MCI decision on Medical Colleges should be given earlier than May: Supreme Court tells Council, Govt
New Delhi: Taking strict cognition of substandard medical education imparted by unequipped medical institutions, the Supreme Court recently made a striking judgment cancelling the admission to 550 MBBS seats in four self-financing medical colleges in Kerala.
In addition, the apex court was also seen directing the Medical Council of India as well as the Central Government to expedite the inspection and the decision making process so as to at least 3-4 months’ time should be available for the medical college to seek judicial review of the action or reinspection, if any, so warranted by the MCI or Government of India..
“It is high time for the MCI to ensure its functions well and eradicate all the loopholes and decide the case within a reasonable time and not to lend the colleges in a situation with no legal remedy available once case is decided at the fag end of the academic session on 31st May. We are constrained to observe that it would be appropriate that MCI and Government of India take a decision in all the cases at an early date and not by the end of May 2018. The next academic session has to commence from first of July of the Gregorian calendar year as such at least 3-4 months’ time should be available to seek judicial review of the action or reinspection, if any, so warranted by the MCI or Government of India.”
The observation came as a byline to the recent supreme court decision debarring 4 kerala medical colleges from admission after an appeal was filed by the Medical Council of India against an order of the Kerala High Court which allowed MBBS admissions to 4 self-financing medical colleges including Al Azhar Medical College, Thodupuzha; Wayanad DM Medical College; P K Das Medical College, Palakkad and SR Medical College, Varkala.
The SC bench led by Honourable Justice Arun Mishra, taking cognizance of the poor infrastructure at the said medical colleges upheld the MCI report that these colleges failed to met the necessary guidelines. The court reiterated the important regulations on the inspection process
“In case there are gross deficiencies, more than prescribed in regulation for the concerned batch then the compliance verification would not be considered in the same academic year. Regulation 8(3)(1)(a) shall be applicable to an institution which has been established and is at the stage of second renewal of permission and in case deficiency of faculty and/or residents are found more than 30% and/or bed occupancy is found less than 50%, institute shall not be given opportunity to rectify such deficiency in same academic year. In case discrepancies are less, then the opportunity is afforded to make compliance. In the case of recognition, an opportunity of compliance has to be given as per Regulation 8(3)(1), once recognition is denied no admissions can be made.”
“At the time of inspection faculty should be present barring certain exceptions otherwise the very purpose of the inspection would be defeated. The Report of the Assessors cannot be lightly faulted and the court cannot sit in an appeal and go into disputed facts. There were other deficiencies too but due to the aforesaid gross deficiencies, the provisions of regulations 8(3)(1)(b) were clearly attracted.”
Reaching its verdict, the Supreme Court slammed the HC for giving the rebate to these medical colleges while quashing the order issued by Government of India. The apex court stated, “The High Court has gravely erred in law while passing the impugned judgment and order in quashing Government’s order, allowing the admissions for the academic session 20182019 without there being Government of India’s permission and the recommendation of the MCI. The High Court has issued direction for fresh inspection and thereafter the MCI to consider the report after the grant of opportunity to remove defects if any.” The SC added,
“Firstly, it could not have issued such a direction in view of regulations and also the blanket direction that college should be permitted to remove the deficiencies if any found. Deficiencies can be removed, if found, within the permissible limits as provided in regulation 8(3), not in a case Regulation 8(3)(1)(a) or (b) is attracted. Thus, such kind of general direction issued without considering the provisions of the Regulations are wholly illegal and unwarranted and on inspection, the decision has to be taken in accordance with law as per regulations.
Obviously, regulations would come into play as per outcome of an assessment. It cannot be predicted in advance what would be the outcome of inspection to decide in advance opportunity of removal of deficiencies. There may be a case where deficiencies are found by Assessors to be gross as contemplated in the proviso to Regulation 8(3) (1), they cannot be removed in that year. Even otherwise, the Court could not have at all ordered the admissions, as directed in the instant matter.
High Court at the same time has ordered inspection and if the deficiencies are found to exist then the MCI and Government of India have been given liberty to take appropriate decision. Such orders may ruin the entire career of the students. Once permission to admit students is granted, it should not be such conditional one.”
Firmly, the apex court made a remark on the substandard medical education which is rampantly being conveyed by the unequipped medical institutions while violating several rules and regulations drafted over the years, and stated, “Considering the deficiencies, it would be against the efficacious medical education and would amount to permit the unequipped medical college to impart medical education without proper infrastructure and faculty, patients serve as the object of teaching by such an approach ultimately interest of the society would suffer and halfbaked doctors cannot be left loose on society like drones and parasites to deal with the life of patients in the absence of proper educational training. It would be dangerous and against the right to life itself, in case unequipped medical colleges are permitted to impart substandard medical education without proper facilities and infrastructure.”
Ultimately, holding that the decision not to grant permission to these colleges for admission in the year 2018-2019 as appropriate, the SC gave its decision in favour of the MCI while allowing its appeal and setting aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court. It also added that it “would be open to the colleges to stake their claim for permission for admission for next academic session i.e., 2019-2020, in accordance with law.”
Attached is the judgment below: