The Supreme Court has warned private medical colleges against granting admission to students in breach of the Regulation 5 (2) of the Medical Council of India (MCI), providing for admissions through a merit based common entrance test.

Giving this warning, a Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar made it clear that the MCI Regulations must be strictly adhered to by the medical colleges.

Reiterating directions it had issued in the case of ‘Priya Gupta vs. State of Chhattisgarh,’ it said the MCI, the Centre, the States and medical colleges should strictly adhere to the time schedule prescribed for admissions in its true spirit and substance. Any default in compliance with these conditions or attempt to overreach these directions shall, without fail, invite penal actions.

The Bench said, “It is difficult and not even advisable to keep some windows open to meet a particular situation of exception, as it may pose impediments to the smooth implementation of laws and defeat the very object of the scheme. These schedules have been prescribed upon serious consideration by all concerned. They are to be applied stricto sensu and cannot be moulded to suit the convenience of some economic or other interest of any institution, especially, in a manner that is bound to result in compromise of the principles.”

The Bench reiterated the following directions: commencement of new courses or increases in seats of existing courses of MBBS/BDS are to be approved/recognised by the Government of India by July 15 of each calendar year for the relevant academic sessions of that year; The MCI shall, immediately thereafter, issue appropriate directions and ensure the implementation and commencement of admission process within one week thereafter; After July 15 of each year, neither the Union of India nor the Medical or Dental Council of India shall issue any recognition or approval for the current academic year. If any such approval is granted after July 15 of any year, it shall only be operative for the next academic year and not in the current academic year.

The Bench said: “Any medical or dental college, or seats thereof, to which the recognition/approval is issued subsequent to July 15 of the respective year, shall not be included in the counselling to be conducted by the concerned authority and that college would have no right to make admissions in the current academic year against such seats; The admission to the medical or dental colleges shall be granted only through the respective entrance tests conducted by the competitive authority in the State or the body of the private colleges. These two are the methods of selection and grant of admission to these courses. However, where there is a single Board conducting the State examination and there is a single medical college, then in terms of clause 5.1 of the MCI Eligibility Certificate Regulations, 2002 the admission can be given on the basis of 10+2 exam marks, strictly in order of merit.”

The Bench was dealing with appeals relating to admissions made by Geetanjali Medical College and Hospital in Rajasthan for the year 2008-2009 and Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in the same State. Geetanjali College got permission from the Union government on September 16 and it admitted 117 students, 101 on the basis of 10 + 2 marks and 16 on the basis of common entrance test conducted by the State. The Rajasthan High Court set aside the admissions on the ground that the admissions were made in violation of MCI Regulations. Similar allegation was made against the Mahatma Gandhi College in respect of admissions of six students.

Disposing of the appeals, the Bench directed that none of the 117 students who were otherwise eligible for admission to the MBBS course would be disturbed from pursuing their MBBS course.

The Bench, however, directed the students to pay Rs. 3 lakh each to the State government within three months. It said: “In the event of default, the students will not be permitted to take the final year examination and the admission of the defaulting students shall stand cancelled and the College will have no liability to repay the admission fee already paid. The amount so paid to the State government shall be spent by it for improvement of infrastructure and laboratories of the government medical college.” The Bench gave a similar direction in respect of six students admitted to the Mahatama Gandhi Medical College and Hospital.

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