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SC Directs A UP Medical College To Deposit Five Crores For Intentionally Violating Medical Council Regulations While Admitting Students

Srishti Ojha
24 Feb 2021 2:19 PM GMT
SC Directs A UP Medical College To Deposit Five Crores For Intentionally Violating Medical Council Regulations While Admitting Students
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]Supreme Court has on Wednesday directed Saraswati Medical College to deposit an amount of Rupees Five Crores to the Supreme Court's Registry for intentionally violating the Medical Council Regulations by granting admission to students not allotted by the Director General Medical Education. The Court refused to condone the violation made by College in providing admission to 132 students...

]Supreme Court has on Wednesday directed Saraswati Medical College to deposit an amount of Rupees Five Crores to the Supreme Court's Registry for intentionally violating the Medical Council Regulations by granting admission to students not allotted by the Director General Medical Education. The Court refused to condone the violation made by College in providing admission to 132 students on its own and permitting them to continue despite Medical Council of India's direction to discharge them.

The Court has directed the National Medical Commission to constitute a Trust, including the Accountant General of the State of UP, an eminent educationist and a representative of the State as Members of the Trust to manage the amount of Rupees Five Crores to be deposited and utilise it to extend financial assistance to needy students seeking admission to medical colleges in the State of Uttar Pradesh. An Action Taken Report has to be filed by the National Medical Commission within a period of 12 weeks from today.

A division Bench of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Ravindra Bhat issued the directions in plea filed by Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust challenging 2017 notice issued by the Medical Council of India directing Saraswati Medical College to discharge 132 out of 150 students admitted in the first year of MBBS course for the academic year 2017-2018.

The Court also considered another plea filed in 2019 by 71 students in first year MBBS course for the academic year 2017-2018 in Saraswati Medical College seeking permission to continue with their studies and direction to the Uttar Pradesh Medical Council, to declare their results of the first year MBBS course.

The Court held that the College should not to have admitted 132 students by conducting a selection on its own without requesting the Director General Medical Education to send more candidates, and the Director General could not be blamed for any delay on his part in carrying out the directions issued by the Supreme Court .

The Court rejected the College's submission that there was no other alternative, except to make admission from the list of 735 students who have applied on notice issued by the Director General. The College should not have issued a notice at 7:30 p.m. on 5th September, 2017 and admitted 132 students in four hours.

The top Court has observed that even the students who secured admission cannot be said to be innocent as they knew fully well that their names were not recommended by the Director General Medical Education.

"The college did not discharge the students even after a notice directing the same was issued by the Medical Council of India, and the students also continued their first year MBBS course and managed to write the first year MBBS course examinations after being permitted by the University. "- the judgement reads.

While observing that the admission of these 132 students in the College was completely contrary to the Regulations, the Court considered that as the students have completed the second year MBBS course, cancelling their admissions at this stage would not serve any useful purpose. Therefore the court has directed the students who joined the College knowing that their admissions were contrary to the Regulations, to do community service for a period of two years after completing their MBBS course. The National Medical Commission has been asked to decide the details of the community service to be rendered by the 132 students and workout the modalities. The Court has directed the University to conduct the second year MBBS examination for 126 students admitted in the College and who completed their second year course at the earliest and declare their results.

The Court has clarified that these directions have been passed only to save the students from losing three academic years in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case and shall not be treated as a precedent.

Facts

Saraswati Medical College, established by Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust applied for grant of renewal of permission for admission of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018. However, after inspections were conducted, renewal of permission was not granted by an order dated 10th August, 2017. Supreme Court through its order dated 1st September, 2017 directed the respondents, including Union of India and Medical Council of India to permit the College to take part in the counselling process for the year 2017-2018, and extended the cut-off date for completion of admission in respect of the College till 5th September, 2017. The Court also directed the respondents to make available students willing to take admission in the College through central counselling in order of merit. The Director General of Medical Education and Training was requested by the college to provide a list of students from NEET 2017 merit list to enable the College to make admission before deadline.

The Director General of Medical Education informed all eligible students about the order passed by the Supreme Court allowing Saraswati Medical College to participate in counselling, asking them to register themselves for admission to first year MBBS course in the College . This was followed by 735 students applying within the time schedule for admission to 150 seats in the College.

After receiving applications from the students, the Director General forwarded a list of 150 students on the basis of their merit amongst 735 students, but only 9 out of those 150 students reported and completed their admission formalities by the last date.

The college then wrote to the Director General asking for more names from the list of 735 students and issued an urgent notice itself to all the 735 students to avail the opportunity of admission in the college that would be made on the basis of merit.

The College filled up total of 132 seats on 5th September on its own and without being recommended by the Director General. The Medical Council of India then wrote a letter and directed the Principal of the Saraswati Medical College to discharge the 132 students who were admitted in violation of the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997.

Thereafter , a writ petition was filed by the college challenging the Medical Council of India's direction through its letter dated 29th Sept 2017. Meanwhile the students were permitted to take the examinations for the first year MBBS course by the Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court on 22th July, 2019 directed the result of the first year MBBS course to be declared provisionally, but subject to the outcome of the Writ Petition. The Court had clarified that the students can not claim any equities on the declaration of the result. The students thereafter approached the Court in 2021 seeking a direction to permit them to appear in the second year MBBS examinations.

Contentions of the Parties

The College in the present case contended before the top Court that the 132 students that it admitted was strictly on the basis of merit amongst those who approached the College under extraordinary circumstances. The Director General was lethargic in not allotting sufficient number of students for admission to first year MBBS 2017-2018 till 4th September and 5th September was the last date as per Supreme Court's order. Out of the students allotted only a few students took admission. The College was therefore left with no alternative but to make admissions from the list of 735 candidates who applied.

The students on the other hand pleaded ignorance about any illegality or irregularity in the matter of their admission to the first year MBBS course, and requested the Court to permit them to complete the course as they are all NEET qualified candidates. According to the students, they cannot be held responsible for any violation of the Regulations as they only responded to notice that was issued for admission and participated in the the selection process conducted by the College.

The Medical Council of India argued before the Apex Court that in terms of Regulation 5 A of the Medical Council Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 all admissions to the MBBS course should be made on the basis of the merit list of the NEET and from the list sent by the Director General Medical Education based on students' ranking. The College can make admissions of students allotted by the Director General Medical Education. Therefore, the students who were admitted contrary to the Regulations would not be entitled to claim any equity and the College which acted in blatant violation of the Regulation is liable to be penalised suitably.

Last week Supreme Court directed the Kannur Medical College, Kerala  to deposit Rs.15,72,89,020/- with the Admission Supervisory Committee for Professional Colleges in Kerala along with full details of the guardians/students to whom the amounts have to be refunded within a period of one month.

The bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna also directed it to make a deposit of Rs.25 crores with the Admission Supervisory Committee as a pre condition to claim affiliation.

CASE: Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust vs. Union of India  [Writ Petition (C) No.40 of 2018]

CITATION: LL 2021 SC 112

Click Here To Download Judgment

[Read Judgment]



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