“ Undoubtedly, there is something rotten in the state of medical colleges.Unless the concerned 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.”
These were the words used by the hon’ble Supreme Court, while imposing a penalty of Rs 5 crore on an Odisha-based Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences for raising the number of seats from 100 to 150 in an academic year and “playing with the future of students”.
The details of the case go back to the year 2014- 15, when for the academic year 2014-15, the said institute was desiring permission to admit an additional 50 students over and above the 100 students that was already its entitlement. For the same, an MCI inspection was conducted. However, owing to the deficiencies, MCI wrote to the Central Government to deny permission to KIMS to add 50 additional seats for the MBBS for the academic year 2015-16 and the Central government Followed suit. Aggrieved with the decision, the said Medical college knocked on the doors of high court, which directed the Central Government to grant provisional permission to KIMS to conduct the course for the additional 50 students in the academic year 2015-16
However, as per the HC orders, subsequent MCI inspection also reveals a number of deficiencies. The high court went through the two inspection reports and hence directed the MCI ” to grant the necessary permission to the petitioner-institution to continue with the education of its students admitted prior to September 2015 within the revised enhanced intake i.e. 100 to 150, since we are of the considered view that no deficiency as alleged exists in the present circumstances. “
The Supreme Court in this regard made the following observations
OBSERVATIONS TO THE HIGH COURT
The Apex court found no justifications in the orders made by the high court and made the following observations
we are of opinion that the High Court ought to have been more circumspect in directing the admission of students by its order dated 25th September, 2015. There was no need for the High Court to rush into an area that the MCI feared to tread. Granting admission to students 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.
OBSERVATIONS TO KIMS
The Supreme Court took a strong note of the actions of KIMS and imposed a fine of Rs 5 crores for its actions:-
“This may be so – but if such a situation has come to pass, KIMS is entirely to be blamed. KIMS was specifically told not to admit students by the Central Government in its letter dated 15th June, 2015. Despite this KIMS persisted in litigation to somehow or the other accommodate 50 additional students. This was certainly not with a charitable motive. 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.”
Therefore the court has ordered the following
Costs of Rs. 5 crores are imposed on KIMS for playing with the future of its students and the mess that it has created for them. The amount will be deposited by KIMS in the Registry of this Court within six weeks from today. The amount of Rs. 5 crores so deposited towards costs shall 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. KIMS is restrained 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. The MCI and the Central Government shall enforce strict compliance of this direction. The MCI or the Central Government will proceed to take action against KIMS (if deemed advisable) under Clause 8(3) of the Medical Council of India Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 (as amended) as mentioned in the communication of 15th June, 2015 of the Central Government.
OBSERVATIONS FOR THE STUDENTS
The court having a sympatheic view for the students stated “for the fault of KIMS, the students should not suffer nor should KIMS get away scot free.”
The admission granted to the 50 students pursuant to the order of the High Court dated 25th September, 2015 and the provisional permission granted by the Central Government only on 28th September, 2015 shall not be disturbed. How the students will complete their course of studies without putting undue pressure on them is entirely for the MCI and KIMS and other concerned authorities to decide.
OBSERVATIONS FOR THE MCI
SC has directed the Medical Council of India to set up a standard operating protocol for the purpose of Medical College Inspections while further directing that all inspection reports should be made public at the official MCI website
During the hearing of the appeal, we were informed that there is no fixed, set or laid down procedure prepared by the MCI for conducting an inspection or assessment as postulated by the Medical Council of India Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999. Rather than every Inspection Team following its own procedure for conducting an assessment, the MCI should in consultation with the Central Government prepare a Standard Operating Procedure for conducting an inspection as required by the Medical Council of India Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999. The Standard Operating Procedure should be finalized within a period of six weeks from today and should be accessible on the website of the
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