The stand-off between Union Health Ministry and Medical Council of India (MCI) over the assessment of medical colleges has finally led to scrapping of around 4,000 seats in such institutions this year. Besides this, the government’s plan to have around 2,750 seats more — either in new medical colleges or by increasing the seats in existing colleges — also suffered a defeat, making 2014-15 the first such year where the number of MBBS seats is set to go down.
This comes after the Supreme Court on Thursday junked a plea by the Ministry to modify the schedule fixed by the court for approvals to new colleges and increasing numbers of seats, and issue appropriate directions to the MCI for falling in line with the government’s proposal. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and NV Ramana said there was no adequate ground to tinker with the schedule fixed by the court.
“We cannot pass any order on your application. We don’t have to disturb the schedule,” said the bench, even as Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia pressed for relief, citing huge loss of medical seats for MBBS courses 2014-15.
The SC had set June 15 as the deadline for the MCI to send its recommendations on medical seats to the Ministry, while July 15 was the last date for approvals by the Ministry. The application, however, sought extension so that the MCI could send its recommendations by August 12 and the Ministry could issue letters of approval or disapproval by August 22.