9 PG medical courses of Dr MGR Medical University declared ILLEGAL by High Court
Madurai: The Madras High Court has declared 9 PG medical courses offered by the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University as "illegal and ultra vires" as they did not have the approval of the apex medical regulator, Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Central Government.
The court allowed a petition by the secretary of the Doctors Welfare Association of Tamil Nadu Dr K Srinivasan against the courses, including PG Diploma in Palliative Medicine and MD Family Medicine through distance education and the one-year fellowships such as HIV medicine, occupational health, clinical immunology, palliative medicine and sexual medicine.
The petitioner had also wanted the university to be prevented from offering two-year courses in medical genetics, critical care medicine, clinical diabetology, ultrasound (obstetrics and gynaecology) or any other unauthorised PG degree, diploma, certificate or fellowship in medical sciences course for which an MBBS degree is the requirement for admission.
Justice S S Sundar of the Madurai bench also asked the state-run university to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh to the secretary of the education department, who was directed to use the money for improving the infrastructure in government schools.
The apex court had ruled that the regulations of the council were binding and mandatory. The public would be misled to believe such unrecognised diploma-holders were experts. Hence, in public interest the writ petition is allowed, the judge said.
The university had issued the impugned advertisement for conducting the distance education programme in utter disregard to the directions of the courts under the guise of a decision taken by the governing council of the university.
The conduct of the university in this matter, in flagrant violation of previous judgements, was condemnable, the judge said.
The petitioner said the university's February 11, 2018 advertisement offered five one-year courses and four two-year courses under the distance education programme. It was also stated in the advertisement that courses did not have MCI's approval.
The university contended that the distance education programmes were not illegal or contrary to the Indian Medical Council Act as they were offered as per the governing council order issued on May 12, 2010.
The courses were offered to the MBBS degree holders to develop skills and update knowledge and overcome scarcity of experts in such fields and to fulfil the medical needs and treatments for patients, it said.
The MCI, supporting the case of the petitioner, said neither the state government nor the university can introduce or offer parallel courses in medicine.
There cannot be a provision under the state act to override the central legislation and offer courses without permission, it added.