Supreme Court judgement in MCI vs State of Karnataka & others dt uly 18, 1998  






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 16/07/1998







Leave granted.

A Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court has put a question mark on the authority of the Medical Council of India (for short, the ' Medical Council') - the appellant - in its judgement dated July 16, 1997 to fix intake for admission of students to various medical colleges in the State of Karnataka. Medical Council is aggrieved by that part of the impugned judgement where the Division Bench held that prior to insertion of Sections 10A, 10B, and 10C in the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (for short, the Medical Council Act') by the amending Act 31 of 1993 neither the Central Government nor the Medical Council could fix the admission capacity in the medical colleges in the State and that this authority to determine the admission capacity in the medical colleges vested in State by virtue of two State enactments, namely, Karnataka State  Universities Act, 1976 (for short, 'Karnataka Universities Act') and Karnataka Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1984 (for short, 'Karnataka Capitation Fee Act'). The Division Bench, however, held that after the amendment of the Indian Medical council Act by insertion of Sections 10A, 10B and 10C, the two State enactments would    yield to the extent of repugnancy and that now the power to fix admission capacity rests with the Medical Council. The Division Bench said that admission capacity for purpose of increase or decrease in each of the college, has got to be determined as on or before June 1, 1992 with reference to what had been fixed by the State Government or that fixed by the medical colleges and not with reference to the minimum standard of education regulations prescribed under Section 19A, of the Medical Council Act by the Medical Council which it said were only "recommendatory" as held in State of Madhya Pradesh and anr. v. Kumari Nivedita Jain and ors.(1981 (4) SCC 296). Thus, according  to the Division Bench future admission will, however, have to be regulated on the basis of the capacity fixed or determined by the Medical Council as provisions of Sections 10A, 10B and 10C are prospective.

State of Karnataka has also filed appeal. It felt aggrieved by that part of the impugned judgment of the Division Bench where it scuttled the powers of the State to fix admission capacity to the medical colleges. Stand of the State is that Section 10A is applicable only when it comes to increase the existing admission capacity in the colleges and that the intake capacity already fixed by the State under its statutory powers could not be reduced.

In the third appeal  filed by the Rajiv Gandhi Dental College and which pertains to Dental Colleges under the provisions of  the Dentists Act, 1948, there  is similar challenge to the authority of the Dental Council of India to fix the intake of admission of students to Dental Colleges.

The provisions of this Act are in peri materia to that of the Indian  Medical Council  Act and decision in the appeal filed by the Medical Council of India would be applicable to the appeal filed by Rajiv Gandhi Dental College.

Impugned Division Bench decision was rendered in an appeal against the judgment dated September 20, 1996 of a single judge (G.C. Bharuka, J.) of the High Court in a writ petition filed as a  Public Interest Litigation. Learned Single Judge  considered the whole spectrum of law relating to admission in Medical Colleges in the State and held as under:

     "I.  s.53(10) of the State Universities Act and Sec.4(1)(b) of the State Capitation Fee Act empowering the universities and/or the State Government to fix or increase intakes of the medical colleges being repugnant to Sections 10A, 10B and 10C of the Central Act, are held as void and inoperative.

     II. The power in relation to fixation and/or increase of the admission capacities of the medical colleges has to be   governed strictly and exclusively under the provisions of  Sec.10A/10C of the Central Act.

     III. No medical college can admit any student in excess of its admission capacity fixed by the Council subject to any increase thereof as approved by the Central Government under and in accordance with the  provisions of Sec.10A or     Sec.10C of the Central Act.

     IV. The  regulations framed on the aspects of medical education referred to in Secs.19A and 33 of the Central Act are  mandatory in nature."

The State of Karnataka went in appeal against the judgment of the single Judge which, as noted above, was partly allowed. In the appeal the Divisions Bench took the view that Sections 10A, 10B and 10C of the Act have only prospective operation. While the Medical Council and the Central Government contend that learned single Judge was correct in this approach to the matter in controversy. The State of Karnataka says that the introduction of Sections 10A, 10B and 10C in the Act made no difference to its authority to regulate admission to Medical Colleges in view of the judgement of this Court in A.K. Singh vs.  State of Bihar [(1994) 4  SCC 401] and that power under Section 10A of the Medical Council Act was confined only to  increasing the existing admission capacity and the intake capacity already fixed by the State under its statutory powers could not be reduced.

When the matter came up before this Court in special leave petition (SLP  No. 14839/97) filed by the Medical Council, this  Court, while issuing notice, stayed the impugned judgment of the Division Bench. In the appeal filed by the Rajiv Gandhi  Dental College, it was also directed that the State would confine the admissions to the dental colleges to the intake         capacity as fixed by the  Dental Council.

Before we consider the rival contentions, we may set out the relevant provisions of law but even before that we take note  of the observations of this Court in State of Kerala vs. Kumari T.P. Roshana & Anr. [(1979) 1 SCC 572] where the Court said as under :-

     "The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 has constituted the Medical Council of India as an expert body to control the minimum standards of medical education and to regulate their observance. Obviously, this high-powered Council has power  to prescribe the minimum standards of medical education. It has implicit power to supervise the qualifications or eligibility    standards for admission into medical institutions. Thus there is an overall invigilation by the Medical Council to prevent sub-standard entrance qualifications for medical courses."

The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

Sections 2 of the Medical Council Act defines various terms used in the  Act. "Approved  institution" means a hospital, health centre or other such institution recognised by a University as an institution in which a person may undergo the training, if  any, required by this course of study before the award of any medical qualification to him;

"Council" means the Medical  Council of  India constituted under this Act;

"medical institution" means any institution, within or without India, which grants degrees, diplomas or licences in  medicine;

"recognised  medical  qualification" means any of the medical qualifications included  in the Schedules; 

"University" means any University in India established by law and having a medical faculty.

"Sec. 10-A. Permission for establishment of new medical college, new course of study, etc.-

     (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force-

     (a) no person shall establish a medical college; or (b) no medical college shall-

     (i) open a new or higher course of study or training (including a post-graduate course of study or training) which would  enable a student of such course or training to qualify himself for the award of any recognised  medical qualification; or

     (ii) increase its admission capacity in any course of study or training (including a post-graduate course of study or training); except with the previous permission of the Central Government obtained in accordance with the  provisions of this section.

     Explanation 1.- For the purposes of this section, "person" includes any University or a trust but does not include the Central Government.

     Explanation 2.- For the purposes of this action, "admission capacity", in relation to any course of study or training    (including post-graduate course of study or training) in a medical college, means the maximum number of students that may be fixed by the Council from time to time for being admitted to such course or training.

     (2)(a) Every person or medical college shall, for the purpose of obtaining permission under sub-section (1), submit to the Central Government a scheme in accordance with the provisions of  clause (b) and the Central Government shall refer the scheme to the Council for its recommendations.

     (b) The scheme referred to in clause (a) shall be in such form and contain such particulars and be preferred in such manner and be accompanied with such fee as may be prescribed.

     (3) On receipt of a scheme by the Council under sub-section (2), the Council may obtain such other particulars as  may  be considered necessary by it from the person or the medical college concerned, and thereafter, it may,-

     (a) if the scheme is defective and does not contain any necessary particulars, give a reasonable opportunity to the   person or college concerned for making a written representation and it shall be open to such person or medical college to rectify the defects, if any, specified by the council;

     (b)  consider the scheme, having regard to the factors referred to in sub-section (7), and submit the scheme together   with its recommendations thereon to the Central Government.

     (4) The Central Government may, after considering the scheme and the recommendations of the Council under sub-section (3) and after obtaining, where necessary, such other particulars as may be considered necessary by it from the     person or college concerned, and having regard to the factors referred to in sub-section (7), either approve (with such conditions, if any, as it may consider necessary) or disapprove the scheme  and any such approval shall be a permission  under sub-section (1):

     Provided that no scheme shall be disapproved by the Central Government except after giving the person or college  concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

     Provided further that nothing in this sub-section shall prevent any person or medical college whose scheme has not been approved by the Central Government to submit a fresh scheme and the provisions of this section shall apply to such scheme, as if such scheme has been submitted for the first time under sub-section (2).

     (5) ...

     (6) ...

     (7) The Council, while making its recommendations under clause (b) of sub-section (3) and the Central Government, while passing an order, either approving or disapproving the scheme under sub-section (4), shall have due regard to the     following factors, namely:-

     (a) whether the proposed medical college or the existing medical college seeking to open a new or higher course of study or training, would be in a position to offer the minimum standards of medical education as prescribed by the Council under  section 19A or, as the case may be, under section 20 in the case of post-graduate medical education;

     (b) whether the person seeking to establish a medical college or the existing medical college seeking to open a new or  higher course of study or training or to increase its admission capacity has adequate financial resources;

     (c) whether necessary facilities in respect of staff, equipment, accommodation, training and other facilities to ensure   proper functioning of the medical college or conducting the new course of study or training or accommodating the increased  admission capacity have been provided or would be provided within the time-limit specified in the scheme;

     (d) whether adequate hospital facilities, having regard to the number of students likely to attend such medical college or  course of study or training or as a result of the increased admission capacity have  been provided or would be provided within the time-limit specified in the scheme;

     (e) whether any arrangement has been made or programme drawn to impart proper training to students likely to attend  such medical college or course of study or training by persons having the recognised medical qualifications;

     (f) the requirement of manpower in the field of practice of medicine; and

     (g) any other factors as may be prescribed."

     "Sec.10.B. Non-recognition of medical qualifications in certain cases.-

     (1) ...

     (2) ...

     (3)  Where any medical college increases its admission capacity in any course of study or training except with the previous permission of the Central Government  in accordance with the provisions of section 10A, no medical qualification   granted to any student of such medical college on the basis of the increase in  its admission capacity shall be a recognised medical qualification for the purposes of this Act.

     Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, the criteria for identifying a student who has been granted a medical qualification on the basis of such increase in the admission capacity shall be such as may be prescribed.

     Sec.10-C. Time for seeking permission for certain  existing medical colleges, etc.-

     (1) If after 1st day of June, 1992 and on and before the commencement of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Act,  1993 any person has established a medical college or any medical college has opened a new or higher course of study  or training or increase the admission capacity, such person or medical college, as the case may be, shall seek, within  a period of one year from the commencement of the Indian Medical  Council  (Amendment)  Act, 1993, the permission of the Central Government in  accordance with  the provisions of section 10A.

     (2) If  any person or medical college, as the case may be, fails to seek the permission under sub-section (1), the  provisions of section 10B shall apply, so far as may be, as if, permission of the Central Government under s10A has been refused."




Under Section 11  of   the  Medical   Council          Act,qualifications  granted           by  any   University or   medicalinstitution  in  India  which  are  included  in  the  First Schedule shall be recognised medical qualifications for the

purposes of  this Medical  Council Act.       Any  University  or

medical         institution   in  India   which  grants  a  medical

qualification not  included in the First Schedule may apply

to  the   Central  Government  to  have      such  qualification

recognised, and the Central Government, after consulting the

Medical         Council,  may,         by  notification  in  the  Official

Gazette, amend        the First  Schedule so         as to  include such

qualification therein.  Under Section 16 every university or

medical institution  in India  which  grants  a  recognised

medical qualification  shall furnish such information as the

Medical Council         may, from  time to  time, require as to the

courses of  study and  examinations to      be undergone for the

purpose         of   attaining qualification  and  other  details

requisite for obtaining such qualification. Under Section 17

of the  Medical Council         Act, the Executive Committee of the

Medical Council         shall appoint medical inspectors to inspect

any  medical   institutions,  college, hospital  or  other

institution where  medical education  is given       or to attend

any  examination   held        by   any  University  or   medical

institution for the purpose  of recommending to the Central

Government recognition       of medical  institution.  Similarly,

the Medical  Council is         authorised to appoint visitors for

the same  purpose.  The      inspectors  and  the  visitors         are

required to  report on          the adequacy  of  the  standards  of

medical education including staff, equipment, accommodation,

training and  other facilities prescribed for giving medical

education or  on the  sufficiency of every examination which

they attend.  Then come     Sections 19  and 19A and which have

been  set  out          above  providing  for  laying  down  minimum

standards   of medical   education   and   withdrawal        of

recognition. These are as under :

     "Sec.19.Withdrawal of recognition.-

     (1)  When upon  report  by   the

     Committee          or   the   visitor,   it

     appears to the Council-

     (a) that  the course  of study  and

     examination to  be undergone in, or

     the   proficiency  required   from

     candidates at  any examination held

     by,  any   University  or  medical

     institution, or

     (b)  that   the  staff,  equipment,

     accommodation, training  and  other

     facilities   for   instruction   and

     training    provided     in    such

     university or  medical  institution

     or  in   any   College   or   other

     institution  affiliated   to   that

     University, do  not conform  to the

     standards prescribed by the Council

     the  Council   shall  make            a  are

     presentation to  that effect to the

     Central Government.

     (2)    After    considering    such

     representation,    the    Central

     Government may send it to the State

     Government of  the State  in  which

     the    University     or    medical

     institution  is  situated   and  the

     State Government  shall forward  it

     along with such remarks  as it may

     choose to make to the University or

     medical   institution,    with   an

     intimation of  the  period  within

     which  the          University  or medical

     institution    may    submit    its

     explanation    to     the     State


     (3)   On    the   receipt   of   the

     explanation    or,     where     no

     explanation is submitted within the

     period fixed, then on the expiry of

     that period,  the State  Government

     shall make its recommendations  to

     the Central Government.

     (4) The  Central  Government  after

     making  such  further  inquiry,  if

     any, as  it may  think fit, may, by

     notification   in      the   Official

     Gazette, direct that an entry shall

     be made in the appropriate Schedule

     against     the     said    medical

     qualification  declaring    that  it

     shall  be   a  recognised medical

     qualification  only   when          granted

     before a  specified date, or  that

     the said  medical qualification  if

     granted to          students of a specified

     college or institution  affiliated

     to  any   university  shall   be  a

     recognised          medical   qualification

     only   when    granted   before   a

     specified date  or, as the case may

     be,   that    the  said   medical

     qualification shall be a recognised

     medical qualification  in   relation

     to    a    specified   college    or

     institution   affiliated      to   any

     University only  when granted after

     a specified date.

     Sec.19.A  Minimum          standards   of

     medical education.-(1)  The Council

     may prescribe the minimum standards

     of medical education required  for

     granting     recognised   medical

     qualifications  (other  than  post-

     graduate medical qualifications) by

     Universities         or       medical

     institutions in India.

     (2) Copies of the draft regulations

     and of  all  subsequent  amendments

     thereof shall  be furnished  by the

     Council to all  State  Governments

     and  the   Council          shall,    before

     submitting  the   regulations   or

     amendment thereof,       as the case may

     be, to  the Central  Government for

     sanction, take  into  consideration

     the   comments    of   any           State

     Government        received  within  three

     months  from   the         furnishing   of

     copies aforesaid.

     (3) The  Committee shall  from time

     to time  report to the Council  on

     the efficacy of the regulations and

     may recommend  to the  Council such

     amendments thereof      as it may think


     Sec.33. Power to  make regulations.

     The Council  may, with the previous

     sanction of the Central Government,

     make regulations generally to carry

     out the  purposes of this Act, and,

     without prejudice to the generality

     of this power, such regulations may

     provided for-

     (a) to (f) ...

     (fa) the  form of  the scheme,  the

     particulars to  be given  in  such

     scheme, the  manner  in  which  the

     scheme is to be  preferred and the

     fee payable  with the  scheme under

     clause (b) of sub-section         (2)  of

     section 10A;

     (fb) any other factors under clause

     (g) of  sub-section (7)  of section


     (fc) the criteria for identifying a

     student  who  has         been  granted  a

     medical qualification  referred  to

     in the  Explanation to  sub-section

     (3) of section 10B;

     (g) to (i)  ...

     (j) the courses and period of study

     and of  practical  training  to  be

     undertaken,   the   subjects    of

     examination and  the  standards  of

     proficiency therein to be obtained,

     in     Universities    or    medical

     institutions    for     grant    of

     recognised medical qualifications;

     (k)   the   standards   of           staff,

     equipment,             accommodation,

     training and  other facilities  for

     medical education;

     (l)  the  conduct  of  professional

     examinations,   qualifications   of

     examiners and  the  conditions  of

     admission to such examinations;"

     The Karnataka Educational Institutions

     (Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1984.

     This  was  enacted  to   prohibit         the  collection  of

capitation fee for admission  to educational institutions in

the State of karnataka. The preamble to the Act recited that

collection of  capitation fee  for admission  of students in

educational institutions  was wide  spread in  the State and

this  undesirable   practice  was   not        conducive   to         the

maintenance  of         educational  standards   beside   it         was

contributing  to   large  scale         of    commercialisation  of

education.  Educational       institution  has  been         defined  in

clauses (c)  of Section        3, which  means any  institution by

whatever name called, whether managed by Government, private

body, local authority, trust, University or any other person

carrying on  the activity of imparting education in medicine

or engineering leading to a degree conferred by a University

established under the Karnataka State Universities Act, 1976

(Karnataka  Act        28  of 1976) and  any  other        educational

institution, or class or classes of such institution, as the

Government may, by notification specify.

     Section  4   regulates  the  admission  to        educational

institutions etc. and is as under :-

     "4.  Regulations  of  admission  to

     educational  institutions  etc.  -

     Subject to          such rules,  or general

     or special  orders, as  may be made

     by the  Government in  this  behalf

     and any  other  law  for  the  time

     being in force, -

     (1) (a)  the minimum  qualification

     for  admission  to any  course  of

     study in an educational institution

     shall be  such as may  be specified

     by -

     (i) the  University, in the case of

     any course         study in an educational

     institution   maintained   by   or

     affiliated to such University:

     Provided that  the Government  may,

     in the  interest of  excellence  of

     education, fix  any higher         minimum

     qualification  for  any  course  of


     (ii) the Government, in the case of

     other courses of study in any other

     educational institution;

     (b) the  maximum number of students

     that could be admitted to a  course

     of    study             in    an   educational

     institution shall be such as may be

     fixed by  the Government  from time

     to time;

     (2)  in  order  to     regulate  the

     capitation fee charged or collected

     during the period specified  under

     the  proviso   to  section          3,  the

     Government may,  from time to time,

     by general   or   special   order,

     specify in  respect of each private

     educational institution  or call or

     classes of such institution.

     (a) the  number of         seats set apart

     as Government seats:

     (b) the number of seats that may be

     filled up by the management of such


     (i) from  among Karnataka        students

     on the  basis of  merit, on payment

     of such  cash  deposits  refundable

     after such number of years, with or

     without   interest    as    may   be

     specified therein, but without the

     payment of capitation fee; or

     (ii) at the discretion:

     Provided that  such number of seats

     as  may   be   specified  by   the

     Government but  not less than fifty

     per cent  of the  total  number  of

     seats referred  to in  clauses  (a)

     and (b)  shall be filled from among

     Karnataka students.

     Explanation. -  For the purposes of

     this  section   Karnataka students

     means persons  who have  studied in

     such  educational institutions  in

     the  State   of  Karnataka         run  or

     recognised by  the         Government  and

     for such  number of  years        as  the

     Government may specify;

     (3)  an   educational   institution

     required    to    fill   seats    in

     accordance with  item (i)         of  sub-

     clause (b) of clause  (2)          form  a

     committee to  select candidates for

     such seats.  A nominee  each or the

     Government and  the  University  to

     which such         educational institution

     is affiliated  shall be included as

     members in such committee."


     "Section 53.

     (1) Colleges  within the University

     area   may,   on  satisfying   the

     conditions   specified    in   this

     section,  be   affiliated   to   the

     University as  affiliated   Colleges

     by   the   University    on    the

     recommendations made  by the  State


     (2)   A     college   applying   for

     affiliation to the University shall

     send   an    application   to   the

     Registrar   within  the  time  limit

     fixed  by   Ordinances  and   shall

     satisfy  the   Syndicate  and   the

     Academic Council.

     (a) .....

     (b) .....

     (c)   that     the  strength    and

     qualifications  of    the   teaching

     staff and  the conditions governing

     their tenure  of office are such as

     to  make  due  provision for  the

     courses of instruction, teaching or

     training to  be undertaken        by  the


     (d) That  the building in which the

     college  is   to  be   located  are

     suitable and that provision will be

     made   in  conformity   with   the

     Ordinances for the residence in the

     college or in lodgings approved by

     the  college,   for  students   not

     residing  with   their  parents  or

     guardians and  for the  supervision

     and welfare of students.

     (e) That  due  provision  has  been

     made or will be made for a library.

     (f) Where affiliation is sought in

     any branch of experimental science,

     that arrangements have been or will

     be made  in  conformity  with  the

     Statutes,      Ordinances      and

     Regulations      for      importing

     instruction  in   the   branch   of

     science  in   a  properly  equipped

     laboratory or museum;

     (g) ......

     (h) That the financial resources of

     the college are such as to make due

     provision   for     its    continued

     maintenance and  efficient working,


     (i) ......

     10.(a)   No admission  of students

     shall be  made  by         a  new         college

     seeking    affiliation    to    any

     University or   by   an   existing

     college seeking  affiliation  to  a

     new     course  of          study to  such

     course, unless, as the case may be,

     affiliation  has  been  granted  to

     such new college or to the existing

     college in  respect of  such course

     of study.

     (b) The  maximum number of students

     to be admitted to a course of study

     shall not   exceed the  intake fixed

     by   the   University    or    the

     Government, as  the case may be and

     any  admission   made  after   this

     section came  into force  in excess

     of the intake shall be invalid.

     (c) No  student whose admission has

     become invalid  under (b)         shall be

     eligible to  appear  not  shall  be

     presented by  the college to appear

     at any examination conducted by the


     Section 33          of the Medical Council  Act  empowers     the

Medical Council         to  frame  regulations         with  the  previous

sanction of the Central Government to carry out the purposes

of the  Medical Council         Act.  In  exercise  of          this  power

Medical Council         framed regulations  after approval  by      the

Central            Government providing   for   minimum   standard

requirements for a medical college adopting admission on the

basis of  admitting 100        students annually  as the base. The

regulations  are   in  three   parts  -          Part-I deals  with

accommodation in  the college  and its      associated  teaching

hospitals; Part-II  deals  with         staff  (both  teaching        and

technical) and          Part-III deals with equipment in the college

departments and      in the hospitals.  These  regulations        are

quite in detail. Again under Section 33, the Medical Council

framed regulations    prescribing    qualifications   for

appointment of persons to the posts of teachers and visiting

physicians/surgeons, etc.  in medical  colleges and attached

hospitals for  under-graduate  and  post-graduate  teaching.

These regulations  are also  framed after  approval  by    the

Central          Government.   The  Medical   Council  then   framed

regulations in  exercise  of  power  conferred        upon  it  by

Section 10A  read with Section 33 of the Medical Council Act

and with  the previous         approval of  the Central Government.

These regulations relate to the establishment of new medical

colleges, opening of higher posts of studies and increase of

admission capacity  of the medical colleges. The regulations

came into force w.e.f. September 20, 1993. These regulations

provide that  maximum number  of admission  in    MBBS  course

should not exceed 150 annually. It is the Central Government

which permits  the increase  in admission  capacity  on    the

recommendation of the Medical Council.

     Till January  3, 1977  education was  a  State  subject

under Entry  11 in  List II (Entry 11 - "education including

universities, subject  to the  provisions of entries 63, 64,

65 and 66 of List I and Entry 25 of List III"). By the 42nd

Constitutional Amendment  Act 1976  Entry 11 was deleted and

it was  placed in  the Concurrent  List  by  enlarging        the

existing Entry 25. Relevant  entries 63  to 66       of  List  I

(Union List)  and entries  25 and 26 of List III (Concurrent

List) in the Seventh are as under :-

     List I (Union List)

     "63. The  institutions known at the

     commencement of  this  Constitution

     as the  Benares  Hindu  University,

     the Aligarh  Muslim University  and

     the    [Delhi    University;    the

     University established in pursuance

     of    article    371E]   any   other

     institution declared  by Parliament

     by law  to be  an          institution  of

     national importance.

     64. Institutions  for scientific or

     technical education financed by the

     Government of  India wholly  or  in

     part and  declared by Parliament by

     law to  be institutions of national


     65. Union agencies and institutions

     for -

     (a)  professional,   vocational  or

     technical training,  including  the

     training of police officers; or

     (b)  the    promotion   of special

     studies or research; or

     (c)   scientific     or    technical

     assistance in  the investigation or

     detection of crime.

     66. Co-ordination and determination

     of standards  in  institutions  for

     higher education  or  research  and

     scientific       and       technical


     List III (Concurrent List)

     "25. Education, including technical

     education,          medical  education  and

     universities,   subject     to   the

     provisions of  entries 63, 64,  65

     and 66  of List  I; vocational  and

     technical training or labour.

     26.  Legal,   medical   and   other


     Scope of  Entry 66        of list  I was construed by 6 Judge

Bench judgment        of this Court in  The Gujarat          University,

Ahmedabad vs.  Krishna Ranganath  Madholkar and others (1963

Supp. (1)  SCR 112).  The question  for determination before

the Court  was (1)  whether the     Gujarat University  had the

power under the Gujarat University Act to prescribe Gujarati

or  Hindi   or   both   as  exclusive   medium  or  media  of

instructions and  examination and  (2)       whether        legislation

authorising  the   University  to   impose  such  media     was

constitutionally valid  in view of Entry 66 of List I of the

Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. The controversy raised

in that case would,  however, not  survive after  the      42nd

Amendment when

Entry 11  of List II has been deleted. Reading Entry 11 List

II as  it existed  the Court said that power of the State to

legislate in  respect of  education  including         Universities

must to         the extent  to which  it is  entrusted to the Union

Parliament, whether  such power    is  exercised  or  not,  is

deemed to  be restricted.  If a       subject of  legislation  is

covered by  entries 63        to 66  even if it  otherwise  falls

within  the    larger  field   of   "education   including

Universities" power  to legislate  on that  subject must lie

with the  Parliament. Entry  11 of  List II  and Entry 66 of

List I   must be         harmoniously  construed.  The       two  entries

undoubtedly overlap:  but to  the extent of overlapping, the

power conferred       by Entry 66 of List I must prevail over the

power of the State under Entry 11 of List II. It is manifest

that  excluded          heads deal  primarily with  education  in

institutions  of   national  or   special   importance          and

institutions  of   higher  education   including   research,

science, technology  and vocational  training of labour. The

Court held as under :-

     "The  State   has the   power   to

     prescribe the  syllabi and          courses

     of study  in the institutions named

     in Entry 66 (but not falling within

     entries  63   to  65)   and  as  an

     incident thereof  it has  the power

     to indicate  the  medium  in  which

     instruction should be imparted. But

     the   Union   Parliament  has   an

     overriding legislative   power  to

     ensure that the syllabi and courses

     of study  prescribed and the medium

     selected do not impair standards of

     education or   render   the   co-

     ordination of such standards either

     on an  All  India  or  other  basis

     impossible or even difficult. Thus,

     though the         powers of the Union and

     of the  State are in the Exclusive

     Lists, a  degree of  overlapping is

     inevitable. It  is no t possible to

     lay down  any  general  test  which

     would afford  a solution  for every

     question which  might arise on this

     head.  On the  one  hand,  it  is

     certainly within  the  province  of

     the State Legislature to prescribe

     syllabi and  courses of  study and,

     of course, to indicate  the medium

     or media  of  instruction. On  the

     other hand,  it is  also within the

     power of  the Union to legislate in

     respect of media of instruction so

     as  to   ensure  co-ordination  and

     determination of standards, that is

     to     ensure     maintenance     or

     improvement of  standards. The fact

     that the  Union has not legislated,

     or refrained  from legislating  to

     the full  extent of its powers does

     not invest the State with the power

     to legislate in respect of a matter

     assigned by the Constitution to the

     union. It does not, however, follow

     that  even            within  the  permitted

     relative fields  there might not be

     legislative      provisions      in

     enactments made  each in  pursuance

     of separate  exclusive and distinct

     powers  which  may       conflict.  Then

     would   arise   the   question   of

     repugnancy        and  paramountcy  which

     may have  to  be  resolved       on  the

     application  of  the  "doctrine  of

     pith and substance" of the impugned

     enactment.         The   validity of  the

     State  legislation   on  University

     education and   as   regards   the

     education   in     technical    and

     scientific institutions not falling

     within Entry  64 of  List  I  would

     have to  be judged having regard to

     whether it impinges on  the  files

     reserved for  the Union under Entry

     66. In other words, the validity of

     State legislation would depend upon

     whether  it  prejudicially affects

     co-ordination and determination of

     standards,            but   not   upon   the

     existence of  some        definite  Union

     legislation  directed   to  achieve

     that purpose.  If  there  be  Union

     legislation  in   respect   of   co-

     ordination and   determination  of

     standards,             that    would    have

     paramountcy over  the State  law by

     virtue of   the first  part of  Art.

     254(1); even  if that  power be not

     exercised by  the Union  Parliament

     the  relevant  legislative entries

     being in  the  exclusive  lists,  a

     State law trenching upon the Union

     field would still be invalid."

     It further held :-

     "Item No.66  is a  legislative head

     and in  interpreting it,  unless it

     is expressly  or of necessity found

     conditioned  by   the  words   used

     therein,  a  narrow  or  restricted

     interpretation will not be put upon

     the generality  of the words. Power

     to legislate  on a subject  should

     normally be  held to  extend to all

     ancillary   or   subsidiary matters

     which can fairly and reasonably be

     said to  be  comprehended        in  that

     subject.  Again  there  is nothing

     either in   item 66 or elsewhere in

     the Constitution which supports the

     submission that the expression "co-

     ordination"  must mean  in   the

     context in which it is used merely

     evaluation,  co-ordination         in  its

     normal      connotation     means

     harmonising or bringing into proper

     relation in  which all  the  things

     co-ordinated   participate           in   a

     common pattern of action. The power

     to co-ordinate,  therefore, is  not

     merely power  to evaluate,       it is a

     power  to harmonise   or           secure

     relationship for  concerted action.

     The power conferred by item 66 List

     I    is   not  conditioned  by   the

     existence of  a state  of emergency

     or unequal standards  calling  for

     the exercise of the power.

     There is nothing in the entry which

     indicates  that   the   power   to

     legislate   on   co-ordination   of

     standards in institutions of higher

     education,          does  not  include  the

     power to  legislate for  preventing

     the occurrence of or for removal of

     disparities  in   standards.   This

     power  is  not  conditioned  to  be

     exercised merely upon the existence

     of a  condition of disparity nor is

     it   a   power  merely  to         evaluate

     standards but  not to take steps to

     rectify or to prevent disparity. By

     express   pronouncement          of   the

     Constitution makers,  it is a power

     to co-ordinate,  and of  necessity,

     implied therein  is  the  power  to

     prevent   what   would   make   co-

     ordination impossible or difficult.

     The   power    is  absolute    and

     unconditional, and         in the absence

     of any  controlling reasons it must

     be given  full effect  according to

     its plain and expressed intention."

     Mr. Dave  appearing for  the Medical  Council submitted

that this Court in Nivedita Jain's case did not say that all

the Regulations        framed by the Medical Council under Section

33 of  the Medical  Council Act were directory. He said that

the Court  in that  case was considering Regulations 1 and 2

only and  it had held that while Regulation 1 was mandatory,

Regulation 2  was  of  directory  character,  i.e.,  it        was

recommendatory. Mr.  Dave is  correct in his submission. The

Division Bench in the  impugned fell  into basic  error  in

holding that  this Court  in Nivedita Jain's case said as if

all the Regulations were  directory in        nature. We  may now

examine that judgment and a few others cited at Bar.

     In State  of Madhya  Pradesh  and       another         vs.  Kumari

Nivedita Jain  and others  (1981  (4)  SCC  296)  there    was

challenge to  the validity  of the executive order passed by

the State Government relaxing the conditions relating to the

minimum        qualifying  marks  for          selection  of  students  to

medical colleges  of  the  State  in  respect  of  candidate

belonging  to  Scheduled  Castes   and        Scheduled   Tribes

categories being  violative of          the Regulations framed under

Section 33  of the  Indian Medical  Council Act,  1956.    The

Court referred to the object of the Act and to its various

provisions relevant being Sections 19 and 19A of the Medical

Council          Act.   Nivedita  Jain, who  was  a  candidate      for

admission to  the medical  college in  the State  of  Madhya

Pradesh, contended  that the  order of the State Government,

lowering the   qualifying  marks for  Scheduled      Castes         and

Scheduled  Tribes   candidates       for   admission          to  medical

colleges, contravened  Regulation II  and would    be  hit  by

Section 19  of the  Medical Council Act exposing the medical

colleges to  the risk  of being         recognised. High  Court had

struck down  the  Government's     order  being  violative  of

Regulation II  which had  the force of a statute. This Court

considered Regulations I and II. While Regulation I provided

for admission  to medical  course stating  that no candidate

shall be  allowed to  be admitted  to the medical curriculum

proper until  he had  attained certain        age and         had  passed

certain examination, Regulation II provided for selection of

students and it said that selection of students to a medical

college should be based solely on merit of the candidate and

it laid  certain criteria to be adopted uniformly throughout

the country  for the  determination  of      merit. This  Court

observed as under :-

     "Regulation   I     prescribed   the

     eligibility  f   a     candidate   for

     admission to  medical courses.  For

     maintaining  proper   standards  in

     Medical Colleges  and  Institutions

     it comes  within the  competence of

     the  Council   to  prescribe   the

     necessary qualification   of   the

     candidates who  may seek  admission

     into the  Medical Colleges. As this

     Regulation is within the competence

     of the  Council,  the  Council  has

     framed this  Regulation in a manner

     which leaves  no  doubt  that  this

     Regulation   is      mandatory.   The

     language of  this Regulation, which

     starts with the words "no candidate

     shall be  allowed to be admitted to

     the medical  curriculum  until...",

     make   this   position   absolutely

     clear.  On   the  other   hand  the

     language  in  Regulation  II  which

     relates to s election of candidates

     clearly goes  to indicate that the

     Council itself appears to have been

     aware  of  the  limitation on  its

     powers to frame any such regulation

     regarding the  procedure or process

     of  selection   of candidates  for

     admission to the medical course out

     of  the   candidates  qualified  or

     eligible to seek such admission."

     The Court said that it was of the opinion that the use

of the words "should be" in Regulation II was deliberate and

was intended  to  indicate  the       intention  of  the  Medical

Council that  it was  only in  the nature of recommendation.

Regulation I,  which lays  down conditions or qualifications

for  admission into  medical course,  comes        within the

competence of  Medical       Council          under Section         33  of the

Medical Council         Act and  it is mandatory and        the  Medical

Council          has   used  language          to  manifest  the  mandatory

character clearly,  whereas Regulation       II, which deals with

process or  procedures for  selection from  amongst eligible

candidates for          admission, is  merely in  the  nature  of  a

recommendation and  directory in  nature, as laying down the

process         or   procedure         for   selection  or   admission  of

candidates out         of the  candidates eligible or qualified for

such admission         under Regulation I. The Court said that from

the provisions of the  Medical Council         Act it was apparent

that the  authority of          the Medical  Council extends  to the

sphere of  maintaining proper  medical standards  in medical

colleges or  institutions necessary for obtaining recognised

medical qualifications and by virtue of  this authority it

may be          open to         the Medical Council to lay down the minimum

educational qualification  required for the students seeking

admission  into           medical  colleges.   Medical          Council          was

authorized  to prescribe  minimum   standards      of  medical

education   required   for   granting recognized   medical

qualification including standards of  post-graduate medical

education. The         Medical Council         Act envisages         that  if  it

appears to  the Medical Council that the course of study and

examination to         be undergone in, or the proficiency required

from students  at any  examination held by any university or

medical         institution   do  not  conform  to   the  standard

prescribed  by the  Medical  Council  or  that        the  staff,

equipment, accommodation,  training and other facilities for

instructions and  training provided  in such  university  or

medical institutions  or in any college or other institution

affiliated  to   that  university  do  not  conform  to       the

standards prescribed  by the  Medical Council,      it will make

representation to  that effect to the Central Government and

on the consideration of  the  representation  made  by    the

Medical Council,  the Central  Government may take action in

terms of  the provisions  contained in        Section         19  of the

Medical Council         Act. The  Medical Council Act also empowers

the Medical Council to take various measures to enable it to

judge whether proper medical standard is being maintained in

particular institutions or not.

     In Dr.  Ambesh Kumar  vs. Principal,  L.L.R.M.  Medical

College, Meerut and others (1986 (Supp.) SCC 543) there were

challenge to  an order         of the  State Government laying down

qualifications regarding  eligibility of  a candidate  to be

considered for admission to  the  post-graduate  degree  in

M.D., M.S.  and diploma       course in  M.D., M.S.         etc. on          the

basis of merit in accordance with the Regulations made under

the Indian  Medical Council  Act. It  was contended that the

order of  the State  was invalid as it encroached upon Entry

66 of  List I  of the  Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

The  State   Government     had   issued  a   notice   inviting

applications for  admission to various post-graduate courses

in degree  and diploma         in  different  specialities  of  the

medical colleges.  In para  4 of  the  said  notice  it        was

specifically   stated   that   the    minimum         eligibility

qualification of  the applicants  would be  according to the

recommendations of  Medical Council of India. Over and above

what the  Regulation of       the Medical  Council has prescribed

the State Government laid the following provision :-

     "No candidate shall be eligible for

     admission to  post-graduate  degree

     or diploma course, who has obtained

     less than  55 per cent and  52 per

     cent marks         respectively, for  the

     two courses  (degree &  diploma) in

     merit calculated in accordance with

     para 2 of the said notice."

     This Court considered the question so raised and upheld

the Government's order with the following observations:-

     "20.  The  only  question           to  be

     considered is  whether the impugned

     order is repugnant to or encroaches

     upon or  it is in conflict with the

     power of the Central legislature to

     make laws in  respect  of matters

     specified in  Entry 66 of List I of

     the   Seventh   Schedule          to   the

     Constitution.  The         Indian Medical

     Council pursuant  to Section  33 of

     the Indian Medical Council Act had

     made certain  recommendations which

     have   been    embodied   in    the

     Regulations  made         by  the          Central

     Government laying down the criteria

     or  standards   for  admitting  the

     candidates to various post-graduate

     disciplines in the Medical Colleges

     of the State. These Regulations, as

     has   been            quoted   hereinbefore,

     clearly      prescribe    that    the

     candidates           should   be   selected

     strictly on  merit  judged         on  the

     basis of  academic         record          in  the

     undergraduate  courses   i.e.  MBBS

     Course and this selection should be

     conducted by  the University. There

     are    also    other    eligibility

     qualifications provided in the said

     Regulations namely        the  candidates

     must     have     obtained             full

     registration i.e.    they  must  have

     completed satisfactorily  one  year

     of compulsory  rotating  internship

     after  passing   the   final   MBBS

     examination and also they must have

     done one  year's housemanship prior

     to admission  to the  post-graduate

     degree or diploma course."

     "22. In the instant case the number

     of seats  for admission  to various

     post-graduate courses  both  degree

     and diploma  in Medical Colleges is

     limited  and   a  large  number  of

     candidates         undoubtedly  apply  for

     admission  to   these  courses   of

     study. In  such  circumstances  the

     impugned  order   laying  down  the

     qualification for a candidate to be

     eligible for  being considered  for

     selection for admission to the said

     courses on         the basis  of the merit

     as specified  by  Regulations  made

     under the Indian  Medical         Council

     Act,  cannot   be said  to  be  in

     conflict with  the said Regulations

     or in any way repugnant to the said

     Regulations. It does not in any way

     encroach  upon   the    standards

     prescribed by the said Regulations.

     On the  other hand by laying down a

     further       qualification       of

     eligibility   it        promotes    and

     furthers  the   standards in   an


     In Osmania         University Teachers'  Association vs. State

of Andhra  Pradesh  and      another  (1987        (4)  SCC  671)        the

question for  consideration before  the      Court was  if the

Andhra Pradesh Commissionerate of Higher Education Act, 1966

was constitutionally  valid being violative of Entry 66 List

I or  Entry 25 List III  of the  Seventh  Schedule  to       the

Constitution. The  Court examined  the relevant    entries  in

List I   and List  III and  said that  the  field  to  which

impugned Act  applied was already occupied by the University

Grants Commission  Act, passed      by the Union Parliament. The

impugned Act  had established  a Commissionerate  which          the

Court  said   had  practically taken over   the  academic

programmes  and        activities   of   the    Universities  and

Universities  had  been        rendered  irrelevant  if  not non-

entities. The Court observed as under :-

     "14. Entry 25 List III relating to

     education   including    technical

     education,          medical  education  and

     universities has  been made subject

     to  the   power  of  Parliament  to

     legislate under Entries 63 to 66 of

     List I.  Entry 66   List I and Entry

     25 List  III should,  therefore, be

     read together. Entry 66 gives power

     to Union  to see  that  a required

     standard of higher education in the

     country is maintained. The standard

     of    Higher   Education   including

     scientific and technical should not

     be lowered         at  the  hands         of  any

     particular    State             or    States.

     Secondly, it   is   the   exclusive

     responsibility   of   the   Central

     Government          to   co-ordinate   and

     determine the  standards for higher

     education. That  power includes the

     power to  evaluate,  harmonise  and

     secure proper  relationship to  any

     project of national importance. It

     is needless  to state  that such  a

     co-ordinate   action    in   higher

     education with proper standards, is

     of paramount importance to national

     progress. It  is in  this    national

     interest, the  legislative field in

     regard  to   'education'  has  been

     distributed between List I and List

     III of the Seventh Schedule.

     15. The  Parliament  has  exclusive

     power to legislate with  respect to

     matters included  in  List I.  The

     State has no power at all in regard

     to  such  matters.  If  the  State

     legislates on  the subject         falling

     within List  I that  will be  void,

     inoperative and unenforceable.

     xxx     xxx   xxx   xxx

     25.    It    is  apparent  from  this

     discussion that the Commissionerate

     Act has  been drawn by the large in

     the same  terms as those of the UGC

     Act. The Commissionerate Act, as we

     have  earlier  seen  also  contains

     some  more           provisions.  Both  the

     enactments, however,  deal with the

     same subject matter. Both deal with

     the co-ordination and determination

     of excellence  in the  standards of

     teaching  and  examination       in  the

     Universities. Here and there, some

     of the  words and sentences used in

     the  Commissionerate   Act       may  be

     different from  those used        in  the

     UGC  Act, but  nevertheless,  they

     convey the same meaning. It is just

     like referring  to the  same person

     with     (sic     by)     different

     descriptions   and             names.    The

     intention of the legislature has to

     be gathered  by reading the statute

     as a whole. That is a rule which is

     now  firmly   established for  the

     purpose    of    construction    of

     statutes. The High Court appears to

     have gone on a  tangent. The  High

     Court would not have fallen into an

     error if it had perused the UGC Act

     as a whole and compared it with the

     Commissionerate Act or vice versa."

     Mr.  Reddy,  appearing  for  the  State  of  Karnataka,

referred to a decision of this Court in Ajay Kumar Singh and

others vs.  State of Bihar and others (1994 (4) SCC 401). In

this  case   the  Court         was  considering  the         question  of

permissibility of providing reservations under clause (4) of

Article 15  of the  Constitution  in  post-graduate  medical

courses in  the State  of Bihar.  The State  Government  had

issued a   prospectus          relating  to  post-graduate  medical

admission test,         1992 providing         reservation  in  favour  of

socially  and   educationally  backward      classes,  Scheduled

Castes, Scheduled  Tribes and  women. One of the contentions

raised was  that the Regulations made by the Medical Council

prescribed reservation         of seats  in  post-graduate  medical

courses on  any grounds      whatsoever and       that the Regulation

being statutory        in  nature  prevailed over  the  executive

orders made  by the  State of Bihar in exercise of executive

powers. The  Court again  considered the relevant entries in

Lists I  and III of Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and

the provisions of the  Medical Council of India Act and the

Regulations framed  under Section  33 of that Act. The Court

observed as under :-

     "18. A  review of the provisions of

     the Act  clearly shows  that  among

     other things,  the Act is concerned

     with    the    determination    and

     coordination   of    standards   of

     education and  training in         medical

     institutions. Sections  16,  17  18

     and 19 all speak of "the courses of

     study  and            examinations          to   be

     undergone" to obtain the recognised

     medical qualification.  They do not

     speak of admission to such courses.

     Section 19-A expressly empowers the

     council to "prescribe the         minimum

     standards of   medical  education"

     required for granting undergraduate

     medical  qualification.   So   does

     Section 20          empower the  council to

     prescribe standards of postgraduate

     medical  education           but  "for  the

     guidance of  universities" only. It

     further says  that the council "may

     also  advise  universities in  the

     matter    of    securing   uniform

     standards for  postgraduate medical

     education throughout  India".  (The

     distinction between the language of

     Section 19-A and Section 20 is also

     a   relevant  factor,  as  would  be

     explained  later.) Clause          (j)  of

     Section   33   particularises   the

     subjects  with   respect  to  which

     Regulations  can  be  made       by  the

     council. It  speaks of  the courses

     and  period   of  study   and   the

     practical training  to be undergone

     by the  students, the  subjects  of

     examination which         they  must  pass

     and the  standards          of proficiency

     they  must         attain to  obtain  the

     recognised          medical  qualifications

     but it  does not speak of admission

     to such  courses of  study. Indeed,

     none of the sections aforementioned

     empower the  council to regulate or

     prescribe     qualifications     or

     conditions for  admission to  such

     courses   of    study.   No   other

     provision in  the Act  does. It  is

     thus clear that the  Act does  not

     purport to deal with,  regulate or

     provide for  admission to graduate

     or  postgraduate  medical        courses.

     Indeed,  insofar   as  postgraduate

     courses are concerned, the power of

     the  Indian   Medical  Council   to

     "prescribe the minimum standards of

     medical education" is only advisory

     in nature  and  not  of  a         binding

     character. In  such a situation, it

     would be rather curious to say that

     the Regulations  made under the Act

     are   binding    upon   them.   The

     Regulations  made         under the  Act

     cannot also provide for or regulate

     admission to  postgraduate       courses

     in any event."

     The Court then said  that the  Regulations made by the

Medical         Council  speak         generally  of  students  for  post-

graduate training  being selected  "strictly on merit judged

on  the          basis  of  academic  record  in  the  undergraduate

course". This, the Court  said, was  more in  the nature of

advice and  not in  binding direction and went to observe as

under :-

     "The Regulation  does not         say that

     no reservations  can  be         provided

     under  Article   15(4).  The  power

     conferred upon  the State by clause

     (4)   of     Article   15    is    a

     constitutional  power.   The   said

     power obviously could not have been

     overridden or   superseded  by   a

     Regulation made  by  the            Indian

     Medical Council  under the Act. The

     Regulation must  be read consistent

     with Article  15(4) and if so read,

     it means that the students shall be

     admitted to  postgraduate        training

     strictly on  the basis  of merit in

     each of  the  relevant  classes  or

     categories, as the case may be. Any

     other construction         seeking to give

     an absolute  meaning  to  the  said

     Regulation would  render it invalid

     both on  the ground  of  travelling

     beyond the         Act. It  may also  fall

     foul of Article 15(4)."

     The Court also referred  to  an  earlier  decision  in

Nivedita Jain's case (1981  (4) SCC 296) where, as noted in

that case,  this Court said that Regulation II was directory

and did          not have  any mandatory force. Whether a Regulation

is directory or mandatory will depend upon the language used

in the  Regulation and         the object  of the  Act it  seeks to


     Mr. Rama  Jois, appearing         for  J.N.  Medical  College,

Belgaum, respondent  No. 16,  submitted that if the State or

the University has fixed  intake for  admission to  medical

college as  on June 1, 1992 that would continue to hold good

unless the  medical college  asks for increase. He said that

even if the Medical   Council          had passed production of the

seats existing on June         1, 1992  it could  do so only after

notice and  after hearing  the medical college. He submitted

that  in  the  letter  of  the  Central          Government  to       the

Secretary, Medical Council, which is dated January 19, 1994,

clarification  was   given  as to  the word  "established"

mentioned in  Section 10-A  of the  Medical Council  Act, as

amended. In  this letter the opinion of the Ministry of Law,

Justice and  Company Affairs  (Department of  Legal Affairs)

was communicated, which was to the following effect :-

     "The provisions  of Section 10-A of

     the IMC  (Amendment) Act, 1993 will

     not apply  to  those  colleges  who

     have   obtained   all    necessary

     statutory/ administrative approvals

     from the respective authorities and

     where   admission          procedure   was

     commenced prior  to 1st June, 1992.

     This would          imply  that  all  those

     Medical Colleges  who have       started

     the admission  procedure  prior  to

     1.6.1992,    after    taking    the

     following   permission,   will   be

     outside the  purview of 'Amendment'


     (i)  Permission  of  the  concerned

     State Government.

     (ii) Affiliation  of the  concerned


     This would          also apply  to cases of

     increase in  admission capacity  in

     Medical Colleges  and  starting  of

     new Post Graduate Medical Courses."

     He said there were further answers to queries raised by

the Medical  Council  in  this letter, which showed         that

Section 10-A  would not      be  applicable          in  case  admission

procedure was commenced prior to June 1, 1992. In support of

his submission that such a clarification will be binding on

the Medical  Council Mr. Rama Jois referred to a decision of

this  Court   in  K.P.  Varghese  vs.  Income  Tax  Officer,

Ernakulam and  another (1981  (4) SCC  173).  In  this    case

Central Board  of Direct  Taxes issued       two circulars  which

were binding  on the  Tax  Department  in  administering  or

executing a  certain provision         in the  Act. The  Court said

that quite apart from the binding of the circulars "they are

clearly in  the nature of contemporanea expositio furnishing

legitimate aid  in the  construction of sub-section (2). The

rule  of     construction   by reference  to  contemporanea

expositio is  a well  established rule for  interpreting  a

statute by  reference to the exposition it has received from

contemporary authority,      though it  must give  way where the

language of the statute is plain and unambiguous". We do not

think that the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court under

the  Income-tax         Act,  1961  would  be        applicable  to the

clarification issued by the Central Government in its letter

dated January  19, 1994.  Section 119 of the Income-tax Act,

1961 empowers  the Central  Board of  Direct Taxes  to issue

such orders, instructions and directions to other Income-tax

authorities as it may deem fit for the proper administration

of that Act. The  powers which      the Central Board of Direct

Tax exercise  under Section  119 of the Income-tax Act, 1961

are statutory  in nature.  A court is, however, not bound by

any  clarification   that  may be  issued  by the  Central

Government or  any other  authority interpreting  a  certain

provision of  law. We may, however, note that in the case of

J.N. Medical  College, we are told, that certain proceedings

are pending either in the Karnataka High Court or before the

Medical Council         regarding the number of seats for admission

to the College. It  is not  necessary for  us to comment on

those proceedings.

     The Indian Medical Council Act is relatable to Entry 66

of List I (Union List). It prevails over any state enactment

to the extent the  State  enactment  is  repugnant  to   the

provision of  the Act  even though  the State  Acts  may  be

relatable to Entries 25 or 26 of List III (Concurrent List).

Regulations framed  under Section  33 of the Medical Council

Act with  the previous         sanctions of  the Central Government

are statutory. These regulations are framed to carry out the

purposes of the Medical Council Act and for various purposes

mentioned in  Section 33.  If a       regulation falls within the

purposes referred  under Section  33 of     the Medical Council

At, it   will have  mandatory force.  Regulations  have      been

framed with  reference to clauses (fa), (fb) and (fc) (which

have been  introduced by  the Amendment Act of 1993 w.e.f.

August 27, 1992) and clauses (j), (k) and (l) of Section 33.

     Considering   the law   laid   by   this    Court   in

aforementioned judgments  and provisions  of law,  we do not

think that  the dispute        raised by the State of Karnataka is

any longer re integra.

     Proceedings before        the learned single Judge started on

a complaint  received through  post wherein  it was  alleged

that Medical  Colleges in  the State  of Karnataka  had been

permitted by  the State       Government to admit students far in

excess of  the admission  capacities fixed  by       the  Medical

Council and  that this          was so despite the directions issued

by the Medical Council in its letter dated November 21, 1994

to the State Government,  copied of which were also sent to

the Director of Medical Education  and to the Principals and

Deans of  the Medical  colleges inviting  their attention to

the provisions of Sections  10A,10B, and 10c of the Medical

Council Act which amendment came into effect from August 27,

1992. In this letter of the Medical colleges in the State of

Karnataka were admitting students in excess of the number of

students fixed by the Medical Council because of the orders

of the  Karnataka Government. The letter gave details of the

admission capacity  fixed by  the Medical  Council and their

sanction by  the State        and yet the admission of students in

some colleges was over and above the strength that was fixed

by the State Government. A direction, therefore, was issued

to take          corrective steps and to reduce the excess number of

admissions being  made in  the medical colleges in the State

to the number as approved by the Medical Council. By letter

dated August  24, 1995,      the Central Government informed the

State Government  that if there was any proposal to increase

the admission  capacity in medical colleges, it was required

to be  submitted to the Central Government in the prescribed

format. The  State Government  was, therefore,   requested to

submit the  proposal  to  increase  the      admission  capacity

college-wise to         the Central  Government. Since there was no

response to  the request  made by  the     Medical         Council  to

reduce the  admission capacity       to that fixed by the Medical

Council, it  requested the  Central Government by its letter

dated August  20, 1996 for taking penal action under Section

19  of  the  Medical  Council          Act   for  the purpose  of

derecognising the  medical  qualifications  granted  by     the

universities in the State. Pleas of the State Government and

colleges in  the State          were that  the Medical Council had n

statutory authority  under the        Medical Council         Act or any

other existing law to fix the admission capacity  of        the

medical colleges  in the  State and  that even Sections 10A,

10B and         10c did  not vest  any such  power in       the  Medical

Council and further that even after June 1, 1992 or for that

matter August  27, 1992,  the power  to    fix  the  admission

capacity of  a medical         college could  be traced only to the

State Government  under     Section  53(10)  of  the  Karnataka

Universities Act,  1976 read  with Section  4(1) (b)  of the

Capitation Fee          Act. Learned  single Judge  did not find any

merit in   any  of these pleas raised by the respondents and

allowed the  writ petition  as aforesaid.  As noted above on

appeal by  the State of karnataka, the Division Bench in its

impugned judgment partly allowed the same.

     The State Acts, namely, Karnataka Universities Act and

Karnataka Capitation  Fee Act  must give  way to the central

Act, namely, the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. Karnataka

Capitation Fee          Act was        enacted for  the  sole        purpose  of

regulation in  collection of  capitation is empowered to fix

the maximum   number  of students  that can  be admitted but

that number  cannot be       over and  above that  fixed  by      the

Medial Council as per the Regulations.  Chapter IX  f       the

Karnataka Universities         Act, which  contains  provision       for

affiliation of    colleges and  recognition  of  institutions,

applies to  all types  of colleges  and not  necessarily  to

professional colleges  like  medical  colleges.        Sub-section

(10) of Section 53,  falling in  Chapter IX  of  this Act,

provides for  maximum number  of students  to be admitted to

course for  studies in a college  and that number shall not

exceed the intake fixed by the University or the Government.

But this  provision has         again to  be read  subject  to        the

intake fixed  by the  Medical Council under its Regulations.

It is the Medical Council which is primarily responsible for

fixing standards  of medical  education and over-seeing that

these standards       are maintained.  It is          the Medical Council

which is  the principal          body to  lay  down  conditions       for

recognition of medical colleges  which       would include the

fixing of intake for admission to a medical college. We have

already seen  in the  beginning       of  this  judgment  various

provisions of the Medical

Council Act.  It is, therefore, the Medical Council which in

effect grants  recognition  and       also  withdraws  the  same.

Regulations under  Section 33  of the  Medical Council     Act,

which were  made in 1977, prescribe the accommodation in the

College and  its associated  teaching hospitals and teaching

and technical  staff and equipment in various departments in

the college  and in  the hospitals. These Regulations are in

considerable details. Teacher-student ratio prescribed     is 1

to 10 exclusive of the professor or head of the     department.

Regulations further prescribe, apart from other things, that

number of  teaching beds in the attached hospitals will have

to  be  in  the ratio   of  7  beds  per  student  admitted.

Regulations of the Medical  Council, which were approved by

the  Central   Government   in        1971, provide   for  the

qualification requirements  for appointments  of persons  to

the posts  of teachers         and visiting  Physician/Surgeons  of

medical colleges and attached hospitals.

     In the colleges in the State of Karnataka, the Medical

Council prescribed  the        number         of  admissions         that  these

colleges  could           take  annually   on  the  basis  of  these

regulations. Without  permission of the Medical Council, the

number of  admissions could not be more than that prescribed

at the time of granting recognition to the college. However,

it appears  that in  violation of  the provisions  of the

Medical         Council   Act,          the   universities  and  the  State

Government have      been allowing increase in admission intake

in the  medical colleges  in the State in total disregard of

the regulations         and  rather  in  violation  thereof.  These

medical colleges  cannot admit       students over  and above the

intake fixed  by the  Medical Council.         These colleges         have

acted illegally in admitting more students than prescribed.

Universities and  the State  Government had  no authority to

allow increase in the  number of  admissions in the medical

colleges in  the State.         When  regulations  prescribed        that

number of  teaching beds  will have  to be in the ratio of 7

beds per  student admitted  any increase  in the  number  of

admissions will          have corresponding increase in the teaching

beds in          the attached  hospital. These regulations have been

over-looked by         the universities and the State Government in

allowing admissions over and above that fixed by the Medical

Council. Respondents  have not produced any document to show

that increase in admission capacity to medical colleges over

that fixed  by the  Medical Council  has any relation to the

existence of  relevant infrastructure  in  their  respective

colleges and  that there  is also  corresponding increase in

number of  beds for  students  in  the       attached  hospitals.

Standards have        been laid  by the Medical Council, an expert

body, for  the purpose of imparting proper medical education

and for          maintaining  uniform standards of medical education

through           out the  country. Seats in medical colleges cannot

be  increased  indiscriminately        without  regard  to  proper

infrastructure as   per  the  Regulations  of          the  Medical


     A medical student requires gruelling study and that can

be done only if proper facilities are available in a medical

college and  hospital attached to it has to be well equipped

and teaching faculty and doctors have to be competent enough

that when  a medical  student comes out he is perfect in the

science of treatment of human being and is not found wanting

in  any way.  Country         does  not  want        half-baked  medical

professionals coming  out of  medical colleges when they did

not have  full facilities  of teaching  and were not exposed

to the patients and  their ailments  during the  course  of

their study.  The Medical Council, in all fairness, does not

wish to          invalidate the          admissions made  in excess  of that

fixed by  it and  does not  wish  to  take  any  action  of

withdrawing recognition       of the medical colleges  violating

the regulation.         Henceforth, however, these medical colleges

must restrict  the number of admissions fixed by the Medical

Council. After the insertion of Sections 10A, 10B and 10C in

the Medical  Council Act,  the Medical       Council          has  framed

regulations  with  the previous  approval  of          the  Central

Government which  were published  in the  Gazette  of  India

dated September      29, 1993  (though the notification is dated

September 20,  1993). Any  medical  college  or    institution

which  wishes to  increase   the  admission capacity  in

MBBS/higher   courses         (including    diploma/degree/higher

specialities) has to apply to the Central Government for the

permission along with the permission of the State Government

and that  of the  university with which it is affiliated and

in conformity  with the        regulations framed  by the  Medical

Council. Only  the medical  college or        institution which is

recognised by the Medical Council can so apply.

     Having thus  held that  it is the Medical Council which

can prescribe  the number  of  student      to  be  admitted  in

medical courses        in a  medical college or institution it is

the Central  Government alone  which can  direct increase in

the number  of admissions  but only on the recommendation of

the Medical  Council. In  our opinion,         the  learned  single

Judge was  right in  his view  that no        medical college         can

admit any  student in excess of its admission capacity fixed

by the Medical Council         subject to  any increase thereof as

approved by  the Central  Government and  that Sections 10A,

10B and         10C will  prevail over Section 53(10) of the State

Universities Act  and Section  41(b) of the State Capitation

Fee Act.  To say that the number of students as permitted by

the State  Government and  or University before June 1, 1992

could continue would be allowing an illegality to perpetuate

for all time to come. The Division Bench, in our opinion, in

the impugned  judgment      was  not  correct  in  holding         that

admission capacity  for the  purpose of increase or decrease

in each          of the medical colleges/institutions has got to be

determined as  on or  before June  1, 1992 with reference to

what had been fixed by the State Government or the admission

capacity  fixed           by  the  medical  colleges  and  not        with

reference to  the minimum  standard of      education prescribed

under Section  19A of  the Medical  Council  Act  which   the

Division  Bench         said  were  only  recommendatory.  Nivedita

Jain's case  does not say that all the regulations framed by

the Medical  Council  with  the       previous  approval  of         the

Central Government  are directory or more recommendatory. It

is not  that only future admission will have to be regulated

on the basis of capacity fixed or determined by the Medical

Council. Plea of the State Government that power to regulate

admission to  medical colleges        is prerogative of the State

has to be rejected.

     What we  have said       about the  authority of the Medical

Council under  the Indian  Medical Council Act would equally

apply to the Dental Council under the Dentists Act.

     Accordingly, appeal  by the  Medical Council  of  India

(SLP   (C) No.14839/97) is allowed and the impugned judgment

of the  Division Bench is set  aside  and  we         restore          the

judgment of  the learned  single Judge. Other appeals by the

State of  Karnataka (SLP   (C) No.20035/97) and Rajiv Gandhi

Dental College (SLP  (C) No.5471/98) are dismissed. Medical

Council of India shall be entitled to costs.