SC disallows migration of MBBS student from unrecognized medical college to recognized one
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has recently ruled that migration of an MBBS student is allowed only if both the medical colleges, the one student is currently in, to the one they seek the transfer to, are recognized by the Central Government.
Mentioning that the High Court order that allowed the migration as "erroneous", the apex court has clarified that on the basis of the Regulation 6(2) of Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997, a student could only get the migration "both the Colleges are recognized u/s 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956."
The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Indira Banerjee was hearing the appeal made by erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI), now National Medical Commission (NMC) challenging the Rajasthan High Court Judgment dated 09.01.2019, which directed the MCI to relax the Regulations and permit migration of the concerned MBBS student.
The SC set aside the verdict of the Rajasthan High Court which had directed the MCI to permit migration of a student of MBBS course from an unrecognized medical college to a recognized one.
The root of the case goes back to 2018, the year when the student had been admitted to MBBS course in Ananta Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Rajsamand. However, in 2019, in a letter dated 26.08.2019, she requested the Board of Governors in supersession of the Medical Council of India to permit her application for migration to Dr. S. N. Medical College, Jodhpur. For this, she relied upon the certificates issued by the Ananta Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Rajsamand. The Principal of Dr. S. N. Medical College Jodhpur didn't object to this request as well.
However, the Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India rejected the request for migration by a proceeding dated 25.10.2019 on the ground that would not be permissible under clause 6(2) of the Migration Rules.
The Director of Medical Education communicated about the proceeding to the medico on 07.11.2019.
Following this, the medico filed a writ petition in the High court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jodhpur and challenged the validity of the proceeding dated 25.10.2019. She further sought a direction to the respondent to permit a transfer from Ananta Institute to Dr. SN Medical College, Jodhpur.
The learned single judge of the High Court, by a judgment dated 09.01.2020, allowed the Writ Petition and directed the Medical Council of India to relax the Regulations and permit migration.
The rejection of the request of the MBBS student for migration was held to be discriminatory as the Medical Council of India extended the benefit of relaxation of the Regulations in favor of Daksh Sharma.
A Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the Medical Council of India by holding that the term 'Migration' referred to in sub-clause (2) of Regulation 6 of the Migration Rules had not been limited to Schedule-I of the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 but had much wider scope.
The Division Bench of High Court further opined that all institutions which had been allowed to impart medical education should be deemed to be recognised colleges for the purpose of considering the applications for migration.
During the hearing before the Supreme Court of India, on February 2, 2021, Mr.Gaurav Sharma, Learned counsel for the appellant, erstwhile MCI, contended that the High Court had committed an error in interpreting Regulation 6 of Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997.
The counsel for the petitioner further clarified that the migration of a student pursuing an undergraduate medical course is permissible only if both the colleges are recognised by the Central Government under section 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 in accordance with Regulation 6(2). The further condition stipulated in Regulation 6(3) mentions that an application for migration may be made by a candidate only after qualifying the first professional MBBS examination. There is no provision of allowing migration during clinical course of study as well.
The counsel further argued that migration would not be permitted by the Medical Council of India from a private college to the government college. For this, he made a submission of the document how the student belonging to OBC category had been placed at 6,73,898 rank in the merit list as she had secured only 110 marks out of total 720 marks in the NEET (UG)-2018 examination.
He further mentioned that the cut off for admission in respect of OBC category in the Government College Dr. S. N. Medical College Jodhpur, where the admission had been sought by the medico, had been560 marks out of 720 marks. The counsel further submitted that the medico had been in the 2nd MBBS (3rd year) and the clinical courses had already commenced.
While representing the concerned MBBS student, Mr. Atul Jha referred to the Regulations to submit that the Medical Council of India had the power to relax. He supported the judgment of the High Court by referring to the relaxation of the Regulations in favor of other candidates by the Medical Council. Mentioning that, Mr. Jha submitted that the decision not to grant permission for migration had been discriminatory.
Mentioning that the father of the MBBS student has been suffering from Cancer, Mr. Jha, the learned counsel for the medico, appealed before the apex court that the application for migration made by the student should be considered on humanitarian grounds.
Meanwhile, Dr. Manish Singhvi, the learned Additional Advocate General for the State of Rajasthan, also made a submission of how The principal of the Government Medical College to which transfer had been sought had granted no objection for transfer of the first respondent as there had been an existing vacancy in the College.
After hearing the counsel made by all the parties, the apex court held:
"The interpretation of Regulation 6(2) (of the Migration Rules) by the High Court is patently erroneous. The Regulation clearly lays down a restriction of migration from an unrecognized college to a recognized college. Regulation 6(2) provides that migration is permissible only if both the Colleges are recognized u/s 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956,"
The bench of Justices in the Supreme Court further clarified
"the Regulation clearly lays down a restriction of migration from an unrecognized college to a recognized college. Regulation 6(2) provides that migration is permissible only if both the Colleges are recognized u/s 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956."
The Supreme Court in its order had mentioned the Section 11(2) of the Medical Council Act, 1956 in detail. As per the mentioned section in the Medical Council Act, 1956, "Any University or medical institution in India which grants a medical qualification not included in the First Schedule may apply to the Central Government to have such qualification recognized, and the Central Government, after consulting the Council, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the First Schedule so as to include such qualification therein, and any such notification may also direct that an entry shall be made in the last column of the First Schedule against such medical qualification declaring that it shall be a recognized medical qualification only when granted after a specified date."
Referring to the section, the Supreme Court bench of Justices opined that "the term 'Migration' cannot be read out of context without reference to the Regulation which clearly provides that both colleges should be recognized u/s 11(2) of the Act."
The apex court further clarified that "the college in which the first respondent is studying is yet to be recognized u/s 11(2) of the Act. Migration cannot be permitted contrary to the Regulations."
While referring to the relaxation granted by the Medical Council of India, the Supreme Court mentioned that "Note 2 to Regulation 6 empowers the Medical Council of India to permit migration after considering the individual merit of the request only in respect of matters which are not covered by the Regulations."
Finally, setting aside the judgment of the High Court, the apex court of India has allowed the appeal. The court has further directed that pending application (s), if any, should stand disposed of.
To view the original court order, click on the link below.