Delhi HC upholds MCI decision, denies permission to VIMS for 150 MBBS seats
New Delhi: In its recent verdict, the Delhi High Court has upheld the Medical Council of India's (MCI) decision if not granting Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Sciences, the 3rd renewal of permission for admission of 4th batch of 150 MBBS students for the academic year 2019-20.
The medical college sought quashing of the May 31st order of the MCI by which the request of the medical college for grant of third renewal of permission to admit the fourth batch of 150 MBBS students for this academic year was disapproved and the MCI inspection May 13th report.
The medical institute also sought that the MCI authorities be directed to issue Letter of Permission (LOP) to the medical college after considering the Surprise Compliance Verification Assessment of their own Assessors of MCI for grant of 3rd Renewal.
In their petition, the medical college raised several contentions assailing the decision dated 31.5.2019 of the Board of Governors in supersession of the MCI (MCI BoG) whereby the scheme of the medical college for grant of the third renewal of permission for MBBS course for the 4th Batch (150 seats) under Section 10A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 for the academic year 2019-20 was declined. The medical college presented the following contentions:
- No adequate hearing was granted by the Hearing Committee, no specific reasoned order was passed and no substantial deficiencies had been found in the compliance verification assessment and that thus in the subsequent inspection conducted by the Directorate of Medical Education, Government of UP (UP DGME) after the MCI BoG had carried out the surprise compliance verification on 3.5.2019 with the assessment of the MCI having been found nil deficiencies identical to faculty strength of 123, residents 70, 379 bed occupancy and had also found that all the deficiencies had been rectified.
- The second inspection having been conducted on 13.5.2019 by UP DGME had no authority in law to conduct the same.
- The representation dated 28.5.2019 submitted by the medical college in relation to the stated surprise compliance verification assessment on 13.5.2019 having not been considered by MCI.
In response, the counsel on behalf of the MCI BoG explained that on the date of first inspection that had to be conducted on 29.5.2018, the medical college did not permit the MCI an inspection as it was not prepared for the same and that the second inspection was conducted on 25.11.2018 by the Superintendent of Police, Amroha under the orders of the Allahabad High Court when it was found there was no patient in the OPD, most of the departments and laboratories were empty and the students informed about lack of faculty, residents, support staff, patients and infrastructure.
The MCI further apprised the HC that after first hearing, it was decided to conduct an inspection of the medical college and as there were complaints received against the medical college.
Thereafter, the third inspection was conducted on 21-22.1.2019 and the MCI found the deficiency of faculty 18.8.%, residents 16.66.%, bed occupancy 30% apart from 21 other gross deficiencies.
Later, a compliance assessment was done where the MCI found conflicting reports. Hence, it requested the UP DGME to inspect the medical college and the 5th inspection was conducted by the UP DGME when it found the deficiency of faculty 83.7% & residents 65.16%, bed occupancy 19.2% apart from 6 other gross deficiencies.
The MCI for the purpose of ascertaining infrastructure, clinical material, faculty, residents and other physical facilities available in a medical college for approving or disapproving an application could take into account the factors even if it meant looking into the inspection report of the State Government and that the MCI is not in any manner precluded from calling upon the State Government so as to assist it in ascertaining the correct/authentic position when there was suspicion raised due to conflicting reports, the MCI pointed out to the HC bench.
Justifying its refusal, the MCI stated that the deficiencies pointed out of faculty 83.7% & residents 65.16%, bed occupancy 19.2% and 24 other deficiencies pointed out through the assessment made on 13.5.2019, were sufficient to negate the grant of any permission to the medical college.
The MCI alleged that the medical college has resorted to forum shopping as another matter is pending before the Allahabad HC where 6 students have alleged that the medical college doesn't have the proper infrastructure, clinical material and Laboratories, faculty, residents and other physical facilities for continuing the teaching and training of the only batch of admitted MBBS students i.e. the batch of 2016-17. Hence, the medicos have demanded transfer from the institute to Government Medical Colleges (GMCs).
It was further submitted by the MCI authorities that they had received complaints against the medical college in the month of May and a hearing was granted to the medical college where it was decided not to recommend the said renewal permission.
The said complaint alleged that the medical college had prior information, about both the inspections carried out by the MCI; also had information about the name of the inspectors on both the occasions; and as a result of the prior information, college authorities admitted fake patients and temporarily appointed staff, to fulfill statutory requirements.
On the contention that the DGME had no authority in law to conduct the inspection, the MCI clarified that "initially when the UP DGME inspected the college it was initially informed that there was a holiday but upon their insistence they were allowed to carry out the assessment and they reported that there was no college staff, teaching faculty, doctors and residents and most of the hospital was locked and on 20.05.2019, the Council received a representation from the college regarding impermissible and unauthorized permission by the UP DGME."
It further apprised the court that in view of the unsatisfactory explanation that was offered by the medical college authorities regarding discrepancies and deficiencies detailed, the Hearing Committee decided not to grant renewal of permission for admission of the 4th Batch of 150 MBBS students for the academic session 2019-20 which was considered by the MCI BoG.
After going through all the submissions made by both the parties, the Delhi HC bench of Justice Anu Malhotra stated,
"The contention of the petitioner that the DGME conducted the inspection on 13.5.2019 and that thus the MCI cannot take that inspection report into account cannot in any manner be accepted and the contention raised on behalf of the respondent No.1 that it is not in any manner precluded from calling upon the State Government so as to assist it in ascertaining the correct/authentic position when there was suspicion raised due to conflicting reports,- cannot be faulted with"
The judge noted that the MCI's decision to not grant 3rd Renewal of Permission for Admission of 4th Batch of 150 MBBS Students for the academic year 2019-20 was not faulty and hereby upheld the medical council's decision.
"In view of the discrepancies that had been brought forth through the inspection conducted on 25.11.2018 and 13.5.2019 with faculty deficiency of 83.7% & residents 65.16%, bed occupancy 19.2% apart from 6 other gross deficiencies, which this Court cannot overlook, it is apparent that the prayer made by the petitioner seeking the setting aside of the impugned order of the respondent No.1, the Board of Governors in supersession of the Medical Council of India, dated 31.5.2019 deciding not to renew the permission for admission to the petitioner institute under Section 10A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, for the academic year 2019-2020 cannot be faulted with…
…In view of the discrepancies that have been brought forth through the inspection report adverted to by the respondent No.1, the Board of Governors in supersession of the Medical Council of India, it is needless to consider all other aspects raised on behalf of either side…"