Apex Court Disallows Re-Inspection of Medical College by Medical Council of India; Sets Aside Judgement of High Court

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Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt. Ltd. and Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences had filed a writ petition in the Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Bombay. They prayed before the court to direct Medical Council Of India to send its Experts’ team for the purpose of verifying the compliance of the deficiencies pointed out earlier and forward recommendations to the Union Government. The Court accepted their plea; aggrieved thereby, the Medical Council Of India appealed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and hence the present case.

The present case “Medical Council of India v. Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt. Ltd. and Ors.” was adjudicated by a Division Bench of justice N. Nageshwara Rao and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar.

After the Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt. Ltd. and Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences were established, the inspection for granting first renewal for admission of students was conducted which had found serious deficiencies and anomalies in the respect of Academic Standards, Accommodation, Medical facilities for students, Food Preparation etc. Deficiency of faculty and Shortfall of residents was estimated at around 84% and 87% respectively.

The High Court allowed their petition and ordered another inspection on the ground that the yearly verification and renewal of educational institutions by Medical Council Of India did not apply in this case on account of ambiguity in the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 and unfair inspection being carried out in the present case.

COUNSEL’S ARGUMENTS:

It was argued on behalf of Medical Council Of India in the Supreme Court of India that there is no ambiguity and according to the said Regulation, Institutions having deficiency of teaching faculty and/or residents more than 30 per cent and/or bed occupancy less than 50 per cent will not be considered for renewal of permission for that academic year. In view of the large scale deficiencies found in the inspection conducted, it was submitted that there is no question of any opportunity being given to the Respondents in the present case to rectify their mistakes.

Further, in “Medical Council of India v. Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) & Ors.” 1 (2016) 11 SCC 530, the Supreme Court held that the report of the Experts should not be interfered with by the Apex Court.

This argument was countered by the Counsel appearing on the behalf of respondents by relying on the Supreme Court’s Decision in “Royal Medical Trust (Registered) v. Union of India” (2015) 10 SCC 19 to support his submission that an opportunity has to be given to a Medical Institute to rectify the deficiencies. It was further submitted that the Regulations cannot over-ride the statute.

SUPREME COURT’S RULING:

The Supreme Court observed:

“The interpretation of Regulation 8 (3) (1) (a) by the High Court is patently erroneous in as much as the High Court did not take note of the proviso to Regulation 8(3)(1). Without a proper examination of the provision, the High Court fell in error…the proviso is not restricted only to second renewal cases. Even the first renewal is covered by proviso (a) to Regulation 8 (3) (1) as the language used is “upto second renewal”…an opportunity shall be given to the medical College to rectify the defects. But, the proviso contemplates that certain minimum standards are to be satisfied”

Further, the Court relied on the decision in “Medical Council of India v. Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) & Ors.” and held that it was improper on the part of the High Court to interfere with the assessment report except “for very cogent jurisdictional reasons such as mala fides of the inspection team, ex facie perversity in the inspection, jurisdictional error on the part of the M.C.I., etc.”.

Therefore, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal, ruled out the judgement of High Court and disallowed the claim for another inspection.

This note is written by Gunjeet Singh Bagga.