Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ., pronounced an order in which it was suggested by Amicus Curiae Kapil Sibal and further accepted by the Court that “a computer-based technological solution which might include artificial intelligence should be advised”  for the purpose of inspections in medical colleges.

The Court noted that various disputes have been observed in regard to the same issue of inspections of various private medical colleges by the Medical Council India (MCI). Contesting parties virtually contest every fact that is recorded in the inspection.

Amicus Curiae, Kapil Sibal suggested for a computer network based technological solution for the above-stated problem and for that he requested for the appointment of Mr Nandan Nilekani who is an expert for this problem. Further, Gaurav Sharma, counsel for the respondent also supported the stated suggestion.

Therefore, the Court agreeing to the same requested Mr Nandan Nilekani to give a concrete suggestion at the earliest. Further, the Court stated that respondent’s counsel and amicus curiae shall prepare a written note highlighting the issues that need to be taken up by Mr Nilekani to provide solutions to the problem stated above. Also, he has the liberty to take technical assistance from various IT companies.

The matter is listed after 6 weeks for further hearing. [Al Azhar Medical College and Super Speciality Hospital v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1633, dated 19-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rajendra Menon, CJ, and V. Kameswar Rao, J. dismissed an appeal preferred by the writ petitioner against the order of the Writ Court allowing the petition filed by the respondents against the order of Chief Information Commission.

The appellant had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The CPIO concerned refused to furnish the same while giving the appellant an opportunity to carry out inspection of the record and copies thereof. The appellant filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority prescribed under the Act. The Appellate Authority dismissed the appeal. Thereafter, the matter reached to the CIC who decided the matter in favour of the appellant and directed furnishing of certified copies while also recommending disciplinary action against the Appellate Authority. Challenging the order of CIC, a writ petition was filed by the Union of India which was allowed by the Writ Court. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused Section 20 of the Act and observed that it was clear that sub-section (2) thereof makes only a CPIO liable for disciplinary action. Further, it was also observed that an Appellate Authority under Section 19(1) is classified as an officer senior in rank to the CPIO. meaning thereby that the CPIO is a different authority from the Appellate Authority. The legislative intent was only to take a disciplinary action against CPIO and not against the Appellate Authority as was evident from Section 20(2). Thus, it was held that no penal action could be taken against the Appellate Authority under RTI Act. As such the appeal was dismissed. [R.K. Jain v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10957, dated 29-08-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Allowing the appeal filed by the Medical Council of India, the Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar, JJ., set aside the decision of Bombay High Court wherein it had ordered the MCI to inspect the respondent medical college, despite “large-scale deficiencies” being found during an inspection in 2017, and consider the grant of renewal permission for admission in academic year 2018-2019. The Bench held that there is no conflict between Section 10-A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and Regn. 8 (3)(1) proviso (a) of the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 and construing them together clearly indicates that opportunity shall be given to the medical colleges to rectify the defects; however, certain minimum standards are to be required. This requisite of minimum standards for availing an opportunity to seek re-inspection is not ultra vires either the Regulation or Section 10-A of the 1956 Act.

Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence had submitted an application under Section 10-A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 for starting a Medical College. The Union of India issued a letter of permission to admit the first batch of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018. The inspection for the purpose of granting first renewal for admission of students for the academic year 2018-2019 was conducted on 25.09.2017 and 26.09.2017. However upon inspection by the Council, it was found that there was a severe deficiency of proper faculty and basic infrastructure.

The Council under Regn. 8 (3)(1) proviso (a) of the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 disapproved the application of the respondent college for renewal of permission of MBBS course 2nd batch for the academic year 2018-2019.

The Bombay High Court allowed the Writ Petition filed by respondent on the ground that Regn. 8 (3)(1) proviso (a) is not applicable to the case. The High Court also raised doubts over the fairness with which the inspection was conducted. The counsel for the appellant contended before the Court that the  provisions concerned are neither in conflict with each other nor it’s language is ambiguous. It was further contended by the appellants that the Regulation was inserted with a view to ensure that institutions which do not satisfy the minimum infrastructure and faculty cannot to be given an opportunity to rectify their defects as the standards fixed by the Medical Council of India are the bare minimum and have to be strictly complied with to ensure the maintenance of basic minimum standards of medical education.

Perusing the contentions of the parties and the inspection notes provided by the appellants, the Bench concluded that the High Court interpreted the  provisions concerned erroneously by ignoring the proviso attached to Regn. 8 (3)(1). The Court observed that the provisions in question are complementary to each other as fixing minimum standards which have to be fulfilled for the purpose of enabling a medical College to seek fresh inspection would not be contrary to the scheme of Section 10-A. Relying on it’s decision in MCI v. Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, (2016) 11 SCC 530 the Court observed that medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that the facilities in a medical College are inadequate, it is not for the Courts to interfere with the assessment, except for very cogent jurisdictional reasons, which are not present in the instant case. [Medical Council of India v. Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt. Ltd,  2018 SCC OnLine SC 584, decided on 01.06.2018]