The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court help for medical seats

The state government’s hopes of getting permission for 200 additional medical seats in SSKM Hospital and Midnapore Medical College and Hospital for this year’s MBBS course received a boost when Calcutta High Court on Monday asked the Union government to take a final decision on the issue before October 27 and communicate it to the court.

The ruling comes after the state government filed two separate petitions against the Medical Council of India (MCI) for rejecting its requests for additional medical seats on “whimsical grounds”.

In the petition, the government argued that the MCI was not correct in rejecting the petition for additional seats on grounds of “inadequate hostel facilities”, which was an essential condition before according permission, but not the ultimate one. Moreover, the MCI’s stand on the “overcrowded out-patients’ department at SSKM” was also misleading, senior government officials said on Monday.

After hearing the petitions, Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya directed the Union government, the ultimate authority for giving the nod for additional medical seats, to decide on the issue.

He asked the Union government to give the state government another hearing in case it decided to refuse permission for additional medical seats.

Justice Bhattacharya also directed the MCI to submit an affidavit before October 27 on the reasons for rejecting the requests for additional seats.

State health secretary Asim Barman said he was hopeful that the state government would be able to admit fresh students under the enhanced fee scheme this year itself.

Director of medical education C.R. Maity said: “We are keeping our fingers crossed. This directive of the court gives us the option of another hearing, where we can put forward our case.”

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