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Violation of MCI rules: Gujarat HC refuses to regularise 15 MBBS admissions

Violation of MCI rules: Gujarat HC refuses to regularise 15 MBBS admissions

Ahmedabad: Upset with the violation of rules and regulations set by the Medical Council of India (MCI) on the centralized process of MBBS admission; the Gujarat High Court has denied relief to a medical university seeking regularization of admissions of 15 students. These seats had been given by petitioner Parul University to students on its own accord, after the same had become vacant from the Centralized Process of Admission.

The MCI had called for discharging of these 15 students from MBBS courses and the court recently held the MCI decision

The court expressed its anguish over the fact that every year when the admissions for the medical courses commence, it has had the occasion to witness chaos. The bench disappointedly stated, “This is yet another example where the Court needs to express its anguish over insensitivity of the college in admitting students flouting the set rules and regulations of the centralized process of admission. The issue that arises for consideration before this court is whether the petitioners could have on their own granted admission to 15 students on the seats which became vacant on withdrawal of admissions by the students who were initially allotted admission in the Centralized Process of Admission.”

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The bench’s observation came in view of the petition filed by the Parul University in 2018 seeking directives from the HC that 15 candidates who were admitted to the MBBS course by the varsity should be regularised as MCI has ordered to discharge them. It submitted that these students were admitted after the same number of other students had withdrawn their admission they had secured through centralised admission process.

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Before admitting the students on its own, the varsity said that it informed Admission Committee for Professional Undergraduate Medical Educational Courses (ACPUGMEC) to furnish a merit list so that in the eventuality of the seat falling vacant, the University can fill the same by offering the same to the next meritorious candidate.

Despite such request and in absence of any active response from the ACPUGMEC and since the time frame of 31.08.2017 was fast approaching, the University had no alternative but issue an advertisement in two newspapers inviting applications from meritorious students, the counsel appearing on behalf of the university submitted adding, “In absence of any complaint or grievance by the 15 students who withdrew their admissions voluntarily even after persuasive letters to them and in absence of any grievance by them, the MCI had no business to direct the petitioners to discharge these students.”

Now, during the recent hearing, the ACPUGMEC submitted that the medical college uploaded the information of the fresh MBBS admissions on the ensued vacancies on the portal of the MCI without informing the Committee.

It contended against the case of the petitioners that the student was admitted in an NHL Municipal College with merit number 17440 which is a prized college as far as Government Seats are concerned, whereas, the petitioner institute had admitted students with merit between 4816 to 16697.

The counselling authority pointed out to the bench that in absence of a clear picture of the actual vacant seats the ACPUGMEC could not have acted on the request of the institution. It cannot be said that merely because the 15 students have not complained the petitioners, can be absolved of having not disclosed the whole group before the Admission Committee and only have uploaded the list on the MCI Website

“In view of the unequivocal provisions of the Regulations and in absence of any written permission from the admission committee and in absence of the evidence produced, the stand of the MCI that there was breach of regulations and therefore the students be discharged was just and proper,” the ACPUGMEC added in its submission.

Taking note of all the contentions and submissions made by the counselling authority and the varsity, the bench put down two questions for consideration– whether the petitioners could have on their own granted admission to the 15 students on such vacant seats and whether the petitioners are justified in praying for a writ of mandamus for a direction that the counselling committee should endorse the admission of 15 students.

The bench observed that as per the MCI regulations on MBBS admission process, the varsity could not have carried out the process of admission on their own.

The omission or purposeful non-compliance is compounded by the fact that the petitioners directly uploaded the list of these 15 candidates on the website of the Medical Council of India without intimation to the ACPUGMEC. The Medical Council of India is so informed by a letter of 05.09.2017 and a hard copy is given on 07.09.2017. The entire episode therefore has to be viewed with great circumspection. Without keeping the respondent committee in the loop and after the process of the admission has closed, the institute informs the committee as if it is a fait accompli.

The bench deemed the submission made by  ACPUGMEC as right that the conduct of the petitioners has to be viewed with suspicion inasmuch as there was a concerted effort not to follow the regulations and on the basis of a helpless situation sought to be projected by the withdrawal of 15 students, the vacancies are filled in through an advertisement blatantly ignoring the regulations.

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The court observed that even merit has been compromised in the admission process conducted by the university further implying that the MCI’s decision and the ACPUGMEC stance are not at fault.

the petitioner institution has kept the respondent no. 1 committee completely uninformed till the last date of admission in the form of exact details of the candidates who were to withdraw from the petitioner institution. Such information was only given after the time frame had passed and also after the petitioner institution had independently advertised for a fresh round of selection on these 15 vacant seats. The ACPUGMEC was not even formally informed about the advertisement beforehand and only the format was sent after it was published with the details of the students who had withdrawn….

…The petitioners therefore cannot seek shelter of the committee’s inaction when the regulations clearly stipulated that the petitioners could not have given such admissions on their own. The Medical Council of India’s affidavit and the regulations relied upon mandated the procedure that had to be followed i.e. the conduct of counseling through the State. The petitioners under the pretext of being rushed through on the last minute have surreptitiously inducted 15 students without the process of law and therefore such 15 students need to be discharged forthwith from pursuing their MBBS degree as directed by the communications dated 31.10.2017 and 12.03.2018 by the parent body i.e. the Medical Council of India. The blatant defiance of the institution is writ large and that they have played with the future of the students is apparent that even when as early as on 31.10.2017 the Medical Council of India had directed them to discharge the students, it persisted with its stand in the face of the mandate of regulation 5(A) of which it was made aware.

The Court though conscious of the impact on the career of the students who are almost midway through the course; stated–

it is important for this Court to ensure that the regulations of the Medical Council of India are fully followed and not to overlook the arbitrary exercise of power by the concerned authorities/colleges….

…This Court cannot shut its eye towards strict adherence to time schedule prescribed, process of selection and to the rule of merit, more particularly when the admissions are for medical seats which are secured after a tough competitive entrance examination. The Court cannot be oblivious to the fact that the candidates, though have admittedly passed the NEET Examination, they have bypassed meritorious candidates ranked higher in rank in the said exam than them.

Expressing its anguish, the bench held,

the action of the petitioners has completely frustrated the purpose and object of the Act and the Rules which are framed to ensure fair, transparent and non-exploitative procedure for admission. Thus, when the petitioners have given admission to the students contrary to the rules, the petitioners are not entitled to any relief as prayed for in the present petition.

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