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Friday, September 20, 2013

“Enhancement of Annual Intake Capacity in Undergraduate Courses in Medical College for the Academic Session 2013-14 only Regulations 2013”= Writ of Certiorari to quash the Corrigendum Notification No. 37(1)2013/One Time Permission/Med./19355, in so far as it confines the benefits of - the “Enhancement of Annual Intake Capacity in Undergraduate Courses in Medical College for the Academic Session 2013-14 only Regulations 2013” (in short “Regulations 2013”), issued vide notification dated 8.7.2013, to the Government Medical Colleges only, as unconstitutional, being ultra vires of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.= Central Government is also empowered under Section 3(c) of Indian Medical Council Act, as amended in 2010, to issue various directions to the Board of Governor of the the MCI, which reads as follows :- “3C. (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, the Board of Governors or the Council after its reconstitution shall, in exercise of its powers and in the performance of its functions under this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, other - than those relating to technical and administrative matters, as the Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time; Provided that the Board of Governors or the Council after its reconstitution shall, as far as practicable, be given an opportunity to express its views before any direction is given under this subsection. (2) The decision of the Central Government whether a question is a matter of policy or not shall be final.” Board of Governors of the MCI is, therefore, bound by the Corrigendum issued by the Central Government. We notice that the above corrigendum extending the last date was made applicable only to the Government medical colleges recording the reason that the time would be very short so as to process the applications by the MCI received from the non-government medical colleges. We cannot say that the decision taken by the Central Government is perverse, arbitrary or unreasonable, so as to strike down the corrigendum issued under the extra- ordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. - 22. The petitions, therefore, lack in merits and are accordingly dismissed.

  published in   http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40790                                                           
  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 580 OF 2013

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Medical College & Ors.            .. Petitioners

                                   Versus

Union of India & Another                            .. Respondents

                                    WITH
                        SLP (CIVIL) NO. 24693 OF 2013

                               J U D G M E N T

K. S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.

1.    Petitioners have approached  this  Court  invoking  the  extraordinary
jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of  the  Constitution  of  India
seeking a
Writ of Certiorari  to  quash  the  Corrigendum  Notification  No.
37(1)2013/One Time Permission/Med./19355, in  so  far  as  it  confines  the
benefits of -
the “Enhancement of Annual  Intake  Capacity  in  Undergraduate  Courses  in
Medical College for the Academic Session 2013-14 only Regulations 2013”  (in
short “Regulations 2013”), issued vide notification dated 8.7.2013,  to  the
Government Medical Colleges only, as unconstitutional, being ultra vires  of
Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

2.    Petitioners in all these petitions  submit  that  they  are  all  well
established private unaided medical institutions in the country running  for
more than 10 years with an annual intake of  100  MBBS  students,  over  and
above,  they  are  conducting  PG  Degree  and  Diploma  courses  as   well.
Regulations 2013 was issued on 8.7.2013 by  the  Medical  Council  of  India
(for short “MCI”) with the intention of granting one-time permission to  all
Government  and  Non-Government  Medical  Colleges  with  the  objective  of
enhancing the intake capacity of all the medical colleges  in  the  country,
which was framed with the  intention  to  augment  the  human  resources  in
medicine for  attaining  optimum  Doctor-Population  ratio  in  the  nation,
without  compromising  on  the  prescribed  minimum  standards  of   medical
education.

-
3.    Petitioners have satisfied all the eligibility criteria laid  down  in
the above  mentioned  Regulations  2013,  and  after  having  satisfied  the
eligibility criteria laid down, few of them submitted an application to  the
MCI for enhancement of annual intake of students, reference was made to  one
of such  applications  dated  15.7.2013.   While  so,  they  came  across  a
Corrigendum issued by the Board of Governors of the MCI,  on  the  direction
given by the Central Government, stating  that  Regulations  2013  would  be
confined only to Government medical colleges for the academic year  2013-14.


4.    Learned senior counsel appearing for the  writ  petitioners  submitted
that such corrigendum  cannot  override  the  statutory   Regulations  2013.
Learned senior counsel submitted that the object of  the  Regulations  would
be achieved only if the same is made applicable uniformly to the  Government
as  well  as  Non-Government  medical  colleges  in  the  country  and  that
confining the  Regulations  only  to  the  Government  medical  colleges  is
discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of  the  Constitution  of  India.
In support of this contention, reference was made to the judgments  of  this
Court in Suraj Mall Mohta and Co. v. A. V. -
Vishvanath Sastri (1955) 1 SCR 448 and State of West  Bengal  v.  Anwar  Ali
Sarkar 1952 SCR 284.

5.    Shri Amit Kumar, learned counsel appearing for MCI defended the  issue
of corrigendum stating that the same was issued in public interest and  also
in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case since  the  time
limit fixed in the  Schedule  to  2013  Regulations  got  expired.   Learned
counsel also submitted that  corrigendum  was  issued  by  the  MCI  on  the
direction given by the Central Government under Section 3(c) of  the  Indian
Medical Council (Amendment) Act, 2010, which enables the Central  Government
to give proper directions to the MCI and the MCI is bound to give effect  to
those directions.   Learned counsel also explained the  circumstances  which
led the Central Government in issuing the  letter  dated  18.7.2013  to  the
MCI.   Learned counsel also submitted that, due to the extreme necessity  of
completing the admission process, the Board of Governors of  the  MCI  could
not have  received  applications  from  the  private  medical  colleges  for
enhancing the intake capacity during the academic year 2013-14. It is  under
such circumstances, the Central Government had directed  the  MCI  to  apply
the modified time schedule for the receipt of application -
and grant permission  only  to  the  Government  medical  colleges  for  the
academic year 2013-14.  Learned counsel also pointed out that  MCI  and  the
Central Government have to comply with  the  time  schedule  fixed  by  this
Court in various judgments for admission of  students  as  well.   Reference
was made to the judgments of this Court in Mridul Dhar (Minor)  and  Another
v. Union of India and Others (2005) 2 SCC 65 and Priya  Gupta  v.  State  of
Chhattisgarh and Others (2012) 7 SCC 433.

6.    Shri  Sidharth  Luthra,  Additional  Solicitor  General  appearing  on
behalf of the Union of India, made available the original files  leading  to
the issue of the letter dated 18.7.2013 by the  Central  Government  to  the
MCI and explaining the circumstances under which it was decided  to  confine
the Regulations 2013 only to the  Government  medical  colleges,  that  too,
taking into consideration the larger public  interest.    Shri  Luthra  also
submitted that the direction given by the  Central  Government  vide  letter
dated 18.7.2013  is  in  consonance  with  the  Regulations  and  issued  in
exercise of the powers conferred on it under  Section  3(c)  of  the  Indian
Medical Council Act, 1956.

-
7.    We have heard learned senior counsel on either  side  at  length.   We
need not reiterate the imperative need to follow the  time  limit  fixed  by
this Court in the matter of admission to MBBS/BDS  courses  in  Mridul  Dhar
case (supra) which was done in the  interest  of  students’  community,  for
admission to the  Post  Graduate  and  Super  Speciality  courses.    Timely
admission of the students to these courses is of utmost importance  so  that
the students would get quality and timely education.  In  Mridul  Dhar  case
(supra),  this  Court  clearly  indicated  that  the   time   schedule   for
establishment of new college or  to  increase  intake  in  existing  college
shall be adhered to strictly by  all  concerned,  failing  which  defaulting
party would be liable to be personally proceeded with.

8.    In Priya Gupta v. State of Chhattisgarh and Others  (2012) 7 SCC  433,
this Court has reiterated the necessity to follow the time  limit  fixed  by
this Court. This Court went even to the extent of  indicating  that  failure
to conform with the time limit fixed by  this  Court  shall  be  liable  for
action under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act,  1971  read  with
Article 129 of the Constitution of India.

-
9.    In the  light  of  the  above  mentioned  judgments  and  the  various
directions issued by this Court, we  have  to  judge  whether  the  decision
taken  by  the  Central  Government  as  well  as  the  MCI  confining   the
Regulations 2013 only to  the  Government  medical  colleges  is  arbitrary,
illegal or discriminatory  in  the  peculiar  circumstances  of  this  case.
Regulations 2013 was issued by the MCI in exercise of its  powers  conferred
under Section 33(fa) of the  Indian  Medical  Council  Act,  1956  with  the
previous  sanction  of  the  Central  Government.    The   object   of   the
notification was to enhance the intake  capacity  in  the  existing  medical
colleges so as to augment human resources in medicine for attaining  optimum
Doctor-Population ratio in the Nation, without compromising  the  prescribed
minimum standards  of  medical  education.   Regulation  3  deals  with  the
eligibility to make an application, which reads as under:
      “3.  Eligibility  to  make  application.-  (1)  The  application   for
      enhancement of annual intake capacity in the existing Medical Colleges
      may be made by the organizations that  have  established  the  Medical
      College to the Board of  Governors  in  Supersession  of  the  Medical
      Council of India. The format of application for  Government  and  non-
      governmental  owned  Medical  College  is  prescribed  in  Schedule  I
      appended to these Regulations.


      (2) Only such existing Medical Colleges shall  be  eligible  to  apply
      under these Regulations that enjoy minimum -
      ten years of standing from the date of  grant  of  initial  letter  of
      permission by  the  Central  Government  and  the  MBBS  qualification
      awarded by them stands included in the First Schedule  of  the  Indian
      Medical Council Act, 1956 [Act No. 102 of 1956].


      (3) The Medical Colleges with an annual intake of 50 or more but below
      100 MBBS seats shall be eligible to apply for enhancement  for  annual
      intake capacity to 100, as one-time measure.


      (4) The Medical Colleges with an annual intake  of  100  or  more  but
      below 150 MBBS seats shall be eligible to apply  for  enhancement  for
      annual intake capacity to 150, as one-time measure.


      (5) Such Medical  Colleges  that  have  not  been  granted  letter  of
      permission by the Board of Governors in Super-session of  the  Medical
      Council  of  India  in  accordance  with  clause  8(1)(3)(d)  of   the
      Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999  [notified  in  the
      Official Gazette on 16.04.2010] and/or the person who has  established
      the Medical College  has  been  convicted  by  a  Court  of  Competent
      jurisdiction in a criminal  investigation  initiated  by  the  Central
      Bureau of Investigation or Police.”

10.   Regulation 4 deals with the procedure to make application.  The  time-
schedule for  receipt  of  application  for  enhancement  of  annual  intake
capacity in under-graduate courses, is provided in Schedule II  appended  to
the Regulations, which reads as follows:






                                      -
                                “SCHEDULE II
     TIME-SCHEDULE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATION FOR ENHANCEMENT OF ANNUAL
                  INTAKE CAPACITY IN UNDERGRADUATE COURSES


      |S. No. |Stage of Processing                   |Last date      |
|1.     |Receipt of applications by the Board  |15.07.2013     |
|       |of Governors in Super-session of the  |               |
|       |Medical Council of India              |               |
|2.     |Return of Incomplete application      |20.07.2013     |
|3.     |Grant of Letter of Permission by the  |31.07.2013     |
|       |Board of Governors in Supersession of |               |
|       |the Medical Council of India          |               |




11.   Schedule I of Regulations 2013 deals with the  format  of  application
for  Government  and  Non-government  medical   colleges   for   making   an
application for enhancement of annual intake capacity.  Para 4 of  the  Form
(Schedule I) as well as the note  attached  to  the  said  format  also  has
relevance and the same is as follows:
                                 “SCHEDULE I
                                    FORM
                      (Suggested format for Applicants)


      PROPOSED FORMAT OF UNDERTAKING TO BE OBTAINED FROM THE  APPLICANT  FOR
      ENHANCEMENT OF MBBS  SEATS  FROM  ________  (Please  specify  existing
      intake capacity} to ________ (Please specify enhanced intake capacity)


      -
      xxx        xxx         xxx
      xxx        xxx         xxx
      4. The applicant assures that the compliance with the relevant Minimum
      Standard Requirement Regulations is mandatory for continuation of  the
      batch of students and is in the interest of students. In case  of  any
      failure to meet  the  requirements  of  the  Regulations  the  Central
      Government / Board  of  Governors  in  super-session  of  the  Medical
      Council of India would be entitled in  law  to  withdraw/revoke/cancel
      such permission.




                                                           Yours faithfully,
                                                                 [Applicant]
      Note :


Kindly enclose :



           (a) duly attested copy of initial Letter of  Permission  and  of
           subsequent renewals granted by the Central Government u/s 10A of
           the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956; and


           (b) duly attested copy of the Gazette notification/Order of  the
           Central Government including the MBBS qualification  awarded  by
           the applicant’s Medical College in the  First  Schedule  of  the
           Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.


The Undertaking in case of Government of State/Union Territory should be
signed by the Chief Secretary.



 The Undertaking in case of non-Governmental application should be on non-
judicial stamp paper of Rs. 100 and should be made by President / Chairman
/Vice Chancellor/ Managing Trustee of the Society/Trust and Managing
Director of the Company. The Undertaking should inter alia state that:



           -
           (a) the College has not been subject to clause 8 (3) (1) (d)  of
           the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999; and


           (b) the person establishing the Medical  College  has  not  been
           convicted by a Court of competent  jurisdiction  in  a  criminal
           investigation initiated by the Central Bureau  of  Investigation
           or Police. The Undertaking should be duly attested  by  a  First
           Class Magistrate.”


12.   MCI, in their counter  affidavit,  stated  that  the  above  mentioned
notification dated 8.7.2013 was received  by  the  Council  Office  only  on
16.7.2013.  By that time, the last date fixed for receipt of application  by
the Board of Governors  was  over,  which  was  on  15.7.2013.   Under  such
circumstances, the MCI wrote a letter dated 17.7.2013 to the  Government  of
India, stating as follows:
      “        xxx           xxx        xxx


            In light of Gazette notification received on 16.07.2013 the time
      of receipt of application  has  already  lapsed.   Therefore,  as  per
      provisions  as  under  [in  the  Establishment  of   Medical   College
      Regulations, 1999]:


            “The time schedule  indicated  above  may  be  modified  by  the
      Central Government, for reasons to be recorded in writing, in  respect
      of any class or category of applications.


            Keeping in light the above  statutory  provisions,  whereby  the
      Central Government is empowered to modify the  time  schedule,  it  is
      proposed in order to -
      achieve the objective of enhancing the  intake  capacity  in  existing
      Medical Colleges, so as to augment the human resources in medicine for
      attaining optimum Doctor-population ratio in  the  nation,  the  above
      schedule may be modified to the following:




      |S. No. |Stage of Processing      |Last Date    |Modified Dates|
|1.     |Receipt of applications  |15.07.2013   |24.07.2013    |
|       |by the Board of Governors|             |              |
|       |in Super-session of the  |             |              |
|       |Medical Council of India |             |              |
|2.     |Return of Incomplete     |20.07.2013   |31.07.2013    |
|       |application              |             |              |
|3.     |Grant of Letter of       |31.07.2013   |31.07.2013    |
|       |Permission by the Board  |             |              |
|       |of Governors in          |             |              |
|       |Supersession of the      |             |              |
|       |Medical Council of India |             |              |


            It is requested that permission of Central Government to  modify
      the Schedule as proposed above be granted, so as to enable the Council
      to further expedite the process.  This modification, with the approval
      of Central Government can be carried out by public notice and need not
      be notified in the Official Gazette.


            It is also brought to your kind  attention  that  as  the  time-
      schedule for grant of letter of permission for  establishment  of  new
      Medical Colleges and renewal of permission for increase  of  seats  in
      existing Medical Colleges was extended to 15 July 2013, by the Hon’ble
      Supreme Court for he academic year 2013-14 pursuant to an  application
      moved by the Council in Priya Gupta’s case, an appropriate application
      is also required to be filed by the Council seeking permission -
      of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.  Necessary steps are being taken by  the
      Council in this regard.


            Kindly grant permission at the earliest which  will  enable  the
      Council to do the needful at the earliest.”

13.   The MCI, therefore, requested the Government of India  to  modify  the
time schedule and  extend  the  last  date  of  receipt  of  application  to
24.7.2013, since they could not receive  the  applications  by  the  various
medical colleges prior to 15.7.2013, as  the  very  Regulations  2013  dated
8.7.2013 was received by the MCI only on 16.7.2013.

14.   The Central Government considered the request and pointed out that  it
would not be possible for the Board of Governors of MCI to process  all  the
applications preferred by the Non-government  medical  colleges  within  the
time fixed, therefore, it decided to issued  a  corrigendum  which  modified
that the date of 24.7.2013 would apply only to Government medical colleges.

15.   We find no serious error in the view taken by the  Central  Government
confining Regulations 2013 to Government medical colleges alone in  view  of
strict time limit fixed in the Schedule for  receipt  of  applications  i.e.
15.7.2013 and the preremptory directions given by this Court   in  judgments
referred to above.  -
We may make it clear that the  time  limit  fixed  for  starting  a  medical
college as well as for additional intake are of extreme importance, or  else
it may collide with the time limit fixed for starting the academic  session.
 If the time limit fixed in  the  notification  dated  8.7.2013  was  to  be
adhered to strictly, the majority of  the  Non-government  medical  colleges
could not have applied, since the Regulations 2013 was received by  the  MCI
only on 16.7.2013 beyond the last date fixed for the receipt of  application
by the Board of Governors of MCI.

16.   We indicate that the  main  argument  raised  by  the  learned  senior
counsel appearing for the Petitioners was that 2013 Regulations should  have
been made applicable equally to the Government Medical Colleges as  well  as
non-Government Medical Colleges  and  there  cannot  be  any  discrimination
between them, otherwise the object sought to be achieved by the  Regulations
would have been defeated.  In our view, in a  given  case  power  is  vested
with the Central Government to modify the time schedule, in  respect  of  at
least one class or category of applicants.  We may in this connection  refer
to Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999, which was  issued  in
exercise of powers conferred under Section 10A read with Section  3  of  the
Indian -
Medial Council Act, which has recognised five  categories  of  organisations
which are eligible to apply for  starting  a  Medical  College  as  well  as
eligible  to  apply  for  further  intake  of  seats.   Following  are   the
categories :-
   1. A State Government/Union Territory;
   2. A University;
   3. An autonomous body promoted by Central  and  State  Government  by  or
      under a Statute for the purpose of medical education;


   4. A society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of
      1860) or corresponding Acts in States; or


   5. A public religious or charitable trust registered under the Trust Act,
      1882 (2 of 1882) or the Wakfs Act, 1954 (29 of 1954).



 17.   State Government/Union Territory can also set up  a  Medical  College and take additional intake  of  seats,  apart  from  the  other  categories mentioned above.  
In a given case, the Central Government, for  reasons  to
 be recorded in writing, can modify the time  schedule  in  respect  of  any class or category of applicants mentioned hereinbefore.  Such a  power  has been conferred on Central Government by virtue of Establishment of  Medical College Regulations (Amendment), 2012.


 -
 18.  The Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999, as amended  by
 Establishment of Medical College Regulations  (Amendment),  2012,  provides
 for time schedule for grant of letter of permission by the Medical  Council
 of India for establishment of a Medical College  as  well  as  increase  in
 admission capacity  in  MBBS  course.   
Schedule  to  the  above  mentioned
 Regulations reads as follows :-
                                  SCHEDULE
SCHEDULE FOR RECEIPT  OF  APPLICATIONS  FOR  ESTABLISHMENT  OF  NEW  MEDICAL
COLLEGES AND PROCESSING OF  THE  APPLICATIONS  BY  THE  MEDICAL  COUNCIL  OF
INDIA.

|S.No. |Stage of processing                    |  |Last Date           |
|1.    |Receipt of applications by the Council |  |From 1st August to  |
|      |                                       |  |30th September (both|
|      |                                       |  |days inclusive) of  |
|      |                                       |  |the year.           |
|2.    |Issue of Letter of Intent by the       |  |Upto 30th April     |
|      |Council                                |  |                    |
|3.    |Receipt of reply from the applicant by |  |Upto 31st May       |
|      |the Council for consideration for issue|  |                    |
|      |of Letter of Permission                |  |                    |
|4.    |Issue of Letter of Permission by the   |  |15th June           |
|      |Council                                |  |                    |

Note :  The time schedule indicated above may be  modified  by  the  Central
        Government, for reasons to be recorded in writing, in respect of any
        class or category of applications.


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19.   The note specifically  indicates  that the  time  schedule  could  be
modified by Central Government for reasons to  be  recorded  in  writing  in
respect of any category, class of applicants which, in our view, could  also
be invoked in the case of increase of annual intake as  well.
 Resultantly,
the Central Government has the power to modify the date  from  15.7.2013  to
24.7.2013 in respect of any class or category of applications.  
So  far  as
the present case is concerned, it is in exercise of  that  statutory  power,
the Corrigendum has been issued by  the  Central  Government  modifying  the
time schedule to the Government  Medical  College  alone  out  of  the  five
categories mentioned hereinbefore.
We are not  prepared  to  say  favouring
the Government Medical College alone in such circumstances is  violative  of
Article 14 of the Constitution.

20.   Central Government is also 
empowered  under  Section  3(c)  of  Indian
Medical Council Act, as amended in 2010, to issue various directions to  the
Board of Governor of the the MCI, which reads as follows :-
      “3C.  (1)   Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, the Board
      of Governors  or  the  Council  after  its  reconstitution  shall,  in
      exercise of its powers and in the performance of its  functions  under
      this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, other -
      than those relating to technical and administrative  matters,  as  the
      Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time;


            Provided that the Board of Governors or the  Council  after  its
      reconstitution shall, as far as practicable, be given  an  opportunity
      to express  its  views  before  any  direction  is  given  under  this
      subsection.


            (2) The decision of the Central Government whether a question is
      a matter of policy or not shall be final.”


      Board of Governors of the MCI is, therefore, bound by the  Corrigendum
issued by the Central Government.

21.   We notice that 
the above corrigendum extending the last date was  made
applicable only to the Government  medical  colleges  recording  the  reason
that the time would be very short so as to process the applications  by  the
MCI received from the non-government medical colleges.  
We cannot  say  that
the decision taken by the  Central  Government  is  perverse,  arbitrary  or
unreasonable, so as to strike down the corrigendum issued under  the  extra-
ordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution  of
India.


-
22.    The  petitions,  therefore,  lack  in  merits  and  are   accordingly
dismissed.

                                           ………………………….…J.
                                            (K. S. Radhakrishnan)






                                           …………………………….J.
                                             A. K. Sikri)
New Delhi,
September 18, 2013






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