Vedantaa: How the First Private Ltd Private Medical College was derecognized
Mumbai: Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences in Palghar has been derecognized just two months after the state gave it a free hand to decide its fee structure. The de-recognition by the Medical Council of India came in the face of "large-scale" infrastructure deficiencies, and inadequate teaching staff. The council due to the existing deficiencies has effectively done away with student intake for the current year and those admitted may be transferred to other state colleges.
The institute was the first private limited medical college to make waves for charging the highest fee among the state’s private medical colleges.
Read also: No Fee Regulation on Vedanta Institute of Medical Sciences: Medicos Cry Foul
Meanwhile, the college moved the Bombay High Court against the Council inspection stating that teacher attendance on the day of the inspection was less due to a cyclone alert. The High Court directed a second Medical Council of India inspection. The MCI then moved the Supreme Court, which rejected the 2nd inspection plea put up by the college.
Read Also: SC sets aside HC order asking MCI to conduct inspection in college
The inspection carried out by MCI found that the college had whooping 84% faculty deficiency, 87% shortage of resident doctors. It also discovered that departments of pharmacology, forensic medicine, pathology, microbiology, and community medicine were under construction. The inspecting team found the bed occupancy to be 1% at 10 am, and numerous wards locked and inoperative.
Also, outdoor patient department (OPD) attendance data, and radiological and laboratory investigations were inflated.
On inspection day it was observed, that no daycare operation was in line, the labour room lay bare, the blood bank was not in operation, the library was closed, and the exam hall- under construction. The medical college did argue before the court that the inspection was carried at the time of Cyclone, but the theory was rejected by the Apex Court
"If they don't get permission by the time the first year results are announced, we will transfer the students to other private colleges," said Dr. Pravin Shingare, Head, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER)to the TOI
According to Shingare, MCI’s first nod for operations was given after a check of the essential requirements for the first year. But the ensuing inspection for granting the first admission renewal of students for the academic year 2018-2019 conducted on September 25 and 26, 2017, got a negative report from the inspectors.
After the Supreme court denied a 2nd inspection to the college the MCI's executive committee recommendations follow suit:
"In view of the deficiencies as noted above, the Executive Committee of the Council decided to recommend to the Central Govt. to invoke Regulation 8 (3)(1)(a) of the Establishment of Medical College Regulation, 1999, and disapprove the application of the Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences, Palghar, Maharashtra under the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences Nashik u/s 10A of the IMC Act, 1956 for renewal of permission of MBBS course 2nd batch (150 seats) for the academic year 2018-2019."
In April, the state had exempted this college from the Fee Regulating Authority (FRA) control. This had been done in line with the Centre's decision to encourage private companies with commercial interests to partake in the setting of medical colleges in the state.
Vedantaa had last year come up as Maharashtra's first medical college under a private limited company. All other private colleges and hospitals in the state are set up as trusts.
The state decided to not reimburse fee of reserved category students admitted to Vedantaa, as is done in other private colleges.
However, despite the DMER exemption to the college from the FRA, it was brought back into its purview when parents moved the FRA against this decision. This return into the FRA fold happened with the quasi-judicial body in one of its hearings ruling that as Vedantaa was a private professional college affiliated to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, it would fall under the purview of the FRA.