Medical college managements will have to cough up compensation to students if the Medical Council of India (MCI) refuses to grant approval to the college over lack of adequate facilities and infrastructure, the Supreme Court has said.
Fastening a liability on the college administration and management, the apex court said that students must be compensated monetarily for being left in the lurch.
The court was hearing a case relating to withdrawal of approval to a private medical college in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, owing to which 124 students admitted there stared at an uncertain future. After the MCI refused to approve the admission, uncertainty loomed large over the fate of the first MBBS batch of the Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital, set up by Tamil Nadu-based Selvam Education and Charitable Trust.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh held that irrespective of the legal battle between the college and the MCI over the issue of approval, students must be paid damages for being “compelled to travel from the sphere of certainty of the Institution to the realm of uncertainty”.
On Tuesday, the bench said that the Selvam Trust will have to shell out compensation for the 124 students and ordered it to deposit Rs 2 crore in the court registry. It rejected an argument by the Trust that compensation should be payable only when it is established that the MCI’s decision was correct.
“That should not be the subject matter of the present case; and that cannot be a condition precedent for the purpose of granting compensation to the students,” it maintained and added that the quantum of liability shall be adjudged later.
While the MCI had granted conditional approval to the Selvam Trust college for 100 seats for the 2013-14 academic session, the regulator later barred admission after a subsequent inspection failed to meet the MCI norms.
As the matter went to high court, it ordered accommodating the 124 students into other government and private medical colleges. But the move was opposed by students of these colleges, who cited lack of lack of facilities and raised the question of seniority. As aggrieved students from Rajas college moved the top court, it directed three private medical colleges to accommodate these 124 students, and warned students already studying there against trying to prevent their admission.
The bench Tuesday further directed the three medical colleges to make sure these 124 students were provided all the requisite facilities and sought reports on compliance in two weeks.
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