Relief for WTM Ayurvedic Medical College: Allahabad HC tells CCIM to re-examine college case for BAMS course
Lucknow: Holding that the impugned order by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) is arbitrary and the manner in which the decision has been taken suffers from the "vice of colourable exercise of power", Allahabad High Court has recently quashed an order by the Ministry of AYUSH denying the permission to WTM Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital for taking admissions to BAMS course for 100 seats of the Academic Session 2019-20.
The court directed the authorities to re-point out deficiencies to the ayurvedic college and give a personal hearing to ayurvedic college to finally arrive at the conclusion in a timely manner. While not interfering with the work of the authorities, the court noted that the authorities cannot reject the Ayurveda college without taking into account their submissions regarding their deficiencies on merit
"It is made clear that the Court has set aside the order not examining the deficiencies on merits, but on the process of the decision making, thus, the merits will be seen by the opposite party no. 1, who shall pass a fresh order strictly in accordance with law," the court noted
The direction came after the deliberation of a plea filed by the institute seeking to direct the AYUSH ministry to allow the institute in the tentative time schedule for online counselling (allotment process) for NEET 15 % AIQ private Institutions BAMS Seats, 2019-20 and to participate in the counselling process for admission against 100 UG BAMS Course for the academic session 2019-20.
The petitioner pointed out that it possesses a NOC for conducting a BAMS Course with 100 seats started in the year 2017-18 and was also granted permission for conducting second professional year for the academic session 2018-19. It also holds a provisional affiliation with Jyotibe Phule, Ruhelkhand University, Bareilly after inspection and verification of infrastructural facilities.
The medical college had filed in an online proforma for inspection and verification of its infrastructure facilities. A team appointed by the Central Council of Indian Medicine in March 2019 inspected the college and it was found that infrastructure examined matches as per the requirements of the visitors. The medical college was granted permission on 100BAMS seats via a letter on May 2019.
However, on some oral complaint, another surprise inspection was conducted and 17 deficiencies were pointed and a notice was issued pointing out the details of the deficiencies including higher faculty available in 10 departments against the requirement of 20 higher faculty, non-availability of part-time teachers, regarding the functionality of the hospital.
The medical college said that it addressed the alleged deficiencies and responded to the same in its reply submitted in July 2019, however, the response was not considered.
Alleging that the authorities have taken a diabolical stand and in lack of ample documentary evidence, deprived the college of permission to admit students for the current academic year. Further, the college wrote to the authorities with responses on deficiencies which was not responded to by the authorises.
In the meantime, the counselling for the Academic Year 2019-20 had commenced.
It is in this backdrop that the institution approached the court.
The court deliberated the submission by both the parties and noted that CCIM which conducts the visit had made the first visit and a report in favour of the petitioner-institution was issued upon which it was recommended for taking admissions for the Academic Year 2019-20. The court also noted that second inspection was conducted on the absis a complaint
However, no material has been brought on record or explained as to what was the nature of the alleged complaint, nor the opposite party could indicate as to what action has been taken against the visitors who had given the report in the month of March 2019 upon which the recommendation was issued in favour of the petitioner.
The court then pulled up CCIM on the two conflicting reports by its inspectors
If the opposite parties found sufficient merit in the alleged complaint which prompted it to go in for a second visit and after the second visit if the said deficiencies were pointed out which compelled the opposite parties to revoke the permission to take admission in the Academic Year 2019-20 then it was all the more incumbent upon the opposite parties to have taken action against the earlier visitors who faulted in issuing the report. Thus, either the first report or the second report could be correct but not both. Either way, it is the opposite party i.e. CCIM which is required to perform its statutory functions of making the visit and they ought to be more responsible for their actions.
The court found no merit in the justifications by CCIM
In the present case, neither the CCIM nor the Union of India has been able to justify their stand nor did they file any counter affidavit to bring on record any material to support their stand.
Justice Jaspreet Singh while referring to previous cases observed;
"The Respondents having failed to persuasively establish the said deficiencies, as noted in the impugned order dated 10.08.2017, in spite of opportunities available including the one granted by this Court, such a determination cannot be sustained in the facts and circumstances of the case. We are of the considered opinion that in view of the persistent defaults and shortcomings in the decision-making process of the Respondents, the Petitioner's college/institution ought not to be penalised. Consequently, on an overall view of the materials available on record and balancing all relevant aspects, we are of the considered opinion that the conditional LOP granted to the Petitioner's college/institution on 12.09.2016 for the academic year 2016-17 deserves to be confirmed." There is no dispute with the aforesaid proposition. However, in the instant case fair opportunity has been given and the reasons in detail were mentioned by the assessors and MCI. It was a case of repeated inspections having been made. In view of deficiencies found permission could not have been accorded for session 2018-19."
The court then directed the CCIM to point out the deficiencies once again and the respondent college to reply to those deficiencies
"It is made clear that the Court has set aside the order not examining the deficiencies on merits, but on the process of the decision making, thus, the merits will be seen by the opposite party no. 1, who shall pass a fresh order strictly in accordance with law."
"In view of the subsequent development i.e. passing of the order dated 02.09.2019, has been rendered infructuous and accordingly is dismissed, " the court added.