The Supreme Court Monday made an exception by allowing eight government medical colleges in three states, which were barred by the Centre for certain deficiencies, to enrol 800 students in MBBS and BDS courses for academic year 2018-19. The top court fixed the accountability on the chief secretary and principal secretary in-charge of medical education of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand for rectifying the deficiencies pointed out by the Medical Council of India (MCI) within the stipulated time-line given by the respective state governments.
A vacation bench of justices S Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra asked the MCI to carry out an inspection after three months to verify if the state governments had rectified the deficiencies pointed out by it. “We hereby direct that in view of the undertakings submitted by the principal secretaries of the three states, permission is granted to the said government medical colleges for admission to the MBBS course for the current academic year, 2018-19,” the bench said.
It added that the seats in these colleges would be included in the seat matrix, for which counselling is scheduled to take place on June 19. “The MCI shall carry out an inspection after three months to verify that the state governments have in fact carried out compliance to rectify the deficiencies pointed out. If the deficiencies are not removed within the period specified, the principal secretary of each of the states will be held personally responsible for non-compliance with the orders passed by this court,” the bench said.
It, however, clarified that the order passed in the present case should not be treated as a precedent and added that it was passed considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case as otherwise, over 800 seats in government medical colleges would have been wasted. The court kept the petition pending for compliance and listed it for further hearing on September 25.
The eight government medical colleges which were barred from admitting students for 2018-19 are — Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College, Gaya, Vardhman Institute of Medical Sciences, Pawapuri, Nalanda and Government Medical College, Bettiah — all in Bihar — which have a total of 250 seats. The Mahatma Gandhi Medical College at Jamshedpur, Jharkhand was also denied permission to admit students by the Centre. The four medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh that were denied permission are — Government Allopathic Medical College at Banda, Government Medical College at Saharanpur, Government Medical College and Super Speciality Hospital at Azamgarh and Rajkiya Medical College at Jalaun district.
During the hearing, the three states gave undertakings that they had either rectified the deficiencies — mostly related to shortage of faculty staff — or would remove the shortcomings within a fixed time-line. At one point of time, the bench asked senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who was appearing for Bihar, that with insufficient infrastructure, how could the colleges impart medical education.
“They will be treating human beings, not animals. With this kind of infrastructure, how will they impart medical education? There is a verdict of this court, in which it has been said that half-baked doctors are graduating from government medical colleges,” it said. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the MCI, said an exception could be created for the colleges on the condition that officials would be held personally accountable for removing the deficiencies.
He added that a one-time exception could be given, provided that the colleges strictly adhered to the time-line, so that the seats did not go waste. On June 14, the apex court had issued notice and asked the Centre and the MCI to suggest a way out of the crisis, so that hundreds of medical seats were not wasted.
It had said the letters of permission in respect of medical colleges run by state governments had a special significance as the seats in these institutes were given to students purely on merit and for a nominal fee. “Any refusal of letter of permission is bound to reflect in reduction of seats available to meritorious candidates. However, at the same time, the adherence to the requirement of having requisite faculty, facility and infrastructure, as laid down by the MCI from time to time, must be scrupulously observed,” it had said and sought an undertaking from the chief secretary of each of the three states for removing the shortcomings.