TAMIL NADU

Plea for permission to start Theni College turned down

It is not possible to change admission schedule: Supreme Court

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: : The Supreme Court has rejected the Tamil Nadu Government's plea for permission to start the Theni Medical College from 2005-2006 with an annual intake of 100 students.

The court has also rejected pleas from 13 other medical colleges across the country.

Appearing for the State, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi said most of the deficiencies pointed out by the Medical Council of India, in its inspection report, had been set right; others would be rectified within the time specified. The MCI could conduct an inspection again so that admissions could begin by August 25 when the second round of counselling is scheduled to begin.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam said it was up to the MCI to conduct the inspection and send a report to the Centre. However, MCI counsel Maninder Singh said it would not be possible for the MCI to conduct an inspection of all colleges within a short period.

The Bench said that as the apex court in the Mridul Dhar's case framed the time schedule for admissions, it was not possible to change the schedule at this juncture and the colleges should wait till the next academic year. It issued notice to the MCI.

14 deficiencies rectified

In its petition, Tamil Nadu said out of 19 deficiencies pointed out by the MCI, 14 had been rectified and a report sent to the Centre on June 23.

Other five deficiencies would be rectified by September 10 as per an undertaking given by the Chief Secretary and the Health Secretary. As for residential quarters for teaching and non-teaching staff, alternate housing arrangements had been made in the Tamil Nadu Housing Board quarters. Separate hostel for boys and girls were available near the college.

The petition pointed out that there was an inconsistency in the reasoning given by the MCI and the Union Health Secretary. While the MCI said that as per the regulations no inspection could be made after June 15, the Centre sought a written response to the observations made by the MCI to enable the Government to process the matter further. The written response was submitted with photographic evidence, but the Centre passed no order.

It said the State had spent Rs. 74.32 crores on the establishment of the medical college. The hospital had an average outpatient attendance of 1,000-1,200 a day; almost all 300 beds were occupied on all days. If the application for starting the college for this year was rejected 100 meritorious students would not get a chance to get medical seats.

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