Delhi High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: In a case filed by a father of a student (‘petitioner’) challenging the validity and constitutionality of a Circular of the Government of NCT of Delhi/respondent 1 dated 27-07-2022 whereby the respondent 1 has mandated minimum 71% marks for admission in Science Stream in Class XI in respondent 2 School for the academic year 2022-23, Chandra Dhari Singh, J. upheld the validity of the circular stating that every school, including schools under State Government , has the liberty and autonomy to maintain the standards it has set out for itself and thus, laying down an eligibility criterion for admission in different classes cannot be said to be arbitrary or illegal.

Counsel for petitioner submitted that the petitioner belongs to OBC Category and shall be eligible for 5% relaxation in marks, as per the terms of Circular dated 07-02-2022, thus securing 81.80% in Class X CBSE examinations 2022, however, she was denied admission in the Science Stream stating the reason that she secured 69 marks in science and admission in Science Stream required a minimum of 71 marks, as per the impugned Circular.

It was also submitted that respondent 1 has issued different circulars for admission in Class XI in different types of schools under it and is hence, creating discrepancy in education between students studying in school run by the Government and is discriminatory in nature and hit by Articles 14, 21 & 21-A.

The Court noted that every school, including schools under the State Government , has the liberty and autonomy to maintain the standards it has set for itself. Laying down an eligibility criterion for admission in different classes cannot be said to be arbitrary or illegal. Moreover, this discretion lies with the school or any other authority under which the said school lies.

The Court further noted that since, the petitioner could not meet the eligibility criteria, she chose to challenge the criteria itself; however, such a challenge does not stand ground since the school had only exercised its discretion to set out the minimum requirements for admission in Class XI.

The Court rejected admission to the petitioner, in so far as the petitioner did not meet the eligibility criteria and nor was the relaxation for SC/ST/OBC and other categories available to her as per the admission requirements of the School, and thus, held that there is no error, illegality or impropriety found in the eligibility criteria provided for in the impugned circular.

[Natural Father Ravinder Singh v. Govt of NCT of Delhi, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2940, decided on 26-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For petitioner- Mr. Ashok Agarwal, Mr. Kumar Utkarsh and Mr. Manoj Kumar, Advocates

For respondent- Mr. Santosh K. Tripathi, Standing Counsel (Civil) for GNCTD with Mr. Arun Panwar, Mr. Siddharth Krishna Dwivedi, Mr. Pradeep and Ms. Mahak Rankawat, Advocates for R1/DoE


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Madras High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: G R Swaminathan J. directed the State to pay compensation of Rs 1 Lakh to a student who could not take admission in the medical course in the academic year 2021-2022 as he was unable to register his name on the portal for NEET counseling even after obtaining marks beyond cut off limit, due to poor internet connectivity.

The petitioner aspiring to be a doctor is aggrieved because even after securing 409 marks in NEET exam, he could not register his name on the portal on time because of poor internet connectivity and the server being busy. He later found that students who scored as low as 108 marks in NEET were allotted seats under the management quota. Thus, instant petition was filed under Article 226 praying to issue a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to give admission to the petitioner in any one of the Medical College under the Management Quota based on the petitioner’s NEET Examinations score.

The Court reaffirmed the stand of the counsel for respondent stating that it is not possible to direct the admission of the petitioner for any medical course for the academic year 2021-22 as the writ petition was filed in April 2022 .

The Court also remarked for the marks obtained by him was entitled to get admission in a medical course under management quota but could not because of online glitches. If the respondents adopted a dual mode of counselling, i.e., both physical and online, the situation could have been avoided and also,If the respondents had given the petitioner reasonable time to register himself in the portal, then probably, he could have made it.

Placing reliance on Asha v. PTBD Sharma University of Health Sciences, (2012) 7 SCC 389 and S Krishna Sradha v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2020) 17 SCC 465, the Court noted that Court must do complete justice between the parties, particularly, where the legitimate right of the Appellant stands frustrated because of inaction or inappropriate action on the part of the concerned Respondents and in an appropriate case the Court may award the compensation to such a meritorious candidate who for no fault of his/her has to lose one full academic year and who could not be granted any relief of admission in the same academic year.

Further reliance was placed on Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private Schools v. Justice for All, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 4351 of 2021, decided on 08-10-2021 to emphasize that the digital divide has produced stark inequality in terms of access to education. Children belonging to EWS/DG suffer the consequence of not being able to fully pursue their education and many may have to drop out because of lack of access to internet and computers.

The Court directed the State to pay a sum of Rs.1 lakh as compensation to the petitioner-student within a period of eight weeks and ensure that the selection process is conducted and finalized in such a way so as to ensure that incidents such as the one on hand do not recur.

[K Lal Bhagadhur v. Director of Medical Education, 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 3661, decided on 13-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. D. Srinivasaraghavan for Mr. S.M. Mohan Gandhi, Advocates, for the Petitioner;

Mr. V. Om. Prakash, Government Advocate, for the Respondents.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

NLU Delhi
Law School NewsOthers

The Centre for Transnational Commercial Law (CTCL) invites applications for its flagship Diploma Course on “Insolvency and Bankruptcy: Law and Practice” (DIB). This course aims to introduce legal and secretarial practitioners and academicians to the insolvency laws in India as conceptualized within the larger family of commercial laws. The last date to apply has been extended till August 1, 2022 (11:59 pm IST). The duration of the post graduate diploma is from August 2022 to July 2023 (12 months).

Professor M. S. Sahoo, Former Chairperson, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, Distinguished Professor, National Law University Delhi, serves as the mentor for the course and Dr. Risham Garg, Associate Professor of Law, Director, Centre for Transnational Commercial Law, National Law University Delhi is the director of the course.

The course is beneficial for not only students and academicians but also professionals and stakeholders working in the areas of tax, revenue and law.

The interested candidates may apply to the course through the following process:

(i) payment of fees at online Payment Link:  HERE

(ii) fill up registration form at the online link along with payment details: HERE

(iii) email screenshot/proof of fee/receipt to cirp@nludelhi.ac.in

 

More information can be found in the brochure HERE  and on the NLU Delhi official website: HERE .

The course focuses on juxtaposition of the legal principles and propositions within the realm of entrepreneurship followed with development of a cumulative and comprehensive understanding of insolvency laws in the context of entrepreneurship. The course also aims to acquaint and equip the participants with the practical skills relevant to insolvency laws in Indian courts along with the requisite negotiation and problem-solving skills.The course aims to facilitate the participants with an in-depth understanding and hands-on approach in relation to the legal and practical aspects of insolvency and bankruptcy. The course has the following as its learning outcomes:

  • It aims to discuss clear, coherent and speedy process for early identification of financial distress and resolution.
  • It seeks to impart skills required to practice insolvency law with effective draftings & pleadings and negotiations with parties by providing a comprehensive and holistic outlook.
  • It will encourage the participants to engage in critical scholarship on issues of law and policy.
  • It will inculcate sound understanding of best practices in the fields of legal and professional ethics

 

The course shall employ flipped learning pedagogy involving the 5-quadrant approach with live lectures, discussion forum or asynchronous mentoring, recorded audio and video, e-learning material and self-study hours including assessment. Majority of lectures shall be delivered by leading industry practitioners.

Media Contact:

Sania Ashraf

Communications Officer

9643106998

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Subhash Vidyarthi, JJ., dismissed a Special Appeal which assailed the dismissal of a writ petition by a Single Judge holding the same as not maintainable.

The son of the deponent of the writ petition appeared in the entrance test on March 20, 2022 held for the admission as Resident Scholar in the educational institution in question i.e. La Martiniere College, Lucknow for taking admission in Class-VIII. Result of the entrance test was declared on March 25, 2022 and he was declared successful to get admission in Class-VIII as Resident Scholar. Due to some compelling circumstances i.e. serious illness of the mother of the candidate and his father being out of town for the purposes of service, the student could not get admission in Class-VIII as Resident Scholar, therefore, an application was preferred by the father of the candidate to the Principal of the Institution on April 04, 2022 through e-mail that instead of treating his son as a Resident Scholar, he may be given admission as Day Scholar as he was ready to complete all required formalities including the fees. 

Counsel for the appellant/writ petitioner, submitted that the father of the candidate had not been informed about the fate of the admission of his son till April 18, 2022, therefore, he filed a writ petition which was dismissed placing reliance on the Supreme Court judgment of Committee of Management, La Martiniere College Lucknow v. Vatsal Gupta, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 743 where it was held that the institution being an unaided minority private institution, therefore, the writ petition against such institution may not be entertained. 

The Court dismissed the special appeal holding that they were in full agreement with the observations and findings of such judgment. However, the Court observed that if the admission of the student-appellant for Class- VIII for that he was admittedly qualified was not possible as Day Scholar student as he had qualified such entrance examination for Resident Scholar, at least specific information to this effect must be provided to the parents of such student at the earliest so that appropriate steps could be taken by the parents of such student. The Court further stated that in such compelling circumstances, at least on the basis of principles of equity, it was bare minimum required on the part of the Principal of the institution to apprise the parents of the student that the institution would be unable to provide admission to their ward in Class-VIII as a Day Scholar student.  

Expressing displeasure towards the approach of the Principal of the institution the Court opined that they should have been immediately informed about such fact so that such student could get his admission in any other institution for receiving proper education inasmuch as to receive proper education is a Fundamental Right enshrined under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India.

[Tanishk Srivastava v. State of U.P., Special Appeal No. – 294 of 2022, decided on June 8, 2022] 


Counsel for Appellant :- Satendra Kumar Singh 

Chief Standing Counsel for State Respondents: Ms Deepshikha


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a relief to students seeking admission in AIIMS Institutes, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and AS Bopanna, JJ has directed that a roster point-based reservation for preferential candidates as followed by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) shall be implemented in all the AIIMS institutes.

AIIMS, New Delhi, submitted before the Court that a roster point-based reservation can be followed for preferential candidates. However, the actual roster point for AIIMS would be different from that of JIPMER. The Court agreed to the submission and observed that the roster points need not be similar to that of JIPMER.

The directions came in the petition filed by a registered AIIMS, Bhopal and the candidates who have appeared for INI-CET examination seeking roster wise/discipline wise seat allocation for institutional preference candidates who seek admission via INI-CET examination. The petitioners had argued before the Court that they are losing out on their preferred discipline as no mechanism for allotment of seats for institutional preference is specified.

[STUDENTS ASSOCIATION AIIMS, BHOPAL v. AIIMS, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 681, order dated 13.05.2022]


For petitioners: Dr Charu Mathur, AOR

Tanvi, Adv

Sanjay Kumar Dubey, Adv

Arvind P. Datar, Sr. Adv.

Pranjal Kishore, Adv.

Rahul Unni Krishnan, Adv.

Paranjay Tripathi, Adv.

Aditya Jain-1, AOR

For Respondent(s): Dushyant Parashar, AOR

Manu Parashar, Adv.

Gaurav Sharma, AOR

Dhawal Mohan, Adv.

Prateek Bhatia, Adv.

S.K. Dubey, Sr. Adv.

K.V. Mohan, AOR

Rajmangal Kumar, Adv.

Rishabh Kr. Thakur, Adv.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai*, JJ., held that the permission granted to start Post Graduate course for the upcoming academic year after removal of deficiency cannot efface the deficiencies that were found in the previous academic year. Holding the impugned concurrent findings of the Courts below per incuriam, i.e. being passed in complete disregard of relevant judicial precedent, the Bench remarked,

“We are at pains to say that though the judgment in the case of Ayurved Shastra Seva Mandal (supra) was specifically relied on by the appellant herein, the learned Single Judge and the Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka have chosen to rely on the earlier judgments of the Division Bench of the same High Court rather than a judgment of this Court.”

The Karnataka Ayurveda Medical College (respondent) had applied to the Central Council for Indian Medicine (appellant) for permission to start Post Graduate course for the academic year 2014-15. The appellant granted permission to start five new Post Graduate Ayurvedic disciplines with five seats each in accordance with the then prevalent Indian Medicine Central Council (Post-Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2012 which was superseded by the Regulations, 2016.

Consequently, the central government directed the appellant to inspect the facilities available with the respondent in accordance with the relevant Regulations and submit its recommendations and the inspection report to it. The appellant inspected the facilities available with the respondent and pointed out certain deficiencies. Accordingly, a notice was issued to the respondent by central government and after hearing the respondent the central government rejected permission to admit students to the Post Graduate courses for the academic year 2018-19 on the ground of non availability of Central Research Laboratory and Animal House as mandated by the Regulations, 2016.

Findings of the High Court

Aggrieved by the aforesaid decision of the central government, the respondent approached the Karnataka High Court; however in the interregnum, the central government granted permission to admit students for the Post Graduate Course for the academic year 2019-20. Consequently, the High Court, while relying on the decisions of the Division Bench of Karnataka High Court in Bahubali Vidyapeeths JV Mandal Gramin Ayurvedic Medical College v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 3537 and Central Council of Indian Medicine v. Union of India, 2011 SCC OnLine Kar 1389, wherein it was held that if the permission was granted for the subsequent years, the benefit should enure in respect of the previous year also, allowed the said writ petition.

Issue before the Court

The appellant submitted that merely because for the subsequent academic year, the requirements were fulfilled, it could not efface the deficiencies that were found in the previous academic year since the minimum standards, as required, are to be fulfilled for the particular academic year and in the event, such minimum standards are not fulfilled, the institution would not be entitled for permission for the relevant academic year.  Hence, the appellant argued that the view taken by the High Court did not lay down a correct proposition of law.

Analysis and Findings

Chapter IIA containing Sections 13A to 13C by the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2003, which deals with “Permission for new Medical College, Course, etc.” lays downs that no medical college can open a new or higher course of study or training, including a postgraduate course, except with the previous permission of the Central Government. Similarly, Regulation 3(1)(a) of the 2016 Regulations specifically provides that the Ayurveda colleges established under Section 13A and existing under Section 13C and their attached hospitals shall fulfill the requirements of minimum standard for infrastructure and teaching and training facilities up to 31st December of every year for consideration of grant of permissions for undertaking admissions in the coming academic session.

Therefore, the Bench observed that if an institution is seeking grant of permission for undertaking admissions for the academic session 2022-23, it must fulfill the requirements of minimum standard as on 31st December 2021. Consequently, the Bench opined that the finding that the permission granted for a subsequent academic year would also enure to the benefit of earlier academic year though the said institution was not fulfilling the criteria of minimum standard was totally erroneous.

Reliance was placed by the Court on Ayurved Shastra Seva Mandal v. Union of India (2013) 16 SCC 696, wherein though the Court noted that a large number of students had applied for admission for the academic year 2011-12 with the leave of the Court, it was held that the privilege granted to the candidates could not be transformed into a right to be admitted in the course for which they had applied and the contention that since the deficiencies stood already removed and the permission was granted for the academic year 2012-13, the said permission should also be construed as having been granted for the academic year 2011-12, was rejected.

Hence, the Bench concluded that the High Court had grossly erred in not taking into consideration the scheme of the Act so also the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Ayurved Shastra Seva Mandal (supra). Accordingly, the impugned judgments and orders were quashed and set aside.

[Central Council for Indian Medicine v. Karnataka Ayurveda Medical College, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 437, decided on 11-04-2022]


*Judgment by: Justice B.R. Gavai


Appearance by:

For the Appellant: Aishwarya Bhati, ASG

For Union of India: Madhavi Divan, ASG

For the Respondent: Chinmay Deshpande, Advocate


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the issue relating to the reservation of 50% Super Specialty seats for in-service candidates in Government Medical Colleges in the State of Tamil Nadu, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ has refused to extend the interim protection which was granted for the academic year 2020-2021

The Supreme Court had, on 27th November, 2020 directed that counselling for admission to Super Specialty medical courses for the academic year 2020-2021 shall proceed without providing for reservation to in-service candidates/doctors. The Court had specifically observed that the process for admissions to Super Specialty medical courses started on 3rd August, 2020, and it was made clear to all the competing candidates that there shall be no reservation to Super Specialty medical courses.

The impugned G.O. was issued on 7th November, 2020, i.e., after the admission process had begun.  Hence, what weighed with this Court while passing the interim order dated 27th November, 2020 was that the rules of the game were changed after the admission process had begun. However, the Court had specifically clarified that it had not expressed any opinion on the validity of said G.O. It also made amply clear that the said direction would be operative only for the academic year 2020-2021.

The Court, hence, held that no case was made out for continuing the interim protection which was granted for the academic year 2020-2021 vide interim order dated  27th 24 November, 2020. The State of Tamil Nadu would, however, be at liberty to continue the counselling for academic year 2021-2022 by taking into consideration the reservation provided by it as per the said G.O.

[N. Karthikeyan v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 331, decided on 16.03.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice BR Gavai


Counsels

For appellants: Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave, Shyam Divan and Gopal Sankaranarayanan

For UOI: ASG Aishwarya Bhati

For State of Tamil Nadu: Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan and AAG Amit Anand Tiwari

For In-service Doctors: Senior Advocate P. Wilson


Also read

No reservation for in-service doctors in Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020-2021; holds SC

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Moushumi Bhattacharya, J. decided on a petition which was filed being aggrieved by a notice cancelling a provisional eligibility list and the revised scores and ranks which were made available on the website of the Board.

Writ petitioners have served as nurses in government hospitals and seek to be placed in the Trainee Reserve category in colleges offering Post-graduate and graduate degree courses. A “Trainee Reserve” seat is a coveted post since the Trainee Reserve gets full pay from the Government and is not required to take leave from service for the duration of the course.

Petitioners applied for Post Basic B.Sc. (Nursing) courses as Trainee Reserve candidates. They were aggrieved by a notice cancelling a provisional eligibility list dated 23-11-2021 and the revised scores and ranks which were made available on the website of the Board on 03-12-2021. They challenged the unilateral cancellation of the list published on 09-11-21 and the consequential change of marks and rank in the revised Rank Card without notice to the petitioners.

The affidavit of the Board indicated that the Answer Keys sent by the West Bengal University of Health Sciences were not separated in two separate parts and that the Board decided to issue the notice dated 23-11-2021 cancelling the provisional list pursuant to considering the requests of candidates who had personally approached the Board on 18-11-2021. The affidavit sought to absolve the Board of any error or latches and put the blame on the West Bengal University of Health Sciences. It also mentioned that the writ petition suffers from misjoinder and non-joinder of necessary parties since the West Bengal University of Health Sciences has not been made a party to the Writ Petition. Further, writ petitioners cannot challenge the first round of counselling after having participated in the same.

The affidavit of the State contains a statement that a technical error took place at the time of evaluation of the OMR sheets. They were compelled to cancel the provisional list on 23-11-2021 since the Board cancelled the merit list.

The Court considered the view that the petitioners were entitled to relief. It should be reiterated that the petitioners’ ranked and scores were sufficient to secure seats in the Trainee Reserve Category in the Government colleges even without the petitioners undergoing the counselling process. The respondents, particularly the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board were directed to consider the ranks and scores of the petitioners as published on 09-11-2021 before the said list was cancelled by the notice dated 23-11-2021 for placement in the available vacant seats for admission to the Post Basic Bask (Nursing) and M.Sc (Nursing) courses.[Soumi Das v. State of West Bengal, 2022 SCC OnLine Cal 401, decided on 01-03-2022]


Mr Parha Sarathi Das and Mr Hafiz Ali, Advocates for the petitioners

Mr Swapan Kumar Dutta and Mr Dipankar Das Gupta, Advocates for the State

Mr Amitava Chaudhuri, Mr Moniruzzaman, Mrs Mololeena Chaudhuri and Mr N. Roy, Advocates for WEJEEB.


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Sujoy Paul and Arun Kumar Sharma, JJ., quashed the National Medical Commission’s decision rejecting L.N. Medical College & Research Centre’s application for increase of MBBS seats. Opening the decision to be beyond the jurisdiction of the NMC, the Bench stated,

“…language of statute is plain and clear that the decision of the Board must be based on the touch-stone of yardsticks mentioned in Section 29. A room for any doubt that CBI’s self contained note by no stretch of imagination can be a reason for approving or disapproving the scheme or to disallow an application.”

Factual Backdrop

The instant petition challenged the order of National Medical Commission (NMC) dated 10-01-2022 whereby, the request of the petitioner institution for increase of MBBS seats for the MBBS -UG Course from 150 to 250 for the current academic year 2021-22 was turned down.

By placing reliance on the relevant portions of Section 28 & 29 of the NMC Act the petitioner submitted that the NMC was obliged to take a decision regarding approval or disapproval for increase of seats by taking into account the criteria mentioned in Section 29 of the said Act.

The petitioner argued that on the one hand, increase of seats for the petitioner’s institution was declined on the basis of CBI’s letter dated 22-07-2021 and on the other hand, other colleges who were similarly situated were given the benefit of increase of seats institution. The petitioner submitted, even otherwise, pendency of CBI enquiry/investigation could not be a ground to deny approval to petitioner institution as there was no expressed substantive provision empowering the authorities to do so.

The petitioner submitted that even during inspection the shortage of teaching faculty was found to the tune of only 1.25% (2 out of 159) which was negligible in a case of sudden inspection. While the infrastructure facility, clinical material, library, laboratory and teaching faculties were found to be adequate.

Findings and Opinion

Section 28 of the NMC Act makes it clear that the Medical Assessment and Rating Board was required to take a decision to approve or disapprove the scheme of establishing any course or increase of numbers of seats based on the criteria mentioned in Clause (a) to (d) of Section 29 of the said Act. Therefore, oping that CBI’s self contained note by no stretch of imagination could be a reason for approving or disapproving the scheme, the Bench held that NMC declining increase of seats was based on a reason beyond the scope of Section 28 and 29 of the NMC Act.

Appreciating the petitioner’s submission that the penalty imposed in the impugned order was without authority of law as the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 do not permit the NMC to impose such a punishment. Hence, in the absence of any enabling provision in the governing statute, the Bench held that the punishment imposed could not sustain judicial scrutiny.

On the issue of there being available alternate remedies, the Bench observed that the since the impugned order was outside the scope and ambit of the NMC Act, the petitioner could not be relegated to avail the remedy of appeal under Sub Section 5 of Section 28 of the Act. Moreover, the  impugned order contained singular reason based on CBI’s self contained note and despite the fact that said note contained the name of petitioner college and other five colleges, the respondents had granted benefit to People’s College and Index Medical College which was also in that list. Hence, the decision was discriminatory also and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Relying on Whirlpool Corporation vs. Registrar of Trade Marks, (1998) 8 SCC 1, the Bench stated that the statutory remedy is not a bar for exercising of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution if order is passed without following principles of natural justice, it hits any fundamental right, passed by an incompetent authority or constitutionality of a provision is called in question, in such cases, despite availability of alternative remedy, writ petition can be entertained.

Conclusion

In the light of the above, the Bench held that since the CBI’s self contained note could not form basis for ‘letter of disapproval’, there was no justification in sending the matter for consideration to the appellate authority. Further, since very short time was left for the next counselling, the Bench concluded that the petitioner could not be relegated to avail the alternative remedy of appeal.

Hence, applying wednesbury principles, the Bench quashed the impugned order. The NMC was directed to take a fresh decision on the application of petitioner for increase of MBBS seats from 150 to 250 strictly within the four corners of Section 28, 29 and other provisions of NMC Act before 08-02-2022. [L.N. Medical College & Research Centre v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine MP 204, decided on 03-02-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant ha reported this brief.


Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: Siddharth Radhe Lal Gupta, Advocate

For Union of India: J.K. Jain, Assistant Solicitor General

For National Medical Commission:  Anoop Nair, Advocate

For State of Madhya Pradesh: Akshay Pawar, Advocate

Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: P.B.Suresh Kumar, J., held that the requirement for Medical students who had studied abroad to undergo CRRI for obtaining permanent registration under State Medical Register was inconsistent with prevailing provisions.

Background

The petitioner, an Indian citizen enrolled for obtaining medical qualification without obtaining Eligibility Certificate insisted in terms of Section 13(4B) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, which she obtained later on in 2017. She graduated in 2019, thereupon, she underwent one year internship in the various teaching hospitals under the Dubai Health Authority.

The petitioner cleared the Screening Test in terms of Section 13(4A) of the IMC Act in order to become eligible to be enrolled in a State Medical Register in India as well and applied for permanent registration under State Medical Register. Her application for registration was rejected by the State Medical Council, the Council insisted on requirement of Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship (CRRI) in any one of the medical institutions approved by the Medical Council of India for foreign medical graduates before granting permanent registration to them in terms of Ext.P21 decision taken by the State Medical Council on 20-10-2017 in order to ensure that they learn and gain clinical experience and exposure about the epidemiological and clinical profile of local community.

Analysis and Findings of the Court

In the backdrop of above, the Court was to address following questions:

  1. Whether a person who has not undertaken internship as part of the medical course undertaken by him/her abroad is eligible to appear in the Screening Test provided for under Section 13(4A) of the IMC Act?

Regulation 11 of Screening Test Regulations, 2002 provides that candidates who qualify the Screening Test may apply to any State Medical Council for provisional or permanent registration and the State Medical Councils shall issue provisional registration to such candidates, who are yet to undergo one year internship in an approved institution and issue permanent registration to such eligible candidates who have already undergone one year internship. Therefore, internship is not insisted for appearing in the Screening Test and the only requirement for appearing in the Screening Test is that the candidates should possess a primary medical qualification.

Noticing that the State Medical Council did not have a case that the petitioner did not possess a primary medical qualification as defined in the Regulations at the time when she applied for and cleared the Screening Test, the Bench held that the stand of the State Medical Council that only students who had completed internship as part of the medical course undertaken by them in the medical institution abroad were entitled to appear for the Screening Test was unsustainable.

  1. Whether a person who obtains Eligibility Certificate after taking admission in a medical institution abroad, be denied enrolment on a State Medical Register, if he/she satisfies all other eligibility criteria for the same?

On the issue that the petitioner had obtained Eligibility Certificate only after taking admission in the medical institution abroad, the Bench observed that the Council had no case that the petitioner would not have been issued Eligibility Certificate, had she applied for the same before taking admission for the medical course in the medical institution abroad.

Section 13(4B) of the IMC Act itself provides that in case any person obtains any medical qualification without obtaining Eligibility Certificate, he shall not be eligible to appear for the Screening Test concerned. Noticing the fact that the petitioner was permitted by the competent authority i.e. Indian Medical Council to appear for Screening Test and the fact that she had cleared the Screening Test were not disputed by the State Medical Council,  the Bench remarked,

“True, the State Medical Council, while considering applications for registration, both provisional and permanent, has the power to verify whether the candidate has obtained Eligibility Certificate, but that does not mean that the State Medical Council is empowered to adjudicate the right of a person to obtain Eligibility Certificate and to appear for the Screening Test, ignoring the decisions taken by the Medical Council of India in this regard.”

Accordingly, the stand of the Council that the qualification obtained by the petitioner could not be regarded as one in accordance with the provisions of the IMC Act as she had not obtained Eligibility Certificate before taking admission, so as to become eligible to be enrolled as a medical practitioner in the State Medical Register was held to be unsustainable.

  1. Whether a person who obtains a medical qualification from a medical institution abroad and undertakes one year internship thereafter in the country of education and satisfies all other eligibility criteria for enrolment on a State Medical Register be insisted to undergo CRRI for the said purpose?

As per the IMC Act and Regulation 11 a person who obtains medical qualification granted by medical institutions outside India recognised for enrolment as medical practitioner in that country and who clears the Screening Test in terms of Section 13(4A) of the IMC Act, is entitled to be enrolled as a medical practitioner on any State Medical Register, if he has already undergone one year internship.

Since the fact that the petitioner had obtained a medical qualification granted by a medical institution in a country outside India recognised for enrolment as medical practitioner in that country and the fact that she had cleared the Screening Test were not in dispute, including the fact that the petitioner had completed one year internship after acquiring the primary medical qualification, the Bench held that the State Medical Council was obliged to grant permanent registration to the petitioner and they could not insist that the petitioner should undergo CRRI for the said purpose.

  1. Whether the State Medical Council is empowered to take decisions in the nature of Ext.P21?

Opining that a person who is entitled to registration in a State Medical Register in terms of the provisions of the IMC Act could not be denied registration by the State Medical Council, and the medical qualifications of foreign medical graduates who satisfy the requirements in the said provision are deemed to be recognised medical qualifications for the purpose of the IMC Act, the Bench was of the view that the requirement in terms of Ext.P21 that such medical graduates should undergo CRRI for claiming permanent registration was inconsistent with the requirement in terms of the IMC Act and also the Regulations.

“The IMC Act is one relatable to Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and the TCMP Act is one relatable to Entries 25 and 26 of List III of the Seventh Schedule.   In other words, Ext.P21 decision of the State Medical Council being inconsistent with the provisions contained in the IMC Act, the same is invalid and unenforceable.”  

Conclusion

In the result, the writ petitions were disposed of directing the State Medical Council to permit the petitioner to apply for the permanent registration, and if applied, grant permanent registration to the petitioner without insisting her to undergo CRRI. [Sadhiya Siyad v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 3954, decided on 20-10-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance by:

Counsel for the Petitioner: Santhosh Mathew, Arun Thomas, Jennis Stephen, Vijay V. Paul, Karthika Maria, Veena Raveendran, Anil Sebastian Pulickel and Divya Sara George

Counsel for the State: Titus Mani and N.Raghuraj, SC, TCMC & KNMC

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai* and Krishna Murari, JJ has refused to grant any relief to the students who were admitted to the 1st  year Professional MBBS course for the Academic Session 2016-2017 in Glocal Medical College, in contravention of the Notification that provided that the admissions were to be done only through the centralized admission process and not by way of private counselling.

The review petitioners had argued before the Court that they were duly qualified to be admitted inasmuch as, they had cleared the NEET examination. The review petitioners were admitted through the counselling conducted by the Glocal Medical College and had also cleared the 1st year and 2nd year examination.

However, the MCI as well as the State of Uttar Pradesh, submitted on the other hand that the Glocal Medical College, being very well aware about the Notification dated  22.8.2016, had conducted private counselling, which was not permissible in law and as such, the review petitioners, who entered through backdoor entry, are not entitled to any equitable relief.

Rejecting the review petitioners’ contention that the Notification dated 22.8.2016 is only an administrative instruction and therefore not binding, the Court held that the private counselling by Glocal Medical College was conducted contrary to the Notification issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh, which, in turn, was based on the judgment in Modern Dental College and Research Centre v. State of Madhya Pradesh,  2016 SCC OnLine SC 373, decided on 2.5.2016.

3-member oversight committee constituted to oversee the functioning of MCI

Further, the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court vide judgment dated 15.9.2016 had negated the challenge to the Notification dated 22.8.2016.

Hence, in the light of this position, it was not at all permissible for the Glocal Medical College to have   conducted   private counselling.

“The admissions which were conducted through the said private counselling cannot be termed as anything else but per se illegal.”

Further, MCI vide order dated 27.1.2017 had discharged the said students, who were not admitted through centralized admission process.  25 students admitted in the same college, who were admitted through the centralized admission process, were very much absorbed by the DGME in other colleges. Hence, the contention of the review petitioners that they came to know about the discharge order 21 dated 27.1.2017 issued by MCI only when they had filed a petition in the High Court in 2019 does not stand to reason.

In such scenario, the Court found it difficult to appreciate as to how the results of the students were declared for the 1st year MBBS examination, how they were admitted in the 2nd year MBBS course and how they cleared the 2nd  year MBBS examination, despite the fact that MCI had discharged the students vide order dated 27.1.2017.

Refusing to show any sympathies to students who had entered through backdoor, the Court held,

“The Notification issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh on the basis of the law laid down by this Court clearly provided that the admissions were to be done only through the centralized admission process.  Glocal Medical College in contravention of the said Notification conducted private counselling, which was not at all permissible in law. The students cannot be said to be ignorant about the Notification issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh.”

[Abdul Ahad v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 627, decided on 17.08.2021]


*Judgment by: Justice BR Gavai

For Review Petitioners: Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul

For MCI: Advocate Dhawal Mohan

For State of Uttar Pradesh: Advocate Ankit Goel

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of R.D. Dhanuka and R.I. Chagla, JJ., addressed a petition revolving around the Right to Education Act, 2009.

In the instant petition, petitioner sought directions against respondents 1 and 2 to forthwith grant admission to his son as per the allotment letter issued to the petitioner by the competent authorities under Right to Education Act, 2009 in Standard I during the academic year 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Petitioner’s son was issued a certificate of disability of persons with autism by Nair Hospital and sometime in the year 2019, he applied for online admission of his son under the RTE Act, 2009.

Later, respondents 3 and 4 granted admission to petitioner in the respondent 1 school. The admission was granted after verification of the documents submitted before the committee.

Further, the petitioner made a representation to the Education Department informing that though the petitioner had visited the respondent 1 school in the month of August, 2019, the Administrative Officer refused to grant admission to the petitioner in spite of the letter of allotment issued by the authority. Hence the petitioner filed the present petition.

Analysis, Law and Decision

It was noted that respondent 2 had been granted a certificate of ‘minority education institution’ within the meaning of Section 2(g) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution Act, 2004 on 17-02-2020 and respondents 1 and 2 were issued a letter in favour of the petitioner for granting admission to the son of the petitioner in the respondent no.1 school much prior to the date of such certificate.

Hence, respondents 1 and 2 were thus required to comply with the said directives issued by the competent authority within the time prescribed therein which was much prior to the said date of certificate.

Upon raising a query upon the learned counsel for respondents 1 and 2 whether any other students had been admitted by respondents 1 and 2 prior to the date of obtaining such certificate dated 17-02-2020 under the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009, learned counsel fairly on instructions states that four students were admitted prior to 17th February, 2020 based on the directives issued by the Education Department under the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009.

Counsel for respondents 1 and 2 could not dispute that the respondents could not have cancelled the admission once granted to the petitioner on the ground of minority status granted subsequently.

Bench opined that respondents 1 and 2 cannot be allowed to take advantage of such certificate obtained after committing default in complying with the directives which were already issued prior to the date of such certificate.

The disobedience of the directives issued by the Education Department cannot be condoned by obtaining certificate as minority education institution subsequently.

Medical certificate by the petitioner indicated that the recommendation made by the Department of Psychiatry were that the petitioner’s son should continue in a regular school with various further advise.

Therefore, Court directed the respondent 1 and 2 to comply with the directives issued by the Education Department and to grant admission to the son of the petitioner in respondent 1 school within one week.

In view of the above, petition was disposed of. [Ashish Patel v. Edubridge International School, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 1587, decided on 5-08-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr C. R. Sadasivan, a/w. Mr Anup Dhannawat for the Petitioner.

Mr Pradeep Bakhru, a/w. Ms Upasana Vasu i/b. M/s.Wadia Ghandy & Co. for the Respondents 1 and 2.

Mr Milind More, Additional Government Pleader for the State – Respondents 3 and 4.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao and Krishna Murari, JJ., dismissed the instant petition for grant of permission for Medical Colleges after observing infrastructural and faculty deficiencies. The Bench remarked,

“It is clear that gross deficiencies still exist in spite of the affidavits and undertakings filed on behalf of the State of Jharkhand. No action has been taken to improve the situation.”

Central government had identified three Districts in the State of Jharkhand namely Dumka, Hazaribagh and Palamu for establishing new Medical Colleges. Pursuant to which State of Jharkhand was granted essentiality certificates to all the three proposed Medical Colleges. Later on, Medical Council of India (MCI) had, after multiple warnings and assessments revoked the permission for allotment of students to Medical Colleges on the ground of several infrastructural and faculty deficiencies. Consequently, all the three colleges had approached the Supreme Court for grant of permission.

Similarly, a petition was also filed by the students who appeared in NEET, MBBS Examination, on being aggrieved by the decision of MCI not to grant approval for admissions to the three Medical Colleges. The grievance of the Petitioners was that 300 seats out of 580 medical seats in the State of Jharkhand were allotted to the above named three Medical Colleges. If permission was not granted to the three Medical Colleges for making admissions for the academic year 2020-2021, the chances of the Petitioners pursuing medical course would reduce.

The Bench observed that establishment of Medical Colleges at Dumka, Palamu and Hazaribagh was an initiative taken by the State of Jharkhand to bolster the availability of medical seats in the State which would increase the number of Doctors in the State. However,

“Perusal of the facts mentioned above would show that not much interest has been taken by the State in ensuring that the necessary faculty, infrastructure and other facilities are improved.”

On 20-08-2019, an affidavit was filed by government of Jharkhand that certain deficiencies had been rectified and the remaining shall be rectified within a period of three months. However, in the inspection conducted by the MCI to consider the renewal of permission for MBBS second batch of students for the academic year 2020-2021 gross deficiencies were found to exist in all the three Medical Colleges. Considering the above mentioned, the Bench said that permission could not be granted for allotment of students to Medical Colleges which lack the necessary infrastructure and facilities.

Observing that gross deficiencies still exist in spite of the affidavits and undertakings filed on behalf of the State of Jharkhand and no action had been taken to improve the situation, the Bench directed state to rectify all the deficiencies that had been pointed out by the MCI at the earliest and make an application for renewal of permission for admission of the second batch of MBBS students for the academic year 2021-2022.

In the light of above, the instant petition was dismissed.

[Dumka Medical College v. Medical Council of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 122, decided on 16-02-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao* and Krishna Murari, JJ., addressed the plight of NEET students. The Bench stated,

“Decision of government not to reduce minimum marks for admission was propelled by extraneous considerations like sufficient number of Dentists being available in the country and the reasons for which students were not inclined to get admitted to BDS course which remits in the decision being unreasonable. Consideration of factors other than availability of eligible students would be the result of being influenced by irrelevant or extraneous matters.”

Observing the scarcity of qualified aspirants, Dental Council of India had recommended lowering of qualifying cut off percentile for admission to (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) BDS course for the academic year 2020-2021. Pursuant to which the Petitioners had submitted a representation to government seeking to lower the qualifying cut off percentile. Recommendation of the Council had been rejected by Government which led to filing of the instant petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.

Proviso to Sub-Regulation (ii) of Regulation II of the Regulations is as follows:

“Provided when sufficient number of candidates in the respective categories fail to secure minimum marks as prescribed in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test held for any academic year for admission to BDS Course, the Central Government in consultation with Dental Council of India may at its discretion lower the minimum marks required for admission to BDS Course for candidates belonging to respective categories and marks so lowered by the Central Government shall be applicable for the said academic year only”.

Whether demand to reduce qualifying cut off was rightly rejected?

Proviso to Sub-Regulation (ii) of Regulation II had empowered government to exercise its discretion to lower minimum marks only when sufficient numbers of candidates fail to secure minimum marks. Government could not for any purpose other than the one specified in the proviso to Regulation II (5) (ii). There were three reasons given for the decision not to lower minimum marks by the state:

  • Available seats vis-à-vis eligible candidates were 1:7 and therefore there was no dearth of eligible candidates.
  • Sufficient number of Dentists in India. There was one Dentist for every 6080 persons which was better than the WHO norms of 1 : 7500.
  • Lack of keenness of students to join BDS and inability to pay exorbitantly high fees charged by private colleges

On the submission of existence of seven candidates against one seat, the Bench observed that this calculation of the State was without taking into account the fact that admissions for UG AYUSH and other UG medical courses were included in the NEET for the first time from in 2020. Total number of seats available for the academic year 2020-2021 for MBBS were 91,367, BDS were 26,949 and AYUSH were 52,720 making it a total of 1,71,036 seats. Whereas, the NEET qualified candidates were 7,71,500.

It did not appear that while arriving at decision not to lower minimum marks, the State had consulted the Council in accordance with the proviso to Sub-Regulation (ii) of the Regulation II. Hence, ratio of seats available vis-à-vis eligible students was 1 : 4.5 and not 7. Noticing the above, the Bench stated,

“Decision which materially suffers from the blemish of overlooking or ignoring, wilfully or otherwise, vital facts bearing on the decision is bad in law. There is an implicit obligation on the decision maker to apply his mind to pertinent and proximate matters only, eschewing the irrelevant and the remote.”

The Bench concurred with the argument of the petitioners that lowering minimum marks and reducing percentile for admission to the first-year BDS course would not amount to lowering the standards of education Considering the fact that minimum marks had been reduced by the State for super speciality courses for last year and AYUSH courses for the current year, the Bench expressed,

“If reducing minimum marks amounts to lowering standards, the State would not do so for super speciality courses.”

Hence, the Bench directed that vacant seats in first year BDS course for the year 2020-2021 should be filled up from the candidates who had participated in the NEET after lowering the percentile mark by 10 percentile. The petition was disposed of with further directions to Managements of private Dental Colleges to consider reducing fee charged by them to encourage students to join the Colleges.

[Harshit Agarwal v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 64, decided on 08-02-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

*Judgment by: Justice L. Nageswara Rao

Appearances before the Court by

For petitioners: Senior Advocate Maninder Singh and advocate Krishna Dev Jagarlamudi

For Union of India: Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where a Medical College illegally denied admission to a candidate to Post-Graduate Medical Specialty course of MS for the academic year 2020-2021, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao* and Hemant Gupta, JJ has directed the College to pay a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to the candidate and to reserve a seat for her for the next academic year.

 

SC directs a Medical College to pay 10 lakhs compensation to a candidate for illegally denying her admission

Brief Background

Respondent was given provisional admission a seat in Kamineni Academy of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Hyderabad under Management quota. According to the provisional allotment order, Respondent No.1 was required to report before the Principal of the Medical College by 04:00 PM on 30.07.2020. In case of failure to report within the prescribed time, the provisional selection shall be automatically cancelled.

According to the Respondent, in spite of her approaching Medical College along with her father on 29.07.2020 and 30.07.2020 for submission of certificates and payment of tuition fees as well as college fees, the admission was not completed. On 30.07.2020, the last date for admission into PG Medical Courses was extended till 30.08.2020. She then made an attempt to meet the Chairman of the Medical College on 07.08.2020 but was not permitted to meet the Chairman.

Subsequently, another candidate who was 2000 ranks below the Respondent was granted admission.

The High Court for Telangana directed the National Medical Commission/ Medical Council of India to create or sanction one seat in MS (General Surgery) for the Respondent and further directed the Medical College to grant her admission to the in MS (General Surgery) course.

Analysis

Contradictory stands by the Medical College

A perusal of the counter affidavit filed by the Medical College showed contradiction in the pleadings. On one hand, it is stated that Respondent and her father did not approach the College either on 29.07.2020 or 30.07.2020 for the purpose of admission. However, in it’s counter the Medical College has also stated Respondent had approached the College on 29.07.2020 to enquire about the admission procedure and the requisite fee.

The Court, hence, noticed that there was no reason to believe that Respondent did not approach the Medical College for admission, especially after paying the University Fee on 29.07.2020.

Admission to a candidate 2000 rank below the Respondent

The last date for admission to the PG Medical Courses for the academic year 2020-2021 was extended from 30.07.2020 to 30.08.2020. Another candidate, who is 2000 ranks below the Respondent, was granted admission on 11.08.2020 to the seat which was provisionally allotted to Respondent.

The Court noticed that there was nothing on record to show that the Medical College followed the procedure prescribed by the Regulations for filling up the seat due to non-joining. As the last date for admission has been extended beyond 30.07.2020, there was sufficient time for the Medical College to inform the Respondent to come and join in the seat that was allotted to her provisionally. In case of refusal by Respondent to join, it was incumbent upon the Medical College to have followed the merit list and offered the seat to doctors who were immediately ranked below the Respondent.

“The manner in which Respondent No.2-College acted in depriving admission to Respondent No.1 and giving admission to Respondent No.5 on 11.08.2020 is deplorable. The Managements of the Medical Colleges are not expected to indulge in such illegalities in making admissions to Medical Courses.”

High Court’s direction for creation of a seat

The Court reiterated that directions cannot be issued for increasing annual intake capacity and to create seats. The annual intake capacity is fixed by the Medical Council of India (now National Medical Commission) which has to be strictly adhered. Admissions to Medical Colleges cannot be permitted to be made beyond the sanctioned annual intake capacity of a medical college.

A balancing act of granting relief to both the candidates  

The Court found itself in a catch 22 situation where it could neither direct the Medical College to grant admission to the Respondent for this academic year as the last date for admissions was 30.08.2020, nor could it cancel the admission of the other candidate who was allotted the Respondent’s seat as he might not have known about the denial of admission to Respondent illegally.

Disapproving the practice of the Medical College in picking up students for granting admission without following the merit list, the Court refrained from disturbing the admission granted to the other candidate.

However, considering that the Respondent has lost one precious academic year for no fault of hers, the Court directed that

  1. she has to be compensated with Rs.10 Lakhs to be paid by the Medical College within a period of four weeks from the date of the decision.
  2. one seat in MS (General Surgery) course from the Management Quota of the Medical College for the next academic year (2021-22) shall be granted to her.

[National Medical Commission v. Mothukuru Sriyah Koumudi,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 992, decided on 07.12.2020]


*Justice L. Nageswara Rao has penned this judgment 

For the candidate: Advocate K. Parameshwar
For National Medical Commission: Advocate Gaurav Sharma
For the Medical College: Advocate Siddhant Buxy
Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has directed that that there will be no reservation in Super Specialty Medical Courses to in-service doctors for the academic year 2020-2021.

The direction reads,

“… the counselling for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020- 2021 shall proceed on a date to be fixed by the competent authority without providing for reservations to in-service doctors for the academic year 2020-2021.”

Facts considered

  • The information bulletin for admission to Super Specialty Courses for the academic year 2020-2021 was issued on 03.08.2020. Point 5.16 of the bulletin provided that there shall be no reservations of seats for Super Specialty DM/MCH Courses.
  • The NEET Super Specialty Examination was conducted on 15.09.2020 and the results were declared on 25.09.2020.
  • Counselling was scheduled to commence on 08.10.2020.
  • The Medical Counselling Committee issued the counselling scheme for 100 per cent All India Quota for NEET Super Specialty DM/MCH DMB 2020-2021 in which it was made clear that there shall be no reservation for Super Specialty Medical Courses.
  • The State of Tamil Nadu issued a Government Order dated 07.11.2020 by which a decision was taken to reserve 50 per cent of the Super Specialty seats in Government Medical Colleges in the State of Tamil Nadu for in-service candidates.
  • Kerala Medical Officers Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Act, 2008 provides for 40 per cent reservation for in-service doctors in admission to the Super Specialty Medical Courses. Admittedly, the Act was not implemented for the years 2017-2019. By the impugned order, the Kerala High Court directed the concerned authorities to carry out the provisions of the Act and provide reservation to in-service Doctors. However, the State of Kerala has shown its inability to implement the said Act for admission to the Super Specialty Medical Courses for the current academic year i.e. 2020-2021.

Arguments against in-service Reservation

It was argued that the information bulletin made clear to the candidates that there shall be no reservation for admission to Super Specialty Courses. They further contended that the Rules of the game cannot be changed mid-stream and no reservation can be provided for this academic year i.e. 2020-2021 as the procedure for selections for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses commenced a long time back.

It was also brought to Court’s notice that the 5-judge bench decision in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India2020 SCC OnLine SC 699[1] was not applicable as the information bulletin for admission to Super Specialty Courses for the academic year 2020-2021 was issued on 03.08.2020 and the judgment that was delivered on 31.08.2020, clearly stated that the judgment shall operate prospectively.

Arguments supporting in-service Reservation

It was argued that administrative inconvenience cannot be a ground to interfere with the order passed by the High Court directing implementation of reservation to in-service doctors in accordance with the Kerala Medical Officers Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Act, 2008.

Further, the Constitution Bench in its judgment in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 699 only saved the admissions which have already been made. As the admissions for the year 2020-2021 have not been completed, the said judgment has to be implemented for admissions to the academic year 2020- 2021.

What the Supreme Court said

The Court noticed that the process for admissions to Super Specialty Medical Courses started on 03.08.2020 and it was made clear to all the competing candidates that there shall be no reservation to Super Specialty Medical Courses. Hence,

“The Government order issued by the State of Tamil Nadu on 07.11.2020 reserving 50 per cent seats for in-service doctors would be detrimental to the interests of the meritorious Doctors as 50 per cent of the available seats in the State of Tamil Nadu in Super Specialty Medical Courses will not be available to them.”

Rejecting the submission that nobody will be prejudiced if the Government Order is given effect to, the Court said that there will be reduction of 50% of seats in Super Specialty courses in Tamil Nadu if the Government Order is carried out, which is detrimental to their chances of admission.

The Court also took note of the fact that the Kerala Medical Officers Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Act, 2008 providing for 40 per cent reservation for in-service doctors in admission to the Super Specialty Medical Courses has not been implemented for the years 2017-2019. And the State of Kerala has shown its inability to implement the said Act for admission to the Super Specialty Medical Courses for the current academic year i.e. 2020-2021.

In the State of Tamil Nadu too, no reservation for in-service Doctors was implemented since 2016.

The Court, hence, held

“As the admission process is at the final stages, we cannot permit reservation for in-service Doctors for this year.”

[Dr. Prerit Sharma v. Dr. Bilu B.S.,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 961, decided on 27.11.2020]


For appellant: Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and Shyam Divan

For National Medical Commission: Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

For Union of India: Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain

For State of Kerala: Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta

For State of Tamil Nadu: Senior Advocates C.S. Vaidhyanathan and V. Giri,

For Respondents in the Appeal arising out of SLP (C) No.13670-13672 of 2020: Senior Advocate Mr. P. Wilson

For Respondent in Appeal arising out of SLP (C) No.12891 of 2020.: Advocate George Varghese Perumpallikuttiyil

[1] The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India2020 SCC OnLine SC 699 held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in States and that only States are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate degree courses.
Holding that States have the legislative competence and/or authority to provide for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate degree/diploma courses, in exercise of powers under Entry 25, List III, the bench observed that
“…policy must provide that subsequent to obtaining the postgraduate degree by the concerned in-service doctors obtaining entry  in degree courses through such separate channel serve the State in the rural, tribal and hilly areas at least for five years after obtaining the degree/diploma and for that they will execute bonds for  such  sum the   respective  States  may   consider   fit  and  proper”
The Court, however, specifically   observed   and   clarified   that the present decision shall operate prospectively, and any admissions given earlier taking a contrary view shall not be affected by this judgment. (Read more…)

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that the NRI quota for admission to private medical colleges is neither sacrosanct, not inviolable in terms of existence in any given year, or its extent and the same can be done away with it by the state regulating authority by giving reasonable notice of such a decision to enable those aspiring to such seats to choose elsewhere, having regard to the prevailing conditions.


FACTUAL MATRIX


  • On 17.03.2020, when the NEET PG Medical & Dental Admission/Counselling Board (the Board) convened the meeting attended by representatives of all participating colleges (including private medical colleges offering seats in the postgraduate medical courses in Rajasthan), the unanimous thinking was to offer NRI/Management seats to the extent of 15% of the total admission intake.
  • When the provisional seat matrix was published on 10.04.2020, it did not indicate that those opting for admission exclusively as NRI candidates would be considered as belonging to any other category.
  • On 11.04.2020, the private colleges sent their final matrix to the board. This matrix, unbeknown to the NRI candidates, proposed deletion of the NRI quota.
  • In the circumstances, when the final matrix was published for each college detailing the quotas for individual disciplines, the original earmarking for NRI candidates was absent.
  • On 14.04.2020, a notification was issued by Board stating that that the seat matrix for the current year would not contain the NRI Quota in the private medical colleges of Rajasthan. It read as

“Seat Matrix (13.04.2020) available at the website (compiled on the basis of seats information provided by respective colleges) does not have any NRI seat this year. The candidates who have applied for allotment on NRI seats will accordingly be considered based on their remaining eligibility criteria.”


ARGUMENTS


The students had argued that having held out to all NRI candidates about the availability of seats for that quota as well as the sequence of filling up those seats, at the penultimate hour, the board could not have decided unilaterally or even permitted colleges unilaterally to withdraw the NRI quota seats altogether.

The counsel appearing for the private colleges, on the other hand, urged that the decision not to offer an NRI quota in medical colleges in the state of Rajasthan was voluntarily and consciously taken, given the extraordinary and unusual situation created by the pandemic. The explanation given by the colleges was that in their assessment, NRI quota seats might not have been filled up to the normal expected levels and in the circumstances, it was more appropriate to merge the seats earmarked for NRI candidates with the management seats.

“The accommodation of NRI quota candidates who had opted to be treated as such, in the admission process was transparent and uniform in that all of them were considered on merits for the management quota seats. Thus, there was no real prejudice suffered by such NRI candidates.”


WHAT THE COURT SAID


On PA Inamdar Verdict and its applicability

The four crucial elements in the NRI quota, per PA Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 6 SCC 537 are: one, the discretion of the management (whether to have the quota or not); two, the limit (15%); three, that seats should be available for genuine and bona fide NRI students, and lastly that the quota was to be filled based on merit. However, there is nothing in PA Inamdar to say that a 15% NRI quota is an unqualified and unalterable part of the admission process in post graduate medical courses.

On scope of discretionary power of private medical colleges on NRI quota

A combined effect of the provisions of the Medical Council of India Act and regulations with respect to admissions (which have been progressively amended in respect of eligibility for admission to courses, procedure for admission, etc.) and the decisions of this court, is that private colleges and institutions which offer such professional and technical courses, have some elbow room: they can decide whether, and to what extent, they wish to offer NRI or management quotas (the limits of which are again defined by either judicial precedents, enacted law or subordinate legislation).

However, the discretion of private managements who set up and manage medical colleges cannot be left to such an untrammelled degree as to result in unfairness to candidates. Undoubtedly, these private institutions have the discretion to factor in an NRI or any other permissible quota. Yet that discretion should be tempered; if the discretion to have such a quota is exercised, it should be revised or modified reasonably, and within reasonable time.

On the facts of the case

This case presents some unusual features in that the admission calendar appears to have been thrown out of gear on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. The NEET written test was held in January, and the results were declared on i.e. 31.01.2020. At that stage, and soon thereafter till the end of March, the thinking of the colleges and the board appears to be that the NRI quota in private medical colleges would be maintained (evident from the minutes of meeting dated 17.03.2020).

In terms of the board’s notification of 10.04.2020, the NRI students’ documents were to be verified on 14.04.2020. Apparently, immediately a day after that notification, on 11.04.2020 to be precise, the private colleges en masse appear to have decided not to proceed with the NRI quota and instead ‘merge’ it with the 35% management quota seats, and proceed to fill them entirely based upon rank based merit of the management quota candidates arranged in terms of their ranking and performance in the NEET. NRI candidates were to be treated as management quota candidates, and their applications too, considered on the basis of their overall merit in that category.

Considering the abovementioned facts, the Court noticed that

“Viewed in isolation, this decision is perfectly valid; it gives one the impression that NRI students were not prejudiced. Undoubtedly, the decision to abolish the NRI quota was exclusively within the scope of the private institutions’ decision-making. Yet what is apparent is that by this time, the NRI students had not only started applying for counselling, but had also submitted all their documents for verification to determine their eligibility for the NRI quota seats, and in a sense, committed themselves as candidates for NRI quota seats in Rajasthan for whatever perceived advantages they could reasonably see in their favour. Hence, when the matter stood thus, when the final seat matrices were published on 13.04.2020, it acted to the unfair detriment of these NRI students.”

On relief to the students

In the circumstances of this case and to do justice to all the parties, the Court directed that a special counselling session should be carried out by the board, confined or restricted to the seats in respect of which admissions were made pursuant to the single judge’s directions.

In this counselling session,

  • The board should ensure participation of the concerned colleges; the counselling shall be a limited one, confined only to the number of seats offered and filled as a result of the single judge’s judgment.
  • Such seats shall be offered to the NRI applicants solely on the basis of merit; the seats vacated by such merited students (in the other disciplines) shall then be offered to the beneficiaries of the single judge’s orders.
  • If for any reason, such students (i.e. lower down in NRI merit, who are offered seats in other disciplines) do not wish to take up the offer, the college concerned shall refund the fee collected from such student.

The Court also made clear that this special round of counselling should not disturb those admissions, where students had accepted the deletion of the NRI quota, and were accommodated in the management quota, unless they had approached the court at the earliest opportunity, in April 2020, before the judgment of the learned single judge. The entire process shall be completed with a week.

[Nilay Gupta v. Chairman NEET PG Medical and Dental Admission/Counselling Board 2020 and Principal Govt. Dental College,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 819, decided on 09.10.2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ ‘reluctantly’ dismissed an SLP arising out of a Allahabad High Court order which held that the students with certificates from ‘bogus and fictitious’ organisations cannot be allowed to continue pursuing their courses at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (APJAKTU).

The Court said,

“We do have sympathy but this is not a case where we can really translate our sympathy to a relief in the present case, more so, in view of the fact that since this exam system is found to be fraudulent, the petitioners before us will never have a recognized plus two status and to give such students the opportunity to get a degree from the University will create a great anomaly.”

The Court also took noticed that the Jharkhand State open exam process itself appears to be a complete fraud. It also faulted the University for not carrying out an appropriate verification as also the State Government “which should have kept a watch for such fraudulent exam systems which operate out of one room”.

The Court, hence, asked the University and the State Government to take immediate corrective action and also bring the defaulters to book.

On being apprised that the continuation on the website of the recognition of the Board is not only creating a problem in Jharkhand but also in other Universities and hence immediate steps should be taken in this behalf, the Court asked all concerned to do the needful within three days.

[Sahil Sohail v. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 719, order dated 07.09.2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., urged the Bar Council of India to amend its Rule 5 in order to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5-year course or 3-year law course, as the case may be.

The instant petition sought a direction to respondents with regard to the admission of the petitioner in the 3-year LL.B degree course during the academic year 2019-2020.

The petitioner applied for the three years L.L.B. Degree Course under the MBC category and the petitioner on obtaining necessary cut off marks.

Petitioner at the time of counselling was informed that he was not eligible to be considered for selection on the ground that he did not satisfy requirements laid under Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules. Hence the present petition was filed.

What does Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India talk about?

Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules makes it very clear that an applicant must graduate through a regular programme conducted by a University for the purpose of being considered for admission in the 3 year Law Course.

However, the proviso, which should be considered as an exception to the main Rule, expands the eligibility. The proviso makes it clear that even the applicants who have obtained Higher Secondary or Under Graduation through Distance Education will also be eligible for admission for the 5-year course or the 3-year course, as the case may be.

Further, it has been added that a person who has not completed 10th cannot qualify for 10+2, a person who has not completed 10+2 cannot qualify for UG and a person who has not completed UG cannot qualify for PG. This is the literal meaning for the explanation appended to Rule 5 of Bar Council of India Rules

Court made the observation that as per the existing Rules, the petitioner is eligible for being considered as a candidate for the 3 year B.L Course subject to the condition that the petitioner again participates in the selection for the academic year 2020-2021 and obtains necessary cut off marks.

Bench while disposing of the petition also stated that,

Necessary changes in Rule 5 should be made to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5 year course or 3 year course, as the case may be.

In the absence of the same, persons who have not even gone to the regular school or college will get into a law college for the first time in their life and that may not be a healthy trend to maintain the quality of education in Law.

The Bar Council of India should seriously take this suggestion into consideration and make necessary changes to the Rule.

[M. Krishnakumar v. Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2017, decided on 19-08-2020]

Uttarakhand High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Manoj K. Tiwari, J., dismissed a writ petition that was filed by the petitioner who was serving as Medical Officer in Community Health Centre. She had participated in NEET-PG for admission to Masters Degree Course in Medicine and according to her, she was entitled to admission against the P.G. seat in General Medicine Course in Government Medical College, Haldwani by virtue of more marks; but, the said seat had been wrongly allotted to respondent 5.

The counsel for respondent 2, Shailendra Nauriyal contended that since petitioner had not got herself registered with the Counseling Board for admission to P.G. Courses while respondent 5 had got herself registered, the petitioner’s claim could not be considered for admission during first counseling. He further submitted that the petitioner got herself registered with the Counseling Board for second counseling and, in second counseling; she has been allotted to a Pediatrician Course in Government Medical College.

The Court while dismissing the petition stated that Petitioner herself is to be blamed for not applying for registration at the relevant point of time. No one can claim to be given admission only in Government Medical Colleges, especially when common counseling is held for admission to Government as well as Private Medical Colleges and admission would be given as per score of marks in NEET-PG. [Sushmita Ringwal v. State of Uttaranchal, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 495, decided on 18-08-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together