Terming the state of medical colleges in the country as “rotten”, the Supreme Court on Friday imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences here for raising the number of seats from 100 to 150 without having the necessary facilities and “playing with the future of students”.
Disposing a special leave petition by Medical Council of India, a two judge bench of justice Madan B Lokur and justice NV Ramana restrained KIMS from from increasing the intake of students from 100 students to 150 students for the MBBS course for the academic year 2016-17 and 2017-2018. KIMS was started by education baron Achyut Samanta who often fashions himself as a social reformer.
The SC ordered that KIMS must pay for its inability to introspect and venture into adventurist litigation.
“As an institution that should have some responsibility towards the welfare of the students, 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,” it said while imposing a penalty of Rs 5 crore.
The penalty, however, would not be recovered in any manner from any student or adjusted against the fees or provision of facilities for students of any present or subsequent batches. The amount will be deposited by KIMS in the SC Registry within six weeks. The SC made it clear that the admission of 50 students for the year 2015-16 in MBBS coures would be valid.
“The appeal(by MCI) is yet another chapter in the sordid saga of admissions to medical colleges. Unless the Ministries in the Government of India take a far more proactive role in ensuring that medical colleges have all the necessary facilities, clinical materials, teaching faculty, staff, accommodation etc. the health of the people of our country will take a hit in the coming years due to inadequately educated doctors. Quality in medical
education is equally important, if not more, than quantity,” the two judge bench said.
Though KIMS in 2014-15 was granted permission to admit an additional 50 students over and above the 100 students that was already its entitlement, it admitted 150 in 2015-16. The Medical Council of India which did an inspection of the facilities in January 2015 found a large number of serious deficiencies. The MCI recommended Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for denial of permission to KIMS for 50 additional seats for the MBBS for the academic year 2015-16. The medical college then filed a writ petition in Odisha High Court against the order following which HC set aside the Govt order and directed that KIMS be given a chance to appear again. The HC in its interim order directed that Centre would grant provisional permission to KIMS to conduct the course for the additional 50 students in the academic year 2015-16. The MCI had appealed against the HC order before the SC.
Incidentally in 2012, the CBI had chargesheeted four senior functionaries of KIMS including Achyuta Samanta for resorting to “fraudulent” practice to impress the MCI panel, which inspected the institute on March 5, 2010. They were chargesheeted under sections 120(B), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) and 176 of IPC. However, a special CBI court later had dropped charges against him.
The apex court said MCI and Centre will take action against KIMS under clause 8(3) of the Medical Council of India Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999. It also said the MCI in consultation with the Centre prepare a Standard Operating Procedure for conducting an inspection as required by the Medical Council of India.
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