Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A vacation bench comprising of Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra, JJ. granted relief to the States of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh by allowing them to admit fresh batches of students in the MBBS course for the upcoming academic session 2018-2019.

Earlier, the Central Government, basing its decision on the report of Medical Council of India (MCI), had denied permission of renewal to various Government colleges in the above-mentioned three States, owing to deficiencies in infrastructure. The States challenged the decision of the Central Government. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 14-6-2018, had directed the concerned State Governments to file affidavits regarding the deficiencies pointed out by MCI, and the steps to be taken for removal of the same within a specified time limit.

When the matter was heard on 18-6-2018, the affidavits filed by Principal Secretaries to the three Governments were tendered across the bar. In their affidavits, all the Governments had given details about the steps being taken to rectify the deficiencies pointed out by MCI in its report, along with undertakings that the timelines mentioned in the affidavits will be adhered to. In view of the affidavit and undertaking submitted by Principal Secretary of each of the three States, the Hon’ble Supreme Court granted permission to the Government Colleges concerned to admit fresh batch of students to the MBBS course for the academic year 2018-2019. The MCI was directed to carry out inspection after three months to verify the compliance of undertakings as filed before the Hon’ble Court. Further, it was ordered that the non-compliance of the undertakings within the period specified therein, will make the concerned Principal Secretary personally liable for such non-compliance. The order was passed in peculiar facts and circumstances of the case as otherwise over 800 seats in Government Medical Colleges would have been wasted. The matter was directed to be placed before the Hon’ble Court on 25-6-2018 for further proceedings. [State of Bihar v. Medical Council of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 614, dated 18-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of B.R. Gavai and Bharati. H.Dangre, JJ., allowed a petition filed seeking a transfer from a medical college in Miraj to a college in Mumbai/Thane.

The petitioner was aggrieved by the rejection of her application for transfer from Government Medical College, Miraj to any Government Medical College in Mumbai or Thane. The petitioner sought transfer on the ground that she suffered from Allergic Bronchitis Bronchial Asthma and need to be treated in Mumbai. It was undisputed fact that one seat was vacant in Rajeev Gandhi Medical College, Thane (RGMC). It was also undisputed that she had obtained all the documents (no objection certificates) from concerned authorities. It was contended by the respondent State that the petitioner could not be granted migration as the seat in RGMC was not a clear vacancy as per the information brochure of the State Government since it arose due to the migration of a student from the said seat.

The High Court perused the record and observed that the petitioner had all the required documents necessary under MCI Regulations and also Regulations issued by Vice Chancellor of the University. The Court noted the submission made by the respondent State but only to be rejected. The Court categorically observed, the brochure issued by the State Government at most could be an administrative instruction and could not have an overriding effect over the Regulations framed by MCI which were in nature of subordinate legislation. The Court found that the petitioner had complied with all the technical requirements as per MCI Regulations and the only question left for consideration was whether the transfer was sought by the petitioner on genuine grounds. The High Court was of the opinion that the petitioner had a genuine case for seeking a transfer as she was suffering from an ailment which required proper medical attention. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the State was directed to approve petitioner’s case for transfer to RGMC, Thane. [Pankti M. Pancholi v.  State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1178, dated 04-05-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where a Medical Institution was aggrieved the Government order dated 31.05.2017, which resulted into non-renewal of the permission to admit students for the academic year 2017-2018, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ held that the order was non-reasoned and directed the Central Government to afford a further opportunity of hearing to the petitioners as per Section 10-A of the Medical Council Act, 1956 and also take the assistance of the Supreme Court mandated Oversight Committee. The matter will be taken up on 24.08.2017.

Stressing upon the need to have institutions which are worthy to impart medical education so that the society has not only qualified doctors but doctors with impeccable and sensitive qualities, the Court said that the objectivity of the Hearing Committee and the role of the Central Government assume great significance in this regard.  The real compliant institutions should not always be kept under the sword of Damocles. Stability can be brought by affirmative role played by the Central Government and the stability and objectivity would be perceptible if reasons are ascribed while expressing a view and absence of reasons makes the decision sensitively susceptible.

The Court said that the direction of the Central Government for compliance verification report should not be construed as a limited remand as is understood within the framework of Code of Civil Procedure or any other law. The distinction between the principles of open remand and limited remand is not attracted. It was clarified that it would be inapposite to restrict the power of the MCI by laying down as an absolute principle that once the Central Government sends back the matter to MCI for compliance verification and the Assessors visit the College they shall only verify the mentioned items and turn a blind eye even if they perceive certain other deficiencies. The Court said that the emphasis is on the compliant institutions that can really educate doctors by imparting quality education so that they will have the inherent as well as cultivated attributes of excellence. [IQ City Foundation v. UOI, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 842 decided on 01.08.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench comprising of Madan B. Lokur and N.V. Ramana JJ came down heavily on Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) for venturing adventurist litigation has directed the Medical Council of India to restrain it from increasing the intake of students from 100 students to 150 students for the course for the academic year 2016-17 and 2017-2018.

The Court while imposing costs of Rs. 5 crores on KIMS for playing with the future of its students said that there is something rotten in the state of medical colleges unless the concerned Ministries in the Government of India take a far more proactive role in ensuring that medical colleges have all the necessary facilities. The Court also quoted that “Quality in medical education is equally important, if not more, than quantity.”

The Court further observed that the High Court should have been more circumspect in passing interim orders directing the admission of students by its order directing Central Government to grant provisional permission to KIMS to conduct the course for the additional 50 students in the academic year 2015-16. The Supreme Court quashing the order of High Court said that under no circumstance High Court should examine the report as an appellate body. In the present case there was no ground made out at law for setting aside the report of the Inspection Team.

While disposing off the appeal, the Court issued certain directions for KIMS on observation that for the fault of the KIMS, students should not suffer but KIMS should not get away Scot Free.

  • The admission granted to the 50 students pursuant to the order of the High Court and the provisional permission granted by the Central Government shall not be disturbed.
  • The MCI or the Central Government will proceed to take action against KIMS under Clause 8(3) of the Medical Council of India Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 (as amended).

Observing that there is no fixed procedure prepared by the MCI for conducting an inspection, the Court further directed MCI and Central Government as follows:

  • MCI should in consultation with the Central Government prepare a Standard Operating Procedure for conducting an inspection.
  • To introduce transparency and accountability in the medical colleges, the report of the Inspection Team should be put up on the website of the concerned medical college as also on the website of the MCI. [Medical Council of India vs Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) 2016 SCC OnLine SC 439, decided on 06-5-2016]