By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : On August 2 Health Minister Harsh
Vardhan gave vent to his anger at the Medical Council of
India (MCI) bosses saying that they were actually
“punishing” the MBBS aspirants rather than the medical
colleges who ought to be hauled up for deficient college
infrastructure and facilities.
His contention was that MCI, the apex
regulatory body for medical education, was being harsh
on the MBBS aspirants instead of medical colleges for
not complying with rules, which, he said,
has ended up reducing the number of seats and harming
career of many students.
His outburst was a reaction to the
Supreme Court’s Order of July 31 quashing the Ministry’s
plea for modification of the time schedule for granting
approvals to new colleges and renewal of permission to
existing seats in old colleges.
The ministry had, it may be recalled, filed an interlocutory petition in
the court in
Priya Gupta vs Chhattisgarh
case last month, after it did not receive any
response from the MCI over its suggestion to review 150
cases. The petition seeking extension of the date for
whetting the compliance reports filed by colleges was
rejected by the Supreme Court when the MCI opposed it.
Referring to this situation
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Instead of supporting our plea
in court, I am surprised the MCI opposed it. This makes
me wonder whose side are they on.”
Dr. Vardhan, who had earlier charged the
with corrupt practices, said it was an open secret for
years that the MCI looked the other way while medical
colleges rampantly flouted regulations.
“Suddenly, this year they have struck. But why are they
not punishing managements? Students have been punished.
For many of them the dream of becoming a doctor has
evaporated as they would be forced to pursue studies in
other disciplines,” he said in his statement on August 2.
Dr Vardhan said that though 2,750 new MBBS seats were approved this year,
applications for the renewal of 3,920 seats were
rejected by the MCI for the failure of colleges to meet
its requirements, causing a net deficit of 1,170 seats.
He said that the MCI took a “bureaucratic” attitude and did not
reveal an awareness that it was dealing with young
lives, noting that most of the deficiencies in
the colleges were minor like problems with
air-conditioning or about the thickness of partition
walls in buildings.
MCI’s “adversarial” position despite his requests, Dr.
Vardhan said, led to the Supreme Court dismissing the
ministry’s plea seeking modification of the time
schedule for granting approvals to new colleges and
renewal of permission to existing seats in old colleges.
There was also the issue of the shortage of faculty
which is an old irritant, he said, adding that
permission was declined in some cases merely because
college library did not have sufficient number of
journals, a “irrelevant” issue in the age of
The best solution would have been to admit students and
then pressuring the managements of colleges to take
necessary steps, he said. Even though most of the
colleges complied with the MCI’s demands, there was no
“MCI officials took the shocking stand that they did not
have time to go through the compliance statements,” he
Dr. Vardhan said he had “personally” requested the MCI
president to think of the fate of students instead of
“placing a premium on the frivolous deficiencies of the
colleges”. “But it had no impact on her,” he added.
The minister's statement triggered of a
reaction from Chingleput Varadapillai
Bhirmanandham, a senior cardiologist and vice-president
of the MCI : "Let someone point out what wrong we have
done in a single case.....We have applied
rules uniformly to all colleges.”
The MCI has registered 392 medical
colleges that offer about 48,000 MBBS seats, but
sections of MCI officials as well as senior medical
academics have for years been concerned at the lack of
adequate infrastructure in some of these colleges.
“Medical colleges need to have the right
strength of faculty, the right kind of laboratory
facilities, and adequate clinical material (patients),”
Bhirmanandham said. “A college needs to have an adequate
number of patients in OPDs (out-patient departments) and
in hospitals. We do not want colleges to generate
sub-standard doctors,” he said.
The following is the minister's statement released by
“MCI’s autonomy needs human face”—Dr Harsh Vardhan
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, has criticised
the Medical Council of India (MCI) for taking an
adversarial stand on students while cancelling seats in
medical colleges. This has led to the loss of 1,170
medical seats in the 2014-15 academic year, thereby
nipping in the bud the dreams of many meritorious
In his reaction to the Supreme Court’s Order of July 31
quashing the Ministry’s plea for modification of the
time schedule for granting approvals to new colleges and
renewal of permission to existing seats in old colleges,
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Instead of supporting our plea
in court, I am surprised the MCI opposed it. This makes
me wonder whose side are they on.”
There were applications to raise the existing number of
seats because of new medical colleges being opened and
existing ones adding seats. Eventually 2,750 were
approved. But, on the other hand, the applications for
3,920 seats for fresh renewal were struck down for their
failure to meet MCI’s requirements. The net deficit,
therefore, is 1,170. Of the 46 colleges affected, 41 are
“For years it was an open secret that MCI was looking
the other way as medical colleges rampantly flouted
regulations. Suddenly, this year they have struck. But
why are they not punishing the managements?” Dr Harsh
“The students have been punished. For most of those
affected the dream of becoming a doctor has evaporated
as they would be forced by circumstances to pursue
studies in other disciplines. On the other hand the
managements can rectify the problems by next year. This
to me is inhuman,” the Health Minister remarked.
He said he had received numerous delegations of
students, doctors, institution managements, members of
parliament and other stakeholders complaining of MCI’s
attitude. At one point –early June – more than 10,000
seats were in jeopardy, but owing to the Ministry’s
persistent advocacy, the MCI was forced to climb down.
The best solution, keeping in mind the national
interest, would have been to admit the students and then
pressuring the college’s managements to implement the
necessary steps, the Minister stated. However, the
Minister regretted, “MCI took a bureaucratic attitude
and did not reveal an awareness that it was dealing with
He pointed out that most of the
“deficiencies” in the MCI’s reports were about problems
with air-conditioning, or about the thickness of the
partition walls in buildings and, of course, the
shortage of faculty which is an old irritant. In some
cases, permission was cancelled only because the
libraries did not have sufficient number of journals
–which is irrelevant in the age of e-magazines.
But even though most of the colleges have complied with
the MCI’s demands, there was no acknowledgement. “MCI’s
officials took the shocking stand that they did not have
time to go through the compliance statements,” the
The Ministry had referred 150 cases, most of them
government colleges, for review to MCI but there was no
response. Finally it filed an interlocutory application
(IA) in the
Priya Gupta vs Chhatisgarh case seeking
extension of the date for whetting the compliance
reports filed by colleges. Naturally the Court sought
the MCI’s opinion on this at the first hearing of the IA
on July 24. But MCI did not support this and sought
time. On July 31 too, it did not take a favourable
stance. That led to the Apex Court dismissing the
Ministry’s application which sought to protect the
“Effectively MCI did not keep the sentiment of students
in mind. It wanted to punish students instead of the
college managements. I had personally requested the MCI
President to think of the fate of the student instead of
placing a premium on the frivolous deficiencies of the
colleges. But it had no impact on her,” Dr Harsh Vardhan
tough, 32% MBBS seats slashed
From Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : Following a tough line, the Medical
Council of India (MCI) has cancelled about 32 per cent
of MBBS seats nation-wide making competition for medical
admission more tough.
According to reports the MCI withdrew permission for
15,890 of the 49,950 MBBS seats nation-wide citing lack
of infrastructure and faculty requirements in the
affected medical colleges. “In order to run a medical
college, one has to meet the minimum requirements and
regulation set by the MCI,” MCI President, Dr
Jaishreeben Mehta told this correspondent.
The biggest loser in the MCI's quality check-up drive
was the undivided Andhra Pradesh which lost 2,100 seats
followed by Maharashtra (1,675), Karnataka (1,650),
Tamil Nadu (1,450), UP (1,400) and Bengal (1,200).
The MCI teams toured all the colleges and inspected the
premises before finally upgrading the seats in the
existing medical colleges. Those under scanner in Andhra
were Gandhi Medical College, medical colleges in
Nizamabad, Nellore, and Tirupati, Andhra Medical College
and also SV Medical College.
These colleges have existing medical seats but the
increase in seats was given in the year 2013. A senior
member said, “From 2013 to 2014, sufficient time was
given to these colleges to upgrade the facilities. In
the inspections carried out now, infrastructure has
proved to be the biggest drawback.
Other Andhra colleges, too, had drawbacks like lack of
hostel facilities, proper infrastructure to house extra
students and the faculty.
A senior Andhra professor said, “The problem is that
erstwhile state government has not paid proper attention
while dispersing the funds. When the seats were to be
increased they should have ensured that these facilities
were in place.”
West Bengal which lost 1,200 seats was actually hardest
hit. Of the 12 medical colleges that have together lost
the seats 10 are run by the state government. Calcutta
Medical College, which admitted 250 students last year,
will be able to take in only 155 this year. The seat
count at RG Kar has been slashed from 200 to 150.
“The Council this year has been strict in enforcing its
norms. That’s why so many medical colleges have failed
to make the cut,” said a council source.
“We have been instructed to make surprise visits to the
medical colleges. Earlier, the colleges used to be
informed about a visit two-three days in advance. This
year we are calling up the authorities only after
entering the campuses,” said a Council inspector.
“During inspections for MBBS seats, we have been asked
to seek information about the postgraduate faculty, too.
This is being done to prevent the practice of
postgraduate teachers being shown as part of the MBBS
faculty,” the inspector said.
However there is still hope for the axed colleges. “June
15 is the cutoff date to send their compliance report to
MCI. If we find that they have been able to meet our
requirements, we might reconsider on a case-to-case
basis,” said Mehta.
In 2011, the MCI in its vision document for 2031, had
said the country needed to add 10,000 MBBS seats every
year. The UPA 2 government added 10,000 seats in the
following three years but MCI officials argued that most
of these seats were added to colleges that lacked proper
move to have say in Medical Council
From Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI: Failing to replace the scam-ridden
Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new outfit, the
Centre has introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to amend
the original legislation in order to empower the Centre
with legal authority to intervene in matters of
corruption and policies on medical education after MCI
Indian Medical Council (amendment) Bill,
2013, in the Rajya Sabha earlier this week, Union Health
Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the proposed amendments
would make the composition of the council compact and
more representative while empowering the Centre to
discharge its functions effectively.
The MCI, in its previous format, was free from
government influence -- a practice which had both
advantages and disadvantages. A section of
office-bearers, however, in the past abused the
regulators autonomy for personal gains.
The new bill was drafted after the Central governments
plan to replace the scam-tainted MCI with a National
Commission for Human Resources on Health came to a
naught after three years of efforts.
A bill proposing formation of NCHRH as an umbrella
regulatory body for medical and para-medical education
was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on
Health, which raised serious apprehensions on various
provisions of the proposed NCHRH bill.
The initiative was undertaken after the previous MCI
president Ketan Desai was caught by the Central Bureau
of Investigation for accepting bribe from a medical
college. Creation of the NCHRH was one of the promises
UPA government made after being voted back to power
second time in 2009.
The new bill would seek to replace an ordinance,
promulgated on May 21, 2013, giving powers to its
central-government appointed board of governors to run
the MCI till new members are elected.
The bill seeks to give powers to the central government
to remove any MCI office bearers including president and
vice president if, among other things, they acquire
financial interest in any medical college or convicted
of an offence. Nobody would hold the post of president
or vice president for more than two terms.
A new section in the bill empowers the Centre to give
directions to the MCI on policy matters.
Representation of states in the council has been
rationalised with the ability of each health university
in a state to elect one MCI representative for ten
medical colleges. The number of representatives in the
MCI will be reviewed once in four years.
Govt mum, NGO seeks
review of NEET judgement
From Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : While the Central government is still
trying to make up its mind to seek a review of the
NEET case judgement,
an NGO called Sankalp filed a petition in the Supreme
Court on August 5 seeking review of its July 18 order
scrapping National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)
for admissions to MBBS, BDS and post graduate courses in
all medical colleges in the country.
The NGO, which had earlier filed an intervention
application, described the July 18 judgment as “error
apparent” as, it said, NEET was required to streamline
the admission process in medical colleges all over the
“In fact, one of the main considerations for having a
common entrance test conducted by the MCI is to check
the malaise of moneymaking business in the admission
process by selling their seats for crores, which has
been going on for so many years in private colleges,”
said the petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan.
The apex court, it may be recalled, had quashed the
notifications for NEET on the ground that it violated
the rights of state and private institutions to
administer such institutions. The plea said the verdict
needed to be relooked as there was “no discussion at
all" among the judges before delivering it.
The majority judgment was authored by Chief Justice
Altamas Kabir, who pronounced it on the last day of his
In a dissenting judgment, Justice A R Dave said the
NEET would prove to be a “boon” to the students aspiring
to join medical profession.
The judgment ran into controversy over its reported
leakage on a website, prompting Justice Kabir to issue a
press statement denying any wrongdoing. In the review
petition, the petitioner also pointed out that there was
no discussion among the judges, as pointed out by
Justice Dave in his verdict.
It further submitted that the majority view erred in
holding that a common admission test would take away the
rights of private, minority and linguistic institutions
to admit students.
“A common entrance test can by no stretch of
imagination curtail the fundamental right to practise a
profession guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g)… The right
guaranteed to religious and linguistic minorities to
establish and administer educational institutions of
their choice does not allow them to mal-administer such
institutions,” it said.
“This court, in the judgment, further erred in observing
that the single-window competition cannot ensure a level
playing field because of the disparity in educational
standards in different parts of the country. It is
submitted that if that is the logic, then the court
should have considered scrapping the Civil Services
Examination which through a single-window test chooses
officers for IAS, IPS, IFS and other central services,”
to seek review of NEET judgement
DELHI : The Ministry of Law and the Ministry of
Health have agreed to petition the Supreme Court for a
review of the controversial
NEET case judgement that has given a
free run to private medical colleges in the country.
In an internal note recommending a review of the split
2:1 majority decision, the two ministries have agreed to
ask the apex court to consider the crucial aspect of the
verdict having been delivered without deliberations
between the judges.
The Supreme Court had, on July 18, in a majority verdict
by the outgoing Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir and
Justice Vikramjit Sen had scrapped the National
Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS, BDS and post-graduate
courses in medical and dental colleges.
In a dissenting judgment, Justice AR Dave had upheld the
Medical Council of India’s decision to conduct this
common entrance exam.
“As the learned CJI is to retire within a few days, I
have to be quick and therefore, also short. Prior to
preparation of our draft judgments we had no discussion
on the subject due to paucity of time and therefore I
have to express different views,” Justice Dave wrote in
It is on this point the government will request the top
court to reconsider its judgment.
An unhappy government had made clear its intention of
exploring all legal and legislative options to reverse
verdict. “We will go to any extent to get this common
entrance test restored,”
said an official.
Meanwhile Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa urged
the Centre on July 29 not to appeal against the verdict
quashing the NEET. In a letter to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, Jayalaithaa said efforts to reintroduce
NEET would infringe on the state’s rights and admission
policies to medical institutions in Tamil Nadu.
Minister hurt :
“We are very upset (over the judgment). I have asked the
officials to study the order to decide on the future
course of action,’’ Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had
said here on July 19.
The minister said the Supreme Court merely said the MCI
should not conduct exams but did not say who else should
conduct the tests. “It would lead to problems for those
aspiring for medical degrees. Students across the
country now have to run from pillar to post,” Azad said.
The apex court had previously allowed the MCI and the
Dental Council of India to issue notifications for
conducting the examination and gave green signals to go
ahead with the
examination process. A bench of justices R V Raveendran
and A K Patnaik disposed of a bunch of petitions
challenging the NEET after the MCI assured the court all
rules had been put in
place and the Central Board of Secondary Education would
conduct the examination.
The option available with the ministry, sources said,
might be to amend the Indian Medical Council Act of
1956, giving MCI legal powers to facilitate students’
entry into medical education.
Subsequently, a new outfit can be created for conducting
the common entrance examination.
No NEET, SC gives pvt medical colleges a free run
By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : Taking a narrow, strictly juristic stand the outgoing Chief
Justice Altamas Kabir and his fellow judge Vikramjit Sen on July 18
quashed the single-window National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)
and ruled that the Medical Council of India (MCI) had no power to issue
notifications in 2010 to regulate medical admissions.
The judgement triggered off a raging controversy in the bar as the
judgement was on the same lines as predicted on a
website by an eminent lawyer a day
before it was to be delivered. (See the adjoining column)
It came as a happy gift to 133 private medical colleges and
those run by minorities, who had been struggling menacingly to win the
case at all cost.
The Christian Medical College, Vellore; the States of Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu; several associations of private medical colleges; DD Medical
College and DD Hospital, Tamil Nadu; and various individual colleges had
filed petitions in High Courts and obtained an interim stay on the
applicability of the NEET to them. On the MCI’s petitions, these cases
were transferred to the Supreme Court.
The Union health ministry is said to be seeking legal opinion on filing a
petition to review the judgment.
If the verdict remains unchanged, it will allow each state to revert to
the system in place before the NEET was launched.
On May 13 the bench had granted a major
relief to private and government medical colleges (see story below) allowing them to
declare the NEET results which were stayed by it earlier on December 13. The
July 18 order was, therefore, almost on the expected lines.
The judgement of the bench, comprising CJI
Altamas Kabir, Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice A R Dave (who expressed
stark dissent) decides, for now, the fate of students admitted to 138
government and 133 private medical college, offering 31,000 MBBS and BDS
as well as 11,000 MD seats.
Barring a couple of states and 133 private
medical colleges the NEET was welcomed by
students and parents as it spared them from multiple admission tests by
offering them a single-window all-India
National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test.
Delivering the majority judgement, on his last day before retirement,
CJI Altamas Kabir and Justice Vikramjit Sen forming majority, held that
the notification mandating NEET violated private medical colleges'
rights to carry on business guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (g) and the
constitutional guarantee under Article 30 to the minority community to
set up and manage educational institutions.
“We have no hesitation in holding that the Regulations on Graduate Medical
Education (Amendment) 2010 (Part II) and the Post-Graduate Medical
Education (Amendment) Regulation 2010 (Part II) whereby the MCI
introduced the single NEET and the corresponding amendments in the
Dentists Act, 1948 are ultra vires the provisions of Articles
19(1)(g), 25, 26(a), 29(1) and 30(1) of the Constitution,” the
Justice A R Dave in his dissenting note stressed that there was no
proper discussion on the draft majority verdict which appeared to have
been rushed through because the CJI was to retire soon.
Justices Kabir and Sen said that the MCI did not have power to force a
single entrance test for controlling admissions to the medical colleges
as it had been created only for the purpose of ensuring "excellence of
medical education in India".
"We also have no hesitation in holding that the Medical Council of India
is not empowered under the MCI Act, 1956 to actually conduct the NEET,"
the CJI said articulating the majority view.
The Bench said admissions were part of
the right of an educational institution to administer, and these
could not be regulated except for laying down standards for
maintaining excellence in education. In the case of aided
institutions, the State and other authorities might direct that a
certain percentage of students be admitted by methods other than the
one adopted by the institution concerned. However, in unaided
institutions, the right to admit students could not be interfered
with except for laying down standards to maintain excellence.
“In the case of aided minority institutions, it has been held that the
authority giving aid has the right to insist upon admission of a certain
percentage of students not belonging to the
minority community so as to maintain the balance of Article 19(2) and
Article 30(1) of the Constitution. Even with regard to unaided minority
institutions, the view is that while the majority
of students to be admitted should be from the minority community
concerned, a certain percentage from other communities should also be
admitted to maintain the secular character of
education in the country in what has been described as a ‘sprinkling
effect’,” the Bench said.
Apart from the legal aspects, the Bench said, “there can be no
controversy that the standard of education all over the country is not
the same. Each State has its own system and
pattern of education, including the medium of instruction. It cannot
also be disputed that children in the metropolitan areas enjoy greater
privileges than their counterparts in most of the
rural areas as far as education is concerned, and the decision of the
Central government to support a single entrance examination would
perpetuate such divide in the name of … merit. In
a single-window competition, the disparity in educational standards in
different parts of the country cannot ensure a level-playing field.”
The bench said that though NEET stands quashed, admissions already made
on its basis would not be affected by the judgment. The clarification
was meaningless as far as admissions to the private medical colleges is
concerned as these institutions had already taken exemption for this
year from the purview of NEET.
The judgment took away what was actually given four years ago by another
bench of Justice R V Raveendran (since retired) and Justice A K Patnaik
after long deliberations during which it had focused on the benefit of
single-window entrance test for all medical colleges.
In 2010, the bench of Justices Raveendran and Patnaik had strived to
bring together the MCI and CBSE on the same page for conducting NEET.
The bench was convinced that a single entrance test would save poor and
meritorious students, by sparing them the physical and financial stress
of having to travel from one city to another to appear in multiple
entrance tests in the hope of bagging a MBBS, BDS or MD seat in a
What Justices Raveendran and Patnaik had expressed in 2010 found
reflection in Justice Dave's dissent. In differing with the views of
Justices Kabir and Sen, he appeared to rely on the old proverb "justice
hurried is justice buried".
Against a 173-page judgment by the CJI, Justice Dave penned a 35-page
dissent and said: "As the Chief Justice is to retire within a few days,
I have to be quick and therefore, also short. Prior to preparation of
our draft judgments we had no discussion on the subject due to paucity
of time and therefore, I have to express my different views..."
Justice Dave said: "it cannot be said that introduction of the NEET
would either violate any of the fundamental or legal rights of the
petitioners or even adversely affect the medical profession. In my
opinion, introduction of the NEET would ensure more transparency and
less hardship to the students eager to join the medical profession."
"Let us see the consequences, if the apex bodies of medical profession
are not permitted to conduct NEET. A student, who is good at studies and
is keen to join the medical profession, will have to visit several
different states to appear at different examination held by different
medical colleges or institutes so as to ensure that he gets admission
somewhere," he said.
On the other hand, "The NEET will facilitate all students desirous of
joining the medical profession because the students will have to appear
only at one examination and on the basis of the results of the NEET, if
he is found suitable, he would be in a position to get admission
somewhere in the country and he can have the medical education if he is
inclined to go to a different place."
Quoting MCI counsel Nidesh Gupta, Justice Dave said he had informed that
some medical colleges, who are more in profiteering business rather than
in the noble work of imparting medical education, take huge amount by
way of donation or capitation fees and give admission to undeserving or
weak students under one pretext or the other.
Justice Dave said: "if only one examination in the country is conducted
and admissions are given on the basis of the result of the said
examination, in my opinion, unscrupulous and money minded businessmen
operating in the field of education would be constrained to stop their
corrupt practices and it would help a lot, not only to the deserving
students but also to the nation in bringing down level of corruption."
Affected : The judgement will not effect the medical counselling by the
Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) scheduled to be conducted from
July 22 to 25.
of med admission test results allowed
From Sanjeev Dube
NEW DELHI : On May 13 the worried medical study aspirants got a
major relief from the Supreme Court which vacated stay on the
declaration of National-Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)
A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir modified
its December 13 order, which paved the way for announcement of NEET
results -- a test introduced by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The court order, in effect, implies that all private and government
colleges can announce the results for admissions for the academic year
2013-14. The court will deliver its final verdict on NEET on July 2 or
“The students, who aspire to gain entry to the medical colleges at the
MBBS and BDS and the postgraduate levels, have been caught in a legal
tangle for no fault of theirs and are victims of policy decisions. In
order to safeguard their interests, as also the interest of the
hospitals, we consider it just and equitable to lift the bar imposed by
us on December 13, 2012, for this year’s entrance examinations,” the
“We modify our order of December 13, 2012, and allow the results of the
examinations already conducted to be declared to enable the students to
take advantage of the same for the current year.” The court, however,
said its judgment on the validity of the NEET would be passed in July.
It added: “We are also alive to the fact that it is the postgraduate
students in the medical colleges who take charge of the medical
treatment of patients in the hospitals. Without fresh entrants into the
postgraduate courses, even for a year, the hospitals are likely to be
adversely affected on account of lack of doctors to directly take care
of the patients.”
About 65,000 students can now be admitted to the various postgraduate,
MBBS and BDS (dental) courses across the country. Teaching hospitals,
where PG students make up a large chunk of the junior doctor workforce,
have been spared a possible crisis.
On December 13 last year, the apex court had prohibited the publication
of results of medical admission tests conducted this academic year till
it had decided on a batch of 115 petitions before it.
The case before the court relates to a MCI order of December 2010 relating
to NEET — for postgraduate and undergraduate medical and dental courses.
The order said the NEET would be the sole entrance exam across India and
that the states and private medical colleges cannot have their separate
Many states, private medical colleges and other educational institutions
challenged the MCI move in various courts across the country, arguing it
was an infringement on their rights.
After passing the December 13 order, the apex court transferred to
itself a batch of 115 petitions on the matter on January 15. But it
could not complete the hearing before the court went into summer
vacation on May 13.
If the court later decides in favour of the MCI and scraps the
state-conducted entrance exams, the judgment will only have prospective
effect — this year’s admissions would not be affected.
Bengal and many other states had anyway decided to comply with the MCI
order and did not hold their own medical entrance tests this year, but
some states and private medical colleges did. Bengal students took the
NEET for postgraduate courses in November last year and the NEET for
MBBS courses on May 5.
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and several associations of private medical
colleges, among others, had filed petitions in their respective High
Courts and obtained an interim stay on NEET applicability to them.
Aggrieved, the MCI filed transfer petitions and these cases stood
transferred to the Supreme Court to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.
CMC, 75 others allowed to hold own entry
By Sanjeev Dube
NEW DELHI: On December 13 the Supreme Court allowed private
religious and linguistic
to hold their own admission tests for medical courses but bluntly
refused to stay the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for 2013-14.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices S SNijjar
and J Chelameswar, however, directed the colleges to withhold the
results till the objection of the consortium of private colleges is
decided by the apex court before January 18.
The bench, in its interim order, allowed Christian Medical College,
Vellore and 75 other petitioner minority medical colleges, who had moved
the apex court on December 10, to conduct their own admission tests to
fill MBBS and MD seats.
Senior advocates K K Venugopal, K Parasaran, Harish Salve, Rajeev Dhawan
and P P Rao pointed out that since NEET was to take place from the next
academic session, the court would serve public interest by staying it
for a year.
However, Medical Council of India counsel, senior advocate Nidesh Gupta,
pointed out that many private and government colleges have already opted
for NEET to select candidates and a stay on it would not serve public
interest. But it was also pointed out that in some states, the high
courts had stayed NEET, allowing state-based medical colleges to have
The court, however, declined to stay NEET while allowing private
to conduct their own tests and posted the petitions for final hearing on
January 14. It said the fate of the individual sate-level tests would be
subject to the final outcome in court.
The petitioner colleges had claimed exemption from NEET on the ground that
they, being either religious or linguistic minority colleges, were
entitled to autonomy in administration of their educational institutions
under Article 30 of the Constitution.
The order came as a big relief for colleges including Christian Medical
College, Vellore who had announced and publicised the date of their
admission tests. Some colleges had even received applications from
admission seekers. With the Supreme Court expected to break for
vacations, the matter would have extended to January. For this reason,
the colleges had urged for an interim order.
The colleges had demanded the apex court to examine the question of law
raised by them as admissions to MBBS/BDS courses would follow by
May-June next year. The apex bench devised a middle path by directing
both the minority colleges and the Centre to hold separate examinations
without disclosing results. The colleges were allowed to notify students
the exam and the pending case in SC in order to clarify that based on
the final outcome of the petitions, the court would decide whether
private minority colleges were bound by NEET result.
Meanwhile a report from Hyderabad said that the officials of the Medical
Education and Higher Education Departments were in favour of waiting
till the Supreme Court conducts the final hearing in the third week of
January before announcing the schedule for EAMCET, as any announcement
at this stage may create more confusion among students.
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and several associations of private medical
colleges, the Christian Medical College, Vellore, DD Medical College and
DD Hospital, Tamil Nadu, and various individual colleges had filed
petitions in respective High Courts and obtained an interim stay on NEET
Aggrieved, the MCI filed petitions seeking transfer of these cases to
the Supreme Court to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. The Supreme
Court, while staying all further proceedings, issued notice to the
respondent colleges/States/associations seeking their response.
In the interim order passed on the petitions, the Bench said that while
the main pending matters needed to be decided early, “the time taken in
hearing the matters should be utilised in allowing the students to sit
for their examinations which have been already notified. Accordingly,
let all the transferred cases, as well as the writ petitions, be listed
for final hearing and disposal on January 15, 16 and 17, 2013.”
MCI to stay, Human
Resource for Health Bill off
NEW DELHI: Strong Centre-vs-states polarisation has forced the Union
government go slow on the Human Resource for Health Bill 2011 which has
drawn the wrath of three strong political opponents of the ruling UPA
According to indications available here the direct fallout of the
Union-state tiff would be that the scam-tainted Medical Council of India
(MCI) and Dental Council of India (DCI) would get a fresh lease of life.
Though as many as 10 states backed the National Commission for Human
Resources for Health Bill, 2011, stiff opposition from Mamata Banerjee,
Narendra Modi and Jayalalitha sealed the fate of the bills in the
Parliamentary Standing Committee this week which was examining the
Officials representing West Bengal, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu raised
several questions on the rationale of forming the over-arching
regulatory commission for medical education, loaded with “experts”
picked by the Centre.
Barely two months before Trinamool Congress severed ties with the
Congress-led UPA government, the principal secretary of West Bengal
informed the Parliamentary panel that the state was not in favour of
passing the bill in its present form as it proposed shifting
self-regulation of professional bodies to a central and technocratic
“A properly strengthened individual council with a term limit and
definition of the office bearers as public servants in terms of Indian
Penal Code, besides an accountability mechanism in place would suit the
need better than having an over-arching body with gigantic mandate,” he
said in his deposition on July 31.
Besides MCI and DCI, the proposed NCHRH sought to replace Indian Nursing
Council and Pharmacy Council of India with an umbrella organisation.
The apex council would have three constituent bodies to look after
educational standards, enforcement and ethical medical practice.
“The bill attempts to create amechanism so overwhelming that it is
likely to breed delays. The three constituent bodies are purely
nominative in character and there is no democratic element. Since
medical education is a concurrent subject, some representation to the
states is a must in the proposed commission,” said principal secretary
to Gujarat government, in his
statement, which is a part of the Parliament panel’s report.
This would undermine the powers of the state governments and leave them
with no role to play in policy issues, said Tamil Nadu in its
While the Central government sought to eradicate corruption from
professional medical education bodies, the states insisted that
determining term limits and definition of office-bearers and a provision
to remove them in case of blatant corruption or misuse of official power
would have sufficed to cleanse the existing councils.
Rejection of the NCHRH Bill by the House panel and possible revival of
the MCI may figure at the state health ministers’ conference here on
Friday to discuss issues concerning medical education and human
resources versus health.
SC tells medical colleges,
don't offend MCI norms
NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court has warned private medical colleges on
admitting students in blatant defiance admission norms stipulated by the
Medical Council of India (MCI) from time to time.
Issuing 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 admission schedule
prescribed by the MCI. Any default in compliance with these conditions
or attempt to overreach these directions shall, without fail, invite
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
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.