9 PG Medical courses by Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University not recognised: Madras HC
It only appeared that the varsity had conducted those courses not with a mala fide intention but only on a misconception that it could offer such courses without the approval of the Union Health Ministry and the MCI, noted the court
Chennai: In a major setback to the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, the first division bench of Madras High Court has held 9 PG medical courses offered by the varsity as "illegal and ultra vires" as they did not have the approval of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Central Government.
Making this decision, the bench had upheld the June 2019 verdict of the single bench of Justice S Sundar.
At that time, Medical Dialogues had reported that 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, (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 had 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.Read Also: 9 PG medical courses of Dr MGR Medical University declared ILLEGAL by High Court
The single bench judge had earlier stated that the high court and also the Supreme Court had already unambiguously held that the state government or the university cannot offer parallel courses without permission from the MCI and the Centre. 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 was allowed.
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 had observed.
The petitioner had submitted 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.
In response, 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 the 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.
Challenging the single bench order, the varsity appealed to the division bench of the high court.
Now, during the recent hearing on the petition by the varsity, the division bench of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad recorded the submission of MCI that it had not approved the courses and upheld the single bench June 2019 order, reports The Hindu.
However, the Bench struck off the costs imposed by the single bench stating:
"it only appeared that the varsity had conducted those courses not with a mala fide intention but only on a misconception that it could offer such courses without the approval of the Union Health Ministry and the MCI."
The Hindu quotes that apart from the directive related to imposition of costs, "we find no reason to take a different view than what had been taken by the learned single judge... There is no material to find fault with the findings of the learned single judge," the Bench said while dismissing the writ appeal preferred by the university last year and pending since then.