Terming the state of medical colleges in the country as “rotten”, the Supreme Court imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on an Odisha-based private medical college for raising the number of seats from 100 to 150 in an academic year and “playing with the future of students”.
“Costs of Rs 5 crores are imposed on Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) for playing with the future of its students and the mess that it has created for them. The amount will be deposited by KIMS in the Registry of this Court within six weeks from today.
“The amount of Rs 5 crores so deposited towards costs shall not be recovered in any manner from any student or adjusted against the fees or provision of facilities for students of any present or subsequent batches,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and N V Ramana said.
The bench, however, protected the students who were admitted in the year 2015-16 in the courses run by the medical college administration.
“The admission granted to the 50 students pursuant to the order of the High Court dated September 25, 2015 and the provisional permission granted by the central government only on September 28, 2015 shall not be disturbed.
“How the students will complete their course of studies without putting undue pressure on them is entirely for MCI and KIMS and other concerned authorities to decide,” it said.
The top court also restrained KIMS from increasing the intake of students from 100 to 150 for the MBBS course for the academic year 2016-17 and 2017-2018.
The order came on an appeal filed by MCI challenging the Orissa High Court’s verdict which had permitted KIMS to admit additional 50 students in academic year 2015-16.
The private medical college had moved the High Court, challenging MCI’s order disallowing admission in MBBS and BDS streams citing lack of adequate infrastructure.
Referring to the factual aspects of the case, the court said that “this appeal is yet another chapter in the sordid saga of admissions to medical colleges. Undoubtedly, there is something rotten in the state of medical colleges.”
“Unless the concerned Ministries in the Government of India take a far more proactive role in ensuring that medical colleges have all the necessary facilities, clinical materials, teaching faculty, staff, accommodation etc the health of the people of our country will take a hit in the coming years due to inadequately educated doctors. Quality in medical education is equally important, if not more, than quantity,” the bench said.
Questioning the inspection procedure of medical colleges, the court said Medical Council of India (MCI) should, in consultation with the Centre, prepare a Standard Operating Procedure for conducting an inspection as required by the Medical Council of India Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999.
“The Standard Operating Procedure should be finalized within a period of six weeks from today and should be accessible on the website of the MCI.
“To introduce transparency and accountability in the medical colleges, the report or assessment of the Inspection Team should be put on the website of the concerned medical college as also on the website of the MCI so that potential students are aware of what is likely to be in store for them,” the bench said.