SC: Courts should not upset Inspection Report of Expert Committee, unless malafide and perverse, imposes fine of Rs.5 Cr on a Medical College, directs MCI to prepare Standard Procedure of Inspection

 

scindia……………… Medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that the facilities in a medical college are inadequate, the Courts are not equipped to take a different view in the matter except for very cogent jurisdictional reasons such as mala fides of the Inspection Team, ex facie perversity in the inspection report, jurisdictional error on the part of the MCI etc.

 …….. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court while making these observations came down heavily on a medical college based in State of Odisha, Kalinga Institute of Medical Science [KIMS] and imposed a fine of Rs. 5 Crore for playing with career of several students and flouting the standards prescribed under the Regulations.

The Supreme Court was hearing a challenge by Medical Council of India against Judgement of High Court of Odisha granting interim relief to KIMS to admit and further setting aside the Report submitted by an Expert Committee, which inspected the campus and found several deficiencies and recommended that the permission should not be renewed for enhanced seats.

KIMS was initially granted permission to admit students for medical courses. It was desirous to enhance the admission intake and hence approached MCI for permission. As per the procedure, inspection was conducted by MCI Expert team, which found serious deficiencies. On consideration of the Report, MCI recommended to Central Government to deny permission to KIMS to add 50 additional seats.

Accordingly, direction was issued to KIMS not to admit any students in the second batch of MBBS course against the increased intake from 100 to 150 seats. Being aggrieved, KIMS challenged the direction before the High Court. The High Court set aside the direction and directed Central Government to reconsider the case after giving personal hearing. MCI granted personal hearing to KIMS and retained its recommendation. The High Court however, later directed Central Government to grant provisional permission to KIMS to conduct the course for the additional 50 students. Accordingly, Central Government granted provisional permission to KIMS to conduct the MBBS course against the increased intake.

Being aggrieved, MCI filed SLP in Supreme Court. MCI was granted the leave and order of the High Court was stayed. The Court also maintained status quo in the matter and requested High Court hear the pending writ petition expeditiously. High Court later directed MCI to constitute a fresh Inspection Team to inspect KIMS and verify the compliances submitted by KIMS. In fresh inspection conducted pursuant to the HC order, large numbers of deficiencies were again found at KIMS. The Expert Report was examined in detail and minutely by the High Court and the same was set aside by the High Court. The Court later allowed the College to continue with admissions.

The Supreme Court finally heard the matter. On consideration of events leading to SLP, the Court observed that, “Medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that the facilities in a medical college are inadequate, the Courts are not equipped to take a different view in the matter except for very cogent jurisdictional reasons such as mala fides of the Inspection Team, ex facie perversity in the inspection report, jurisdictional error on the part of the MCI etc. Under no circumstance should the High Court examine the report as an appellate body – this is simply not the function of the High Court. In the present case there was no ground made out at law for setting aside the report of the Inspection Team.” The Supreme Court did not approve the approach of High Court, which proceeded to minutely examine the Report of the Expert Committee, functioning as an Appellate Body.

The Supreme Court was also of the opinion that High Court ought to have been more circumspect in directing the admission of students by its order dated 25th September, 2015 and there was no need for the High Court to rush into an area that the MCI feared to tread. It remarked that, “Granting admission to in an educational institution when there is a serious doubt whether admission should at all be granted is not a matter to be taken lightly. First of all the career of a student is involved – what would a student do if his admission is found to be illegal or is quashed? Is it not a huge waste of time for him or her? Is it enough to say that the student will not claim any equity in his or her favour? Is it enough for student to be told that his or her admission is subject to the outcome of a pending litigation? These are all questions that arise and for which there is no easy answer. Generally speaking, it is better to err on the side of caution and deny admission to a student rather than have the sword of Damocles hanging over him or her. There would at least be some certainty.”

 On the issue of future of students, who have already been admitted, the Supreme Court though protected the admission of the students, who have already been admitted under the Interim Order but blamed KIMS squarely for the same and hence imposed an exemplary fine of Rs. 5 Crore on KIMS for jeopardizing the career of students and for playing with the future of its students and the mess that it has created for them. The Court felt that admitting students despite rejection and seeking judicial intervention to admit students was certainly not with a charitable motive. The Court also remarked that an institution should have some responsibility towards the welfare of the students and felt that it would have been far more appropriate for KIMS to have refrained from giving admission to 50 additional students rather than being instrumental in jeopardizing their career.

mciThe Court additionally asked MCI to prepare in consultation with the Central Government prepare a Standard Operating Procedure for conducting an inspection of Medical Colleges. It also directed that to introduce transparency and accountability in the medical colleges, the report or assessment of the Inspection Team should be put up on the website of the concerned medical college as also on the website of the MCI so that potential students are aware of what is likely to be in store for them. Similarly, the decision of the Central Government on the report should be put up on the website of the concerned medical college as also on the website of the MCI.

EduLegaL View

The last fortnight at Supreme Court has all been about Medical Education. Right from Constitution of an Oversight Committee to monitor the functioning of MCI, to conducting the entrance test and now direction to prepare SoP for conducting Inspection, all have been discussed and settled.

The Central Government and MCI should rise up to the occasion and set it right to reinstate confidence in their governance of medical education in the Country.

However, I am on a different point, it is right that Courts should not generally interfere with the Reports of the Expert Committee, but there are several instances, where the Regulator itself and the Nodal Ministry interferes with the Report Expert Committee and upsets them acting on their own discretion. What about such situations … How is the interest of Institutions then safeguarded … I wish Court should have dealt with this aspect also.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Read the Judgement

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Commercialisation of education not permissible, State can regulate admission, fees in private Institutions: SC

……….. The Constitution is primarily for the common man. Larger interest and welfare of student community to promote merit, achieve excellence and curb malpractices, fee and admissions can certainly be regulated.

…… Supreme Court

The Supreme Court made these observations while examining the validity/vires of the provisions of the statute passed by the State Legislature, which is known as ‘Niji Vyavasayik Shikshan Sanstha (Pravesh Ka Viniyaman Avam Shulk Ka Nirdharan) Adhiniyam, 2007’ (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act, 2007’) and Madhya Pradesh Private Medical and Dental Post Graduate Courses Entrance Examination Rules, 2009 (for short, ‘Rules, 2009’), which Act and Rules regulate primarily the admission of students in post graduate courses in private professional educational institutions and the provisions are also made for fixation of fee. In addition, the said Act and Rules also contain provisions for reservation of seats.

The challenge was made by private medical and dental colleges, which are unaided, i.e. they are not receiving any Government aid and are self financing institutions running from their own funds, initially in the High Court, which upheld the validity of these Acts and Rules. The Unaided Institutions challenged the Judgement of High Court in Supreme Court, which was heard by a Constitution Bench.

Proceedings before High Court:

The main contention of the Institutions before the High Court was that medical and dental colleges being private unaided colleges, it is their fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India to lay down the eligibility criteria for admission and admit the students as well as fix their fee. It was also argued that private educational institutions cannot be foisted with the obligation to admit students of reserved class, which was the obligation of the State.

The High Court did not accept the contention of the Private Institutions and held that Article 19[6] of Constitution of India, permits the Government to regulate the admissions as well as fee, even of the private unaided educational institutions and that such measures saved by Article 19(6) of the Constitution as they amount to ‘reasonable restrictions’ imposed on the right of admission and fixation of fee, which otherwise vests with Private Institutions.

Summary of Judgement of the High Court is as follows:

(i) Re.: Admissions – The High Court was of the view that prescribing a Common Entrance Test for the purpose of admission to private unaided institutions are constitutional and valid since the same are in consonance with the dictum of the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court in the case of T.M.A. Pai Foundation. The High Court had held that there is no violation of the fundamental rights of the writ petitioners since the provisions constituted reasonable restriction as accepted by and, therefore, saved under Article 19(6) of the Constitution. The High Court held that the CET prescribed will ensure that the merit is maintained. It is also concluded by the High Court that sufficient material that was placed on record to establish that private unaided institutions were not able to ensure a fair, transparent and non-exploitative admission procedure.

(ii) Re.: Fee Regulation – The High Court held that the power of the Fee Regulatory Committee under the provisions was only ‘regulatory’ and the purpose of which was to empower the Committee to be satisfied that the fee proposed by the private professional institutions did not amount to profiteering or commercialisation of education and was based on intelligible factors which was not violative of the fundamental rights of the private professional institutions to charge their own fee.

(iii) Re.: Reservation – The High Court has examined the said provisions and concluded that sufficient number of seats were allotted for the unreserved category in different disciplines and subjects, and that a reasonable balance had been struck between the rights of the unreserved category candidates and the reserved category candidates.

Argument of Private Institutions in Supreme Court:

The central theme of the arguments of appellants was that by the impugned legislation the State seeks to wipe out the choice available with the appellants institutions to devise their own admission procedure and necessitate that the admission be carried out only on the basis of a CET to be conducted by the State Government or any agency appointed by it. In addition, the Act provides for the Committee to ‘determine’ and ‘fix’ the fees to be charged by the appellants and thereby completely trample the rights of the appellants to determine and charge the fee. The Act also provides for reservation in private institutions, including post-graduate courses, which the appellants submit is impermissible in light of the law laid down by this Court in the case of Ashok Kumar 21 Thakur v. Union of India & Ors.

It was their submission that right available to the appellants institutions is to devise their own admission procedure, subject to the condition that the procedure so devised ought to be ‘fair’, ‘transparent’ and ‘non-exploitative’. Thus, the rights available to the institutions under Article 19(1)(g) includes a right to admit students on a fair basis and as such the appellants can choose to admit students on the basis of the CET conducted by an association of institutions coming together (as has been provided in P.A. Inamdar) or one conducted by the State and the choice also includes to a right to admit students on the basis of the CET conducted by the Central Government. The right to choose is the right that is available to the individual institutions under Article 19(1)(g) and the impugned legislation abrogates the said right.

Observations of Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court speaking through the Constitution Bench observed as follows:

Re.: Provisions relating to Common Entrance Test:

The Supreme Court as has been held in earlier judgements, agreed that “Education”, as an “occupation” is a fundamental right which gives right to the educational institutions to admit the students and also fix the fee, at the same time, scope of such rights can be restricted and limited by appropriate legislations. While explaining the scope of this right, right to admit students and right to fix fee has been accepted as facets of this right. However, the Court again added caution thereto by mandating that admissions to the educational institutions imparting higher education, and in particular professional education, have to admit the students based on merit. For judging the merit, the Court indicated that there can be a CET. If such a power is exercised by the State assuming the function of CET, this was so recognised in T.M.A. Pai Foundation itself, as a measure of ‘reasonable restriction on the said right’.

On this background, Supreme Court was of the view that that the larger public interest warrants such a measure. The Court also considered evidences regarding malpractices, which are noticed in the CET conducted by such private institutions and concluded that in the larger interest and welfare of the students community to promote merit, add excellence and curb malpractices, provision for common entrance test is legal. The extent of restriction has to be viewed keeping in view all these factors and, therefore, the Court felt that impugned provisions, which may amount to ‘restrictions’ on the right of the appellants to carry on their ‘occupation’, are clearly ‘reasonable’ and satisfied the test of proportionality.

 Re.: Provisions in the Act Rules relating to fixation of fee

The Court observed that right to establish and manage educational institution is treated as a right to carry on ‘occupation’, which is the fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g), however cautioned that it does not entitle educational institution not to indulge in profiteering or commercialisation. It is also recognized that the educational institutions may charge the fee that would take care of various expenses incurred by these educational institutions plus provision for the expansion of education for future generation. At the same time, unreasonable demand cannot be made from the present students and their parents. For this purpose, only a ‘reasonable surplus’ can be generated.

It is, therefore, to be borne in mind is that the occupation of education cannot be treated at par with other economic activities. In this field, State cannot remain a mute spectator and has to necessarily step in in order to prevent exploitation, privatization and commercialisation by the private sector.

In order to see that the educational institutions are not indulging in commercialisation and exploitation, the Government is equipped with necessary powers to take regulatory measures and to ensure that these educational institutions keep playing vital and pivotal role to spread education and not to make money. So much so, the Court was categorical in holding that when it comes to the notice of the Government that a particular institution was charging fee or other charges which are excessive, it has a right to issue directions to such an institution to reduce the same. In our view, therefore, it is only a regulatory measure and does not take away the powers of the educational 69 institution to fix their own fee.

Provisions relating to relating to fixation of fee by setting up a Committee to oversee that institutions are not charging a fee which amounts to capitation or profiteering are reasonable restrictions and do not suffer from any constitutional vice.

NEED FOR REGULATORY MECHANISM:

 It is felt that in any welfare economy, even for private industries, there is a need for regulatory body and such a regulatory framework for education sector becomes all the more necessary. It would be more so when, unlike other industries, commercialisation of education is not permitted as mandated by the Constitution of India, backed by various judgments of this Court to the effect that profiteering in the education is to be avoided.

Holding of CET under the control of the State does not impinge this autonomy. Admission is still in the hands of these institutions. Once it is even conceded by the appellants that in admission of students ‘triple test’ is to be met, the impugned legislation aims at that. After all, the sole purpose of holding CET is to adjudge merit and to ensure that admissions, which are done by the educational 78 institutions, are strictly on merit. This is again to ensure larger public interest. It is beyond comprehension that merely by assuming the power to hold CET, fundamental right of the appellants to admit the students is taken away.

Likewise, when it comes to fixation of fee, as already dealt with in detail, the main purpose is that State acts as a regulator and satisfies itself that the fee which is proposed by the educational institution does not have the element of profiteering and also that no capitation fee etc. is charged.

INTERIM ARRANGEMENT

The Court pending consideration of recommendation regarding issues relating to MCI, in exercise of powers of this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution decided to constitute a Committee to oversee the functioning of the MCI consisting of the following members: 1. Justice R.M. Lodha (former Chief Justice of India) 2. Prof. (Dr.) Shiv Sareen (Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences) 3. Shri Vinod Rai (former Comptroller & Auditor General of India). The said Committee will have the authority to oversee all statutory functions under the MCI Act. All policy decisions of the MCI will require approval of the Oversight Committee. The Committee will be free to issue appropriate remedial directions. The Committee will function till the Central Government puts in place any other appropriate mechanism after due consideration of the Expert Committee Report. Initially the Committee will function for a period of one year, unless suitable mechanism is brought in place earlier which will substitute the said Committee. We do hope that within the said period the Central Government will come out with an appropriate mechanism.

FINAL JUDGEMENT

In view of the above, there was no violation of right of autonomy of the educational institutions in the CET being conducted by the State or an agency nominated by the State or in fixing fee. The right of a State to do so is subject to a central law.

Once the notifications under the Central statutes for conducting the CET called ‘NEET’ become operative, it will be a matter between the States and the Union, which will have to be sorted out on the touchstone of Article 254 of the Constitution.

EduLegaL View

This Judgement is really a landmark in the history of education sector. Till now, the famous trinity of T M Pai, Islamic Academy and P A Inamdar, used to operate separately and was used conveniently. There was compelling need to analyse the proposition laid down in all the three cases and explained in a one single judgement, so that the rights of educational institutions and limitation on those rights are well defined.

I also feel that some rights have to be balanced in a manner considering convenience of a larger community, more particularly, when a larger community is involved. Rights of Educational Institutions vis-à-vis the students have been beautifully balanced by the Constitution Bench.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Making a student to re-appear for all papers, for failing in one subject, to pass the course is arbitrary and unconstitutional: HC

“ …… what is the purpose in requiring the candidate to write all the four theory papers again if he has failed in one practical or undergo Clinical/Practical tests again for all the subjects if he has failed in one theory paper? Repetitive undertaking of examinations after having secured the minimum prescribed does not scale up the standard and can only be termed as oppressive from the point of view of the student.”

…. Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court in a landmark Judgement while setting aside a Kerala University of Health Sciences Regulations has held that making a student to re-appear in all the papers to pass a course, just because he has failed in a single paper in first attempt or thereafter in arbitrary, unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of Constitution of India.

kerala high court

The case involved Post-graduate medical students who have failed, either because they did not secure the minimum in one of the four theory papers or in one of the clinical/practical tests and were made to re-appear in all the papers to pass the course. The petitioners have not been declared successful in the Post-graduate Medical Course for the reason that they have failed to secure the minimum for the theory and the practical in all the subjects simultaneously.

The petitioners contended that they should be permitted to appear for the theory or the clinical/practical (in which they have failed) without insisting on the appearance for all the papers and practical again. They also argued that such insistence is violative of Constitution of India and does not serve any purpose. It was also their argument that such practice has no nexus with maintaining the standards of education.

Kerala University of Health Sciences in response contended that the candidates cannot pass the examinations piece-meal. The right of the University to prescribe stricter conditions for a Post- graduate medical student to be declared passed is emphasised stating that it is only a step for raising the level of standard. The University adds that its autonomy to fix higher standards in order to declare a candidate as having passed the Post-graduate medical examination cannot be interfered with in exercise of the writ jurisdiction.

KUHS

The rule under challenge was Clause 3.16. of KUHS Regulations of Post- graduate Medical Courses which prescribes that a candidate who has secured minimum of 50 percent marks for theory (40 percent separate minimum for each paper), 50 percent for Clinical/Practical including oral shall be declared to have passed in that subject. A candidate who fails in one subject either theory/practical shall have to appear for all the papers including theory and practical.

It was however, noted by the Court that in the corresponding clause in the MCI Regulations there is no insistence that the candidate who has failed in one subject either theory or practical should again appear for all the papers including theory and practical in the MCI Regulations as in the KUHS Regulations. Even in the Affidavit filed by Medical Council of India there was conspicuous silence as to whether the MCI Regulations insist on a simultaneous pass in the theory and practical.

The Judge however noted the contradiction in the two rules and felt that one cannot lose sight of the fact that a candidate could be declared as ‘passed’ if the MCI Regulations are adopted and at the same time declared as ‘failed’ if the KUHS Regulations are adopted.

After examining all the Rules and hearing the arguments of the parties, the Hon’ble Court while deprecating the practice of re-appearing in all the papers to pass, because he failed in one subject in first attempt, held that:

One can understand if the candidate is required to appear again in the theory and related practical of the particular paper if he has failed to secure the minimum prescribed in that subject as per the norms. But what is the purpose in requiring the candidate to write all the four theory papers again if he has failed in one practical or undergo Clinical/Practical tests again for all the subjects if he has failed in one theory paper? Repetitive undertaking of examinations after having secured the minimum prescribed does not scale up the standard and can only be termed as oppressive from the point of view of the student. The repetitive appearance in examinations under the KUHS Regulations has no rationale nexus with the object sought to be achieved and is obviously violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The mental anguish which a student has to face in the event of his losing a theory or practical by marginal marks necessitating re-appearance for all the papers in theory and practical in order to secure a pass is unimaginable. It is possible that a candidate who has passed in the first attempt may fail in the same examination in the second attempt and the vicious circle of pass and fail will only result in unfairness to the extreme.

The High Court eventually held that Clause 3.16 of the KUHS Regulations to the extent it insists that ‘a candidate who fails in one subject either theory/practical shall have to appear for all the papers including theory and practical’ is unreasonable and arbitrary.

mci

It however, also asked Medical Council of India to clarify as to whether each candidate should simultaneously pass the theory and practical securing 50 percent marks in each which can be incorporated in the KUHS Regulations appropriately.

EduLegaL View:

“Arbitrariness” is generally tested on touchstone of the parameters of Article 14 of Constitution of India. It also includes in itself a principle that a law / rule should have reasonable nexus [connection] to the object of the law / rule.

In our view, making a student re-appear for the entire paper to achieve the academic award, merely because he has failed in one of the papers does not achieve any object of high standard of education. Such practice is not only unconstitutional but also regressive and oppressive. It is legalized exploitation. In this throat cutting edge of competition, liberalization should be the guiding factor for the regulators.

If a student is asked to re-appear in all the papers, will it increase the standards, the answer is big NO. Then why have such rule.

Just imagine the agony of a student, he has to undergo all the papers again, read the same material all over again, which may enhance his application skills but only create a culture of “repetitiveness” or “ratta” [as they call in Hindi]. This will create bookworms than sharp professionals.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Promoting AYUSH Education

The Central Government has approved setting up of (i) All India Institute Ayurveda at SaritaVihar, New Delhi to conduct Post-graduate and Ph.D. courses in Ayurveda and (ii) North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy at Shillong in Meghalaya to conduct Under-graduate, Post-graduate, Doctoral and Post-doctoral courses both in Ayurveda and Homoeopathy.Further, under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry, there is a component of Development of AYUSH Educational Institutions under the National AYUSH Mission (NAM) where, there is a provision of grant in aid upto the maximum of Rs. 10.50 crore for setting up of new AYUSH Educational Institutions/Colleges in the states where such Institution does not exists in Government Sector. The grant-in-aid provided by the Government of India is supplementary to the State contribution to complete the project.

Furthermore, there is a provision of assistance of Rs. 3 crore for Under-graduate (UG) Institutions and Rs. 4 crore for Post-graduate (PG) Institutions of AYUSH for upgradation/infrastructural development.The Central Government has taken steps for the improve the quality of AYUSH educational institutions already in existenceby approving the regulations for Ayurveda, Unani Siddha and Homoeopathy colleges notified by the CCIM and CCH as per details given below:

i. The Indian Medicine Central Council (Permission to Existing Medical Colleges) Regulations, 2006.

ii. Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standard Requirement of Ayurveda Colleges and attached Hospitals) Regulations, 2012 with Amendment Regulations, 2013.

iii.Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standard Requirements of Unani Colleges and attached Hospitals) Regulations, 2013.

iv. Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standard Requirements of Siddha Colleges and attached Hospitals) Regulations, 2013.

v. Homoeopathy Central Council (Minimum Standards Requirement of Homoeopathic Colleges and attached Hospitals) Regulations, 2013.

vi. Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standards of Education in Indian Medicine (Amendment) Regulations, 2012 with further amendment in 2013 for Ayurveda undergraduate course.

vii. Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standards of Education in Indian Medicine) Amendment Regulations, 2013 for Unani undergraduate course.

viii. Indian Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standards of Education in Indian Medicine) Amendment Regulations, 2013 for Siddha undergraduate course.

ix. Homoeopathy (Degree Course) Regulations, 1983 with amendments in 2003 and 2005.

x. Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2012.

xi. Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Unani Education) Regulations, 2007.

xii. Homoeopathy (Post Graduate Degree Course) M.D.(Hom.) Regulations, 1989 with amendments in 1993 and 2012.

xiii. Indian Medicine Central Council (Post-Graduate Diploma Course) Regulations, 2010 with amendment in 2013 for Ayurveda.

xiv. Indian Medicine Central Council (Post-Graduate Diploma Course in Unani Medicine) Regulations, 2015.

xv. Indian Medicine Central Council (Post-Graduate Diploma Course in Siddha) Regulations, 2015.

Further, the assistance given by the Government of India under the component of Development of AYUSH Institutions of NAM is facilitating improvement in infrastructure in AYUSH Colleges and attached Hospital and thereby improving quality of existing educational Institutions.

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 

SC suggests Govt. to scrap reservation / quotas in super-speciality medical courses

The Supreme Court has observed that admissions to institutions of higher education in particular medical education should be based on merit and not reservations, and urged the central government to take objective steps in eliminating reservation in super speciality medical courses. Supreme Court has made this suggestion in the general interest of the country and for improving the standard of higher education and thereby improving the quality of available medical services to the people of India.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court echoed the same feeling as was done earlier in another case by Supreme Court itself and reiterated the aspirations of others so that authorities can objectively assess and approach the situation so that the national interest can become paramount. The earlier judgement of the Court had also suggested the Government:

“We hope and trust that the Government of India and the State Governments shall seriously consider this aspect of the matter without delay and appropriate guidelines shall be evolved by the Indian Medical Council so as to keep the Super Specialities in medical education unreserved, open and free.”

The Hon’ble Court also expressed its concern on the delay in addressing the issue and observed that fond hope has remained in the sphere of hope though there has been a progressive change. The Court also felt that said privilege remains unchanged, as if to compete with eternity.

The judgment came based on a batch petitions complaining about eligibility criteria for admissions to certain courses – DM (Doctor of Medicine) and MCh (Master of Chirurgiae)- in particular, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu permitted only those domiciled in these states. This means that while candidates domiciled in these states can sit for exams in other states, students from other states are barred from taking exams in these states. The petitioners had challenged these provisions on ground of violations of right of equality and equal opportunity, which has been granted in Articles 14 and 16 of Constitution of India.

High Court quashes the Rajasthan Pre-Medical Test (RPMT) 2014

Rajasthan High Court has set aside the Rajasthan Pre-Medical Test (RPMT) 2014 and directed the state government to conduct the examination again. A petition was filed by some students challenging the Medical Test alleging discrepancies in the question paper and sought directions for re-examination.

The Petitioners on perusing the answer key notice noticed that there was change in the questions later. Also granting of 4 bonus marks for each wrong question led to huge discrepancy, as candidates appearing in one slot got just 16 bonus marks, whereas those in another, got 76.

State Government admitted in the Court that paper was not proper and expressed their willingness to re-conduct the examination.

The Court therefore allowed the writ petitions filed by the unsuccessful candidates and set aside the result and examination of RPMT-2014.

All India Pre Medical Test upper age limit challenged in Delhi High Court

An MBBS aspirant has approached Delhi High Court challenging the upper age limit of 25 years for appearing in the All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT).

According to the current eligibility criteria, a candidate has to be maximum 25 years old on December 31 of the year the examination is held. The All India Pre-Medical Test is conducted by CBSE.

It has been urged in the Petition that upper age limit has not been prescribed by MCI and therefore CBSE, an examination conducting authority cannot fix the same as its role is limited to conducting the examination and has no statutory function to lay down eligibility conditions.

It is also urged that the concerned statute, Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or any regulation made thereunder does not prescribe any upper age limit and hence restriction on upper age limit by prescribing such restriction in Information Brochure issued by CBSE is not legal and proper.

In light therefore it is stated before the Court that such restriction being unreasonable is violative of Fundamental Right of a citizen to pursue his freedom to choose profession of his choice, which is guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

On hearing the Petition, though Delhi High Court refused to pass any interim order, has sought response from the Central Government, Medical Council of India (MCI) and CBSE.

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