Kochi: private medical colleges do not have the authority to hold back MBBS certificates of merit candidates who do not do one-year compulsory service. This was a clear cut observation made by Kerala High Court in its recent judgement. The court has also upheld that the college cannot withhold certificates submitted at the time of admission, but can only insist on compensation.
The above stated ruling was given after considering an appeal (WA No. 493/2017) filed by MES Medical College at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram challenging a single bench’s order of February 20 this year. The bench had considered a petition filed by 32 students challenging their college’s decision hold back their MBBS certificates along with others submitted at the time of admission.
Relying on an agreement signed between the college management and the parents at the time of admission, the management argued that they had the right to keep back the candidate’s MBBS certification as well as the other certificates.
According to the management’s counsel, it had the right to retain certificates submitted at the time of admission or the MBBS certificate earned by the students upon completion of the course under clause 8 of the agreement.
Furthermore, the college management said that they were authorized to take bonds from the students and their guardians including one for compulsory rural service. In accordance with the bond if the student did not comply with the condition of doing rural service after completing his/her MBBS, the management can withhold certificates till fulfillment of the promised service, the court was informed.
The agreement clauses state that certificates submitted at the time of admission will be released only after completion of one year compulsory employment or after payment of Rs. 13 lakh as compensation.
With regards to holding back of the MBBS certificate by the management, the court observed,
“On a simple reading, clause (8) which learned counsel for the appellant concedes as the only source of authority to withhold the MBBS certificate, in our opinion, cannot be accepted on the face of it. This clause clearly stipulates that it deals with certificates submitted by the candidates “at the time of admission”. The MBBS certificate is not a certificate deposited at the time of admission. Rather, it is earned upon completion of the course. Thus, this clause does not contemplate any such withholding of MBBS certificate.”
Further the court went ahead to state that the management did not have the complete right to withhold all certificates, however, it could seek the compensation. “We are in agreement with the learned single judge whereby, the learned single judge having referred to the prospectus, government order and the agreement entered into between the management and the government held that the clause of withholding the certificates is not contemplated by either of them. What is contemplated is only a monetary compensation for non-performance of one year of compulsory employment. This position stands abundantly clear from a combined reading of clauses (8), (9) and (10) as well. Thus, we find no reason to take a different view in the matter,” the division bench stated reports TOI.