SC Imposes Fine of Rs. 5 Crore on Medical College for Admissions in Violation of MCI Regulations
The Supreme Court in the case of Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust vs. Union of India pronounced its judgement and imposed a fine of Rs 5 crores on the petitioner (college) on the grounds of violation of the Admission Rules under the Medical Council of India (MCI) Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 (Regulations).
The college filed a plea in the Supreme Court, challenging the MCI’s 2017 notice ordering the college to discharge 132 of 150 students admitted to the MBBS course on account of the admissions violating the rules of the MCI Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 (Regulations). Additionally, 71 students of the same college also approached the court seeking continuation of their studies, conducting of examination etc.
Earlier, the college challenged denial of renewal in the Supreme Court. The court then directed the respondent (Medical Council of India) to let the college participate in the counselling process. Accordingly, upon notice, 735 students applied and amongst them the MCI sent a list of 150 students to the petitioner (college). Out of 150, only 18 students secured their admissions to the college. The college, then, on its own accord within 4 hours, completed the filling of 132 seats for admission without waiting for the second list to be sent by the MCI.
Owing to this, a notice was issued by the MCI to the college, asking it to discharge 132 students admitted in violation of the rules for admission. In response to this, the petitioner (college) filed the present plea.
The petitioner (college) argued that there was a display of lethargy on part of the MCI in sending out the 2nd list as requested for, owing to which, the college on its own accord made admissions from the list of 735 eligible students. It also clarified that the admissions were made solely on merit and no students or candidates raised any objections for not being admitted according to their merit. All the admitted students are NEET qualified.
As for the students, they pleaded ignorance about any irregularities or illegalities involved in the admission process as they were merely waiting for admission to the MBBS course and when given the chance to participate in the admission process, they did so.
On behalf of the MCI, the rule of admission as per Regulation 5A of the MCI Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 (Regulations) reiterated that admission to the MBBS course shall be on the basis of the NEET merit list sent by Director General Medical Education.
MCI argued that if the college found that the students were not enough to fill 150 vacancies, it should have approached the court to extend the deadline for admission and direct Director General Medical Education to allot more students.
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The court agreed with this contention and said that the respondent (MCI) cannot be blamed to be lethargic or negligent as they acted swiftly in issuing the list of 735 eligible candidates. But the act of the college admitting 132 students within 4 hours was uncalled for and questionable. The court also rejected the submission of the college that they had no alternative except to go forward with the admission process on their own to adhere to the deadline.
As regards the students who pleaded innocence, the court said:
“The students who have secured admission cannot be said to be innocent as they knew fully well that their names were not recommended by the Director General Medical Education. We also do not agree that students and their parents were not aware that their admissions in College are contrary to the Regulations..”
Expressing its opinion and direction as to what must be done with the students who secured admission in the process and even finished their 2nd year, the court directed:
“However, taking note of the fact that the students have completed the second year MBBS course, cancelling their admissions at this stage would not serve any useful purpose. The students who joined the College knowing fully well that their admissions are contrary to the Regulations are directed to do community service for a period of two years after completing their MBBS course.”
This direction was given as the students in question already finished their second year and to save them from losing out on three academic years based on the facts and circumstances of the case at hand. The court then also directed the respondent (University) to conduct the second-year examinations for the students and declare their results for the same at the earliest.
The court while concluding the judgment on the case, expressed:
“Being aware of the fact that admissions cannot be made from students not allotted by the third Respondent, the College admitted 132 students on its own. Thereafter, the College permitted the students to continue their studies in spite of the direction by the Medical Council of India to discharge the students not being stayed. Intentional violation of the Regulations by the Petitioner-College while granting admission to 132 students in the first year MBBS course for the academic year 2017-2018 cannot be condoned. The Petitioner-College is directed to deposit an amount of Rupees Five Crores in the Registry of this Court within a period of 8 weeks from today. The Petitioner-College are directed not to recover the amount from the students in any manner whatsoever.”
The petition was accordingly disposed off.
Angel Nair | EduLegaL | www.edulegal.org
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