Community service order for faulty MBBS admissions
The Supreme Court has directed 132 medical students in Uttar Pradesh to carry out community services for two years for securing admission in violation of rules.
The court said the order would not be treated as a precedent. The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat said it was passing the order in the peculiar circumstances of the case as cancelling the admissions of the students, who had already completed their second year of the five-year MBBS course, would not serve any useful purpose.
The college where the 132 students study had admitted them on September 5, 2017, without the mandatory approval of the directorate of medical education, which sends the list of eligible candidates for admission on the basis of NEET rankings.
The court fined Saraswati Medical College, run by the Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust, Rs 5 crore. The amount is to be used by the National Medical Commission to extend financial assistance to needy students seeking admission to medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh by creating a separate trust.
“The admission of 132 students in the college for the academic year 2017-2018 being completely contrary to the regulations, the writ petitions are liable to be dismissed. However, taking note of the fact that the students have completed the second-year MBBS course, cancelling their admissions at this stage would not serve any useful purpose,” the Supreme Court said in the order.
“The students who joined the college knowing fully well that their admissions are contrary to the regulations are directed to do community service for a period of two years after completing their MBBS course,” the court added.
“The National Medical Commission shall decide the details and work out the modalities of the community service to be rendered by the 132 students.”
The court passed the directions while dismissing the appeals filed by the college and some students challenging the notice issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) on
September 29, 2017, directing the institution to discharge 132 of the 150 students admitted to the MBBS course for the 2017-2018 academic year.
“Being aware of the fact that admissions cannot be made from students not allotted by the third respondent (directorate of medical education), the college admitted 132 students on its own. Thereafter, the college permitted the students to continue their studies in spite of the direction by the Medical Council of India to discharge the students not being stayed,” the court pointed out.
“Intentional violation of the regulations by the petitioner-college while granting admission to 132 students in the first-year MBBS course for the academic year 2017-2018 cannot be condoned. The petitioner-college is directed to deposit an amount of Rs 5 crore in the registry of this court within a period of eight weeks from today. The petitioners are directed not to recover the amount from the students in any manner whatsoever,” the bench added.
The court agreed with the MCI that under Regulation 5A of the Medical Council Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, all admissions to the MBBS course shall be on the basis of the merit list of the NEET.
The top court rejected the argument of the college and the students that the admissions had to be expedited since the directorate of medical education had delayed the dispatch of the list, saying the records available did not bear out such a claim.
It also rejected the plea that the students could not be penalised for the admissions as they were innocent.
“The students who have secured admission cannot be said to be innocent as they knew fully well that their names were not recommended by the director-general of medical education. We also do not agree that the students and their parents were not aware that their admissions in the college are contrary to the regulations,” the court said.