sub-clause (2) of Regulation 6 of the Migration Rules is not limited to Schedule-I of the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 (which enumerates the recognised medical qualifications) but it is much wider in scope. The High Court was of the further view that all institutions which are allowed to impart medical education should be deemed to be recognised colleges for the purpose of considering the applications for migration.

In setting aside the impugned judgment, the top court appreciated that the interpretation of the Regulation 6(2) by the High Court is patently erroneous, that the Regulation clearly lays down a restriction of migration from an unrecognised college to a recognised college. "Regulation 6(2) provides that migration is permissible only if both the Colleges are recognised u/s 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956...The term 'Migration' cannot be read out of context without reference to the Regulation which clearly provides that both colleges should be recognised u/s 11(2) of the Act", ruled the bench.

Facts

Respondent No. 1 (before the Supreme Court) was admitted to first MBBS Course in Ananta Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Rajsamand. She requested the Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India to permit migration to Dr. S. N. Medical College, Jodhpur by a letter dated 26.08.2019. She relied upon the certificates issued by Ananta Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Rajsamand and the Principal of Dr. S. N. Medical College Jodhpur whereby they gave no objection for the migration. However, the Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India rejected the request for migration by a proceeding dated 25.10.2019 on the ground that it is not permissible under clause 6(2) of the Migration Rules.

The proceeding dated 25.10.2019 was communicated to the first respondent by the Director of Medical Education on 07.11.2019.

Respondent no.1 filed a Writ Petition in the High court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jodhpur challenging the validity of the proceeding dated 25.10.2019 and seeking a direction to the respondent to permit a transfer from Ananta Institute to Dr. SN Medical College, Jodhpur. By a Judgment dated 09.01.2020, the Single Judge of the High Court allowed the Writ Petition and directed the Medical Council of India to relax the Regulations and permit migration of respondent no. 1. The appeal filed by the Medical Council of India was dismissed by a Division Bench of the High Court by holding that the term 'Migration' referred to in sub-clause (2) of Regulation 6 of the Migration Rules is not limited to Schedule-I of the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 but it is much wider in scope. The Division Bench was of the further view that all institutions which are allowed to impart medical education should be deemed to be recognised colleges for the purpose of considering the applications for migration.

On behalf of the appellant-Medical Council of India, it was contended by Advocate Gaurav Sharma that the High Court has committed an error in interpreting Regulation 6 of Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997. Migration of a student pursuing an undergraduate medical course is permissible only if both the colleges are recognised by the Central Government under section 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 in accordance with Regulation 6(2). The further condition stipulated in Regulation 6(3) is that an application for migration may be made by a candidate only after qualifying the first professional MBBS examination. Migration during clinical course of study shall not be allowed on any ground. It was argued on behalf of the appellant that migration is not permitted by the Medical Council of India from a private college to the government college. He submitted that the first respondent belonging to OBC category was placed at 6,73,898 rank in the merit list as she secured only 110 marks out of total 720 marks in the NEET (UG)-2018 examination. Whereas, the cut off for admission in respect of OBC category in Dr. S. N. Medical College Jodhpur which is a Government Medical College to which the Respondent no. 1 sought migration is 560 marks out of 720 marks. It was further submitted on behalf of the appellant that the first respondent is in the 2nd MBBS (3rd year) and the clinical courses have already commenced.

Mr. Atul Jha, counsel for the first respondent, referred to the Regulations to submit that Medical Council of India has the power to relax. He submitted that the father of the first respondent is suffering from cancer and the migration sought by the first respondent should be considered on humanitarian ground.

Relevant statutory provisions

The bench noted that Section 11(2) of the Medical Council Act, 1956 is as follows:-

"11. Recognition of medical qualifications granted by Universities or medical institutions in India:

Section 11(2) in The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956

2) Any University or medical institution in India which grants a medical qualification not included in the First Schedule may apply to the Central Government to have such qualification recognised, and the Central Government, after consulting the Council, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the First Schedule so as to include such qualification therein, and any such notification may also direct that an entry shall be made in the last column of the First Schedule against such medical qualification declaring that it shall be a recognised medical qualification only when granted after a specified date"

Regulation 6 of the Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997 on Migration

6(1) Migration of students from one medical college to another medical college may be granted on any genuine ground subject to the availability of vacancy in the college where migration is sought and fulfilling the other requirements laid down in the Regulations. Migration would be restricted to 5% of the sanctioned intake of the college during the year. No migration will be permitted on any ground from one medical college to another located within the same city.

(2) Migration of students from one College to another is permissible only if both the colleges are recognised by the Central Government under section 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and further subject to the condition that it shall not result in increase in the sanctioned intake capacity for the academic year concerned in respect of the receiving medical college.

(3) The applicant candidate shall be eligible to apply for migration only after qualifying in the first professional MBBS examination. Migration during clinical course of study shall not be allowed on any ground.

(4) For the purpose of migration an applicant candidate shall first obtain "No Objection Certificate" from the college where he is studying for the present and the university to which that college is affiliated and also from the college to which the migration is sought and the university to it that college is affiliated. He/She shall submit his application for migration within a period of 1 month of passing (Declaration of result of the 1st Professional MBBS examination) alongwith the above cited four "No Objection Certificates" to: (a) the Director of Medical Education of the State, if migration is sought from one college to another within the same State or (b) the Medical Council of India, if the migration is sought from one college to another located outside the State.

(5) A student who has joined another college on migration shall be eligible to appear in the IInd professional MBBS examination only after attaining the minimum attendance in that college in the subjects, lectures, seminars etc. required for appearing in the examination prescribed under Regulation 12(1).

Note-1: The State Governments/Universities/Institutions may frame appropriate guidelines for grant of No Objection Certificate or migration, as the case may be, to the students subject to provisions of these regulations.

Note-2: Any request for migration not covered under the provisions of these Regulations shall be referred to the Medical Council of India for consideration on individual merits by the Director (Medical Education) of the State or the Head of Central Government Institution concerned. The decision taken by the Council on such requests shall be final.

Note-3: The College/Institutions shall send intimation to the Medical Council of India about the number of students admitted by them on migration within one month of their joining. It shall be open to the Council to undertake verification of the compliance of the provisions of the regulations governing migration by the Colleges at any point of time.

Observations of the court

The bench appreciated that the interpretation of the Regulation 6(2) by the High Court is patently erroneous. The Regulation clearly lays down a restriction of migration from an unrecognised college to a recognised college. Regulation 6(2) provides that migration is permissible only if both the Colleges are recognised u/s 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

"The term 'Migration' cannot be read out of context without reference to the Regulation which clearly provides that both colleges should be recognised u/s 11(2) of the Act. Admittedly, the college in which the first respondent is studying is yet to be recognised u/s 11(2) of the Act. Migration cannot be permitted contrary to the Regulations", observed the bench.

Considering the submissions made by the counsel for the First Respondent regarding the relaxation which can be granted by the Medical Council of India, the bench reflected that Note 2 to Regulation 6 empowers the Medical Council of India to permit migration after considering the individual merit of the request only in respect of matters which are not covered by the Regulations.

" For the aforementioned reasons, we set aside the judgment of the High Court and allow the appeal. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of", directed the bench

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