Seek to quash implementation of new evaluation pattern
About 35 first year MBBS students of various government medical colleges in the State have filed individual writ petitions in the Madras High Court Bench here challenging the new evaluation pattern introduced by Dr.M.G.R. Medical University in Chennai for assessing the examinations written by them in August this year.
When the cases came up for hearing before Justice V. Ramasubramanian on Wednesday, he directed the counsel for Medical Council for India (MCI) to ascertain whether the change in the evaluation pattern has been carried out with the consent of the apex body for medical education in the country or not and adjourned the hearing of the batch of cases to Friday.
Earlier, during arguments, senior counsel M. Ajmal Khan, appearing for the students, pointed out that that new evaluation pattern was illegal and arbitrary as it was not in conformity with the Regulations of Graduate Medical Education 1997 framed by the MCI in exercise of the power conferred on it under the Indian Medical Council Act 1956.
He claimed that under the earlier pattern, it was sufficient for a student to score 50 per cent marks in practical examinations besides a combined average of 50 per cent in written papers part –I, part –II and viva voce sections. However, as per the revised norms introduced by the varsity on January 14 last year, the students must score 50 per cent in each of these papers.
The new pattern led to failure of more than 40 per cent of students who wrote the first year examinations in August 2011. Hence, it was challenged by a group of students in October last year and the High Court granted an interim stay of the university’s January order. Subsequently, at the instance of the State Government, the university decided not to apply the new pattern for the examinations held last year.
Subsequently, the First Bench of the Madras High Court in Chennai set aside a similar pattern issued by the university for evaluation of final year examinations on the ground that medical students in Tamil Nadu alone could not be evaluated on the basis of a new regulation when those studying in other States were evaluated on the basis of the 1997 Regulations framed by MCI.
An appeal filed by the university challenging the High Court’s order was dismissed by the Supreme Court on December 16, 2011. Nevertheless, the university once again introduced the new pattern for the current academic year on the basis of a communication issued by MCI on October 25 this year stating that the university could frame higher standards for training programmes.
The senior counsel claimed that the university had reintroduced the pattern on the basis of a misunderstanding of the MCI’s communication which states that the university could frame higher standards only for training programmes. It does not specify that the varsity could drift away from the 1997 regulations and create its own evaluation system, he contended.