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MCI recognition of PGDCC from IGNOU: Delhi HC directs Council, Centre to reconsider

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MCI recognition of PGDCC from IGNOU: Delhi HC directs Council, Centre to reconsider

New Delhi: Responding to the controversial issue of the Medical Council of India (MCI) refusal to recognise the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology (PGDCC) qualification, awarded by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the Delhi High Court recently asked the MCI as well as the central government to reconsider the application of IGNOU in this regard

The direction came in response to a petition filed by the Association of Clinical Cardiologists, an association of more than 2000 PGDCC candidates in this regard.

Espousing the cause of holders of the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology (PGDCC) qualification, awarded by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the writ petition seeks, sought issuance of a mandamus to amend the Schedule to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as “the IMC Act”), by entering, therein, the PGDCC as a  recognised medical qualification”.

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What Petitioners Stated

The petition informed that PGDCC course was commenced, in 2006, by the IGNOU, to develop a cadre of non-interventional cardiologists, and involved a “two-year fulltime rigourous training in top cardiac hospitals in the country”. In order to be eligible to apply for the PGDCC course, a candidate was required to have an MBBS degree.

The petitioners highlighted their course of study and training that they underwent in top hospitals in the country on similar lines to that provided that super speciality level of cardiology

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“The only difference in training is that the petitioners do not receive training in surgical and invasive procedures of cardiology which are performed in Cath Labs and O.T.s,” the petitioners noted. The petitioner association however clarified that they do not seek to practise as interventional cardiologists, but only as non-interventional cardiologists

The writ petition added that (i) PGDCC students are already trained MBBS doctors and no laymen to the science of treatment of patients, and (ii) the qualifications and competence of the members of the petitioner-Association are unimpeachable.

Comparing the same to DNB courses that are awarded by the NBE, the writ petition reasserts that the PGDCC course is “modeled on pattern similar to DNB (Cardiology) Course which is recognised by the respondents under the IMC Act, 1956 without any permission thereof under Section 10A of the said Act”.

The assocation pointed out with no favouorable response of the MCI for inclusion of the PGDCC qualification as a “recognised medical qualification”, in the First Schedule to the IMC Act, they petitioners had to approach the court with the plea to direct MCI and the Central Government to to recognise the PGDCC qualification, awarded by the IGNOU

While IGNOU in its reply to the court, supported the stand of the association, it was vemently opposed by the Medical Council of India.

MCI Response

The MCI has, in its counter-affidavit, submitted, without a trace of equivocation, that the IGNOU had commenced the PGDCC course in blatant violation of the applicable rules and regulations and that, therefore, there could be no question of according any recognition to the said course. To bring this point home, the MCI has explained, in detail, the procedure to be followed, before any institution starts a new postgraduate medical course, highlighting that the MCI lays down the  necessary infrastructure for any institutions to start a medical course, besides explaining the rules that no institution can offer PG courses without offering MBBS courses first

The IGNOU, it was contended by the MCI, not being a medical college established with the prior permission of the Central Government under Section 10A of the IMC Act, could not have sought permission for the commencement of any Postgraduate Medicine Course. That apart, it is pointed out, the IGNOU never sought the permission, of the Central Government, under Section 10A of the IMC Act, for starting a new medical course whatsoever, so that there could be no question of grant of any recognition to the PGDCC qualification, awarded by it. By operation of Section 10B of the IMC Act, it is contended that the said PGDCC qualification was not a
“recognised medical qualifications”.

No prior permission, of the Central Government, was taken before starting the said course. In any event, it is further pointed out, the IGNOU not being an institution which had been granted recognition for running an MBBS course, by the Central Government, there could be no question of recognising any postgraduate medical course, run by it, or of any qualification awarded consequent thereto.

It is contended, by the MCI, that the IGNOU is merely a “diploma awarding institution”, qua the PGDCC qualification, the council centended

Counter Response

On the aspect of the requirement of prior permission, of the MCI, or the Central Government, before the petitioner decided to start the PGDCC course, it was contended that the said course was started, and continued, under the IGNOU Act, and the PGDCC qualification was awarded by the IGNOU in exercise of the power conferred by Section 5(1)(iii) of the said Act. The IGNOU Act,
it is asserted, conferred absolute power, on the IGNOU, to start new courses, which would include medical courses

The counsel for the petitioner argued that had the MCI refused to recognise the PGDCC qualification awarded by the IGNOU, after examining the issue on merits, he would have had no grievance. As it were, however, the counsel would seek to submit, the request, of his clients, for  inclusion of the PGDCC qualification in the First schedule to the IMC Act was thrown out on the ground – which, according to him, was entirely without merit – that the IGNOU had not obtained prior permission of the Central Government, as required by Section 10A of the IMC Act, before commencing the PGDCC course.

The counsel further submitted that, unlike the case of a qualification given by a medical college, which would be covered by Section 10A, grant of a decree or diploma, by a University or the medical institution, directly attracted Section 11 of the IMC Act, and Section 10A was
entirely inapplicable to such a case. Section 11 of the IMC Act, Mr. Ramachandran points out, does not contemplate any prior permission of the Central Government, before a medical course was granted recognition

The counsel in rejoinder clearly stated that Section 10A of the IMC Act did not, in terms, apply either to the IGNOU, or to the PGDCC qualification awarded by it, as the IGNOU was not a “medical college”. As such, he would submit that the Central Government was required to take a decision, on the request, of the IGNOU, for recognition of the PGDCC qualification, awarded by it, directly under Section 11 of the IMC Act, without reference to Section 10A, or requiring compliance, by the IGNOU, therewith.

Court Observations and Decision

After going through the submissions in detail, the court noted that this was a catch-22 situation

The court clarified that it has no say in the decision of whether PGDCC should be a recognised qualification or not

This Court is no arbiter of the quality of the PGDCC course, or of its merit, so far as recognition thereof, under the IMC Act, is concerned. Nor will this Court sit in appeal, or even in judicial review, over the subjective satisfaction of the authorities concerned – chiefly, the MCI and the Central Government – on the issue of whether the PGDCC qualification ought, or ought not, to be accorded recognition, under Section 11 of the IMC Act.

The court, however, noted that there was nothing wrong with IGNOU first starting the course and then applying to govt for recognition

…the manner in which the IGNOU commenced the PGDCC course, and, later, applied for recognition of the PGDCC qualification is, in my view, clearly in accordance with the statutory scheme contained in the IMC Act…

At the time of commencement of the course, the PGDCC qualification was not a “recognised medical qualification”, as it did not figure in any of the Schedules to the IMC Act. There was no requirement, therefore, for the IGNOU to obtain prior permission of the Central Government, before starting the said course, under Section 10A(1)(b)(i). Having started the course, the IGNOU applied, under Section 11(2), for recognition of the PGDCC qualification, being granted by it. In my view, the Central Government was duty bound to consider the said application in accordance with Section 11(2) of the IMC Act. The rejection, of the application, on the ground that the PGDCC course had been commenced, by the IGNOU, without obtaining prior permission of the Central Government under Section 10A of the IMC Act is, in my view, totally misconceived, and contrary to the scheme of Section 10A(1)(b)(i), read with Section 11(2), thereof.

The court quashed the argument of MCI in the matter

Resultantly, the decision of the respondents, not to consider the application, of the IGNOU, for recognition of the PGDCC qualification, awarded by it, on the ground that, before commencing the PGDCC course, the IGNOU had not obtained prior permission of the Central Government, under Section 10A of the IMC Act, therefore, cannot sustain statutory scrutiny and is, accordingly, quashed.

“The respondents, i.e. the Central Government and the IGNOU – are directed to consider, afresh, the application, of the IGNOU, for grant of recognition to the PGDCC qualification, awarded by it, under Section 11(2) of the IMC Act,” the court held

The court however clarified, that the final decision of recognition still rests with the MCI and the government

This Court has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the said application, or on whether the PGDCC qualification deserves, or does not deserve, to be recognised under Section 11(2). That decision would have to be taken by the Central Government, after consulting the MCI, on its own merits. Needless to say, the pre-eminent consideration, while examining the application of the  IGNOU, would have to be fostering of excellence in medical education, aimed at bringing, into the world, medical professionals, were able to render the optimum service to the public, in the best interests of society.

Speaking the Medical Dialogues team, the Dr Mohammed Shafiq, Secretary of the petitioner association stated,” We welcome the High court Decision. We hope that MCI would consider our case and finding merits would recognise our degrees, which would add a much-needed workforce of more than 2500 clinical cardiologists to service the nation.”



Source: self
28 comment(s) on MCI recognition of PGDCC from IGNOU: Delhi HC directs Council, Centre to reconsider

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  1. user
    mahendra kumar agarwal October 11, 2019, 1:01 pm

    In this case, advocate should bring all ignou administrative officers to into criminal offence . IGNOU is doing advertising also mci is very well aware . Why MCI did not take any action against ignou in past for breach of violation of the rule. It means in india, crime should happen. administration should watch it till some one goes to court.
    Court should take stringent action against such Govt employee who does not make rule clear and open the door for corruption .

  2. Without any clinical attachment how can someone become cardiologist? It is like BA, MA course from any university. They are going to treat patients with angina, myocardial infarctation? This just like pilot training training using simulating software. Does any airline allow these kind of so called trained persons fly aeroplane?

  3. Are you aware of the curriculum and the training of this diploma? Or is it part time or full time? Know all the facts before you fire your hate speech

  4. I have no objections to DM trained cardiologist, but our country has such a patients load that manpower shortage is experienced. Cardiologist are not available at needy hour, either they are on vacation or some free leisure trip arranged by MNC pharma giants for all their hardworks. In private sector, limited manpower are charging astronomical amount for all the interventions n hefty consultation fee and still be absent at needy hour. MCI itself is boGus council only scrutiny the government colleges n easily recognise private college against huge sum of bribe n five star hotel hospitality. As per my experience PGDCC aspirants are better trained than MD general medicine , may be little less than DM cardiology. We need more of such in smaller towns. DM will restrict themselves to metros only. Any way no offence to anyone, also all medical courses offered in IGNOU are trained in MCI recognised medical college its not some simulation software training corriculum. If at all entrance exam was criteria for all medics than let medical college come under one entrance exam banner, why private colleges have to admit student under management quata etc..

  5. user
    Suresh kumar. Cardiologist D M Degree. September 24, 2019, 3:35 pm

    Abolish all PG Courses better for the quakes?! Don’t they think anyone to get a PG should undergo some kind of entrance exam. This course is mainly created by top hospitals to get the patient s PCI . The tuth is that 70% of the PCI done in our country is no use and unethical.

  6. Support Pgdcc……appreciate Delhi high Court judgement….

  7. Please also recognise PGDMCH (Post graduate Diploma in Maternal and Child Health) offer by IGNOU . Lot of Doctors are required in that fields in India.


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