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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Medical colleges= We therefore hold that the directions in Priya Gupta must now be understood in the light of such statutory empowerment and we declare that it is open to the Central Government, in terms of the Note, to extend or modify the time limits in the Schedule to the Regulations. However the dead line namely 30th of September for making admissions to the first MBBS course as laid down by this Court in Madhu Singh and Mridul Dhar must always be observed. 30. Since the deadline for making admissions was over and there was no formal permission to establish new Medical Colleges or to increase the intake capacity in respect of existing Colleges, applicants in Categories I and II were not considered fit for grant of any interim relief. For the same reasons no relief can be granted to them. Consequently,

                                                                   REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                       Writ Petition (C) No. 705/2014


Royal Medical Trust (Regd) and Another.      ……Petitioners.

                                   Versus

Union of India and Another.                  …. Respondents

                                    WITH

W.P.(C) No.700 of 2014, W.P.(C) No.707 of  2014,  W.P.(C)  No.784  of  2014,
W.P.(C) No.862 of 2014, W.P.(C) No.523 of  2014,  W.P.(C)  No.799  of  2014,
W.P.(C) No.819 of 2014,

                                     AND

C.A. No.  6481   of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.21765 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6482         of 2015@ SLP (C) No.22755 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6483         of 2015@ SLP (C) No.22756 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6484         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No. 22757 of 2014
C.A. No.  6485         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.22974 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6486         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.23512 of 2014,
C.A. Nos. 6488-6489 of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.23528-29 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6492         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.23476 of 2014,
C.A. Nos. 6493-6494 of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.24150-51 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6509         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.24154 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6495         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.24665 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6496         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.24913 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6497         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.25763 of 2014,
C.A. No.  6498         of 2015 @ SLP(C) No.21517 of 2014,
C.A. Nos. 6499-6500 of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.26296-97 of 2014,
C.A. Nos.  6503-6504   of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.26768-69 of 2014,
C.A. Nos.  6505-6506         of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.24754-55 of 2014,
C.A. Nos.   6507-6508        of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.25468-69 of 2014,
C.A. Nos.  6501-6502         of 2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.26758-59 of 2014,
SLP(C) No.22785 of 2014,   SLP(C) No.27034 of 2014
AND  Transfer Petition (C) No.1217 of 2014



                               J U D G M E N T


Uday Umesh Lalit J.


1.    These petitions (except SLP(C) Nos.22785 of 2014 and  27034  of  2014)
arise out of communications issued by the  Central  Government  recommending
disapproval of applications preferred in respect of Medical Colleges of  the
applicants for the  academic  year  2014-2015.  In  these  petitions,  after
conducting  inspection  of  the  respective  Medical  Colleges  the  Medical
Council of India (MCI for short) had found infirmities  or  inadequacies  in
the infrastructure, facilities and faculty. The respective  applicants  then
claimed that they had rectified the shortcomings and  asked  for  compliance
verification.  But  the  Central  Government  and/or  the  MCI  refused   to
undertake any fresh inspection for verification, for want of adequate  time.
This being the common feature  in  all  these  petitions,  they  were  heard
together and are being disposed by this common judgment.

2.    Broadly the categories of Medical Colleges presently before the  Court
are:-

(I)  Cases where new Medical Colleges are sought to be established  for  the
first time and where such colleges are  seeking  appropriate  permission  to
admit students to the first year of  MBBS course namely:-

(1)  WP(C)  No.700/2014,              (2)  WP(C)  No.705/2014    (3)   WP(C)
No.819/2014     (4) SLP(C) No.22757/2014   (5)  SLP(C)  No.22756/2014    (6)
SLP(C) No. 24913/2014  (7) SLP (C) No. 23512/2014.  The Respondent  in  this
petition has also preferred Transfer Petition (C) No.1217 of  2014  to  have
his writ petition pending in the High Court of Bombay to be  transferred  to
this Court.



(II)  Cases  where  the  existing  approved  Medical  Colleges  are  seeking
increase in intake of seats for admissions of students to the first year  of
MBBS Course namely:

(1) WP(C) No.523/2014       (2) WP(C) No.707/2014

(3) WP(C) No.862/2014.



(III) Medical Colleges seeking renewal  of  permission,   who  have  already
received permission in the previous year(s)  either  for  establishing   new
Medical College or for increasing intake capacity of  the  existing  Medical
College.  In this category of cases, the renewal for subsequent batches  and
for permission to admit students to the first year course is sought namely:



  WP(C) No.784/2014        (2) WP(C) No.799/2014

(3)   SLP(C) No.21517/2014   (4) SLP(C) No.21765/2014

(5)   SLP(C) No.22755/2014   (6) SLP(C) No.26758-59/2014

(7)   SLP(C) No.23476/2014   (8) SLP(C) No.23528-29/2014

(9)   SLP(C) No.24154/2014   (10) SLP(C) Nos.24150-51/2014

(11) SLP(C) No.24665/2014   (12) SLP(C) No.24754-55/2014

(13) SLP(C)No.25763/2014    (14)  SLP(C) No. 25468-69/2014

(15) SLP(C)No.22974 /2014   (16) SLP(C) Nos.26296-97 /2014

and (17)  SLP(C) Nos.26768-69/2014.



3.    Reduction in seats in a Dental College is challenged in Special  Leave
Petition (C) No.22785 of 2014.   This being a  completely  distinct  matter,
is de-tagged and it be listed before an appropriate Bench.   Further  SLP(C)
No.27034 of 2014 is filed in public interest by an individual claiming  that
as on 23.09.2014 about 76 seats were lying vacant in different  colleges  in
Jharkhand.  No separate orders are called for in this  petition  and  it  be
taken to be disposed of in the light of our discussion hereinafter.



STATUTORY PROVISIONS


4.    The statutory provisions concerning permission  for  establishment  of
new Medical College and for increase in intake are to be  found  in  Section
10A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as  the
Act) and the Regulations framed under the  Act.   Said  Section  10A  is  as
under:-


“10A. PERMISSION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW MEDICAL COLLEGE, NEW COURSE OF
STUDY ETC.

1.  Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the
time being in force:-
(a)  no person shall establish a medical college
(b)  no medical college shall:-
(i) open  a  new  or  higher  course  of  study  or  training  (including  a
postgraduate course of study or training) which would enable  a  student  of
such course or training to qualify himself for the award of  any  recognised
medical qualification; or

(ii) increase its admission capacity in any  course  of  study  or  training
(including a postgraduate course of study or training),
except with the previous permission of the Central  Government  obtained  in
accordance with the provisions of this section.

Explanation 1 - For the purposes of this section, "person" includes any
University or a trust but does not include the Central Government.

Explanation 2 - For the purposes of this  section  "admission  capacity"  in
relation to any course of study or training (including  postgraduate  course
of study or training) in a medical college,  means  the  maximum  number  of
students that may be fixed by the  Council  from  time  to  time  for  being
admitted to such course or training.

2.    (a)  Every person  or  medical  college  shall,  for  the  purpose  of
obtaining  permission  under  sub-section  (1),  submit   to   the   Central
Government a Scheme in accordance with the provisions of clause (b) and  the
Central  Government  shall  refer  the  Scheme  to  the  Council   for   its
recommendations.

(b). The Scheme referred to in clause (a) shall be in such form and  contain
such particulars and be preferred in such manner  and  be  accompanied  with
such fee as may be prescribed.


3.     On receipt of a Scheme by  the  Council  under  sub-section  (2)  the
Council may obtain such other particulars as may be considered necessary  by
it from the person or the medical college concerned, and thereafter, it  may
-


(a)  if  the  Scheme  is  defective  and  does  not  contain  any  necessary
particulars,  give  a  reasonable  opportunity  to  the  person  or  college
concerned for making a written representation and it shall be open  to  such
person or medical college to rectify the defects, if any, specified  by  the
Council.


(b) consider the Scheme, having regard to the factors referred  to  in  sub-
section (7) and submit the Scheme together with its recommendations  thereon
to the Central Government.


4.      The  Central  Govt.  may  after  considering  the  Scheme  and   the
recommendations of the Council under sub-section (3)  and  after  obtaining,
where necessary, such other particulars as may be  considered  necessary  by
it from the person or college concerned, and having regard  to  the  factors
referred to in sub-section (7), either approve  (with  such  conditions,  if
any, as it may consider necessary) or disapprove the Scheme,  and  any  such
approval shall be a permission under sub-section (1):


Provided that no Scheme shall  be  disapproved  by  the  Central  Government
except  after  giving  the  person  or  college   concerned   a   reasonable
opportunity of being heard;


      Provided further that nothing in this sub section  shall  prevent  any
person or medical college whose Scheme has not been approved by the  Central
Government to submit a fresh Scheme  and  the  provisions  of  this  section
shall apply to such Scheme, as if such Scheme has  been  submitted  for  the
first time under sub-section (1).


5.    Where, within a period of one year from the date of submission of  the
Scheme to the Central Government under sub-section (1), no order  passed  by
the Central Government has  been  communicated  to  the  person  or  college
submitting the Scheme, such Scheme shall be deemed to have been approved  by
the Central Government in the form in  which  it  had  been  submitted,  and
accordingly, the permission of the Central Government  required  under  sub-
section (1) shall also be deemed to have been granted.


6.     In computing the time-limit specified in sub-section  (5),  the  time
taken  by  the  person  or  college  concerned  submitting  the  Scheme,  in
furnishing any particulars called for by the  Council,  or  by  the  Central
Government, shall be excluded.


7.    The Council, while making its recommendations under clause (b) of sub-
section (3) and the Central  Government,  while  passing  an  order,  either
approving or disapproving the Scheme under sub-section (4), shall  have  due
regard to the following factors, namely:-


(a) whether the proposed medical college or  the  existing  medical  college
seeking to open a new or higher course of study or training, would be  in  a
position to offer the minimum standards of medical education  as  prescribed
by the Council under section 19A or, as the case may be under section 20  in
the case of postgraduate medical education.


(b) whether the person  seeking  to  establish  a  medical  college  or  the
existing medical college seeking to open a new or higher course of study  or
training or  to  increase  it  admission  capacity  has  adequate  financial
resources;


(c)   whether  necessary  facilities  in  respect   of   staff,   equipment,
accommodation, training and other facilities to  ensure  proper  functioning
of the medical college or conducting the new course or study or training  or
accommodating the increased admission capacity, have been provided or  would
be provided within the time-limit specified in the Scheme.


(d) whether adequate hospital facilities, having regard  to  the  number  or
students likely to attend  such  medical  college  or  course  of  study  or
training or as a result of  the  increased  admission  capacity,  have  been
provided or would  be  provided  within  the  time-limit  specified  in  the
Scheme;


(e) whether any arrangement has been  made  or  programme  drawn  to  impart
proper training to students likely to attend such medical college or  course
of  study  or  training   by   persons   having   the   recognised   medical
qualifications;


(f) the requirement of manpower in the field of practice of medicine;


(g) and any other factors as may be prescribed.


8.    Where the Central Government  passes  an  order  either  approving  or
disapproving a Scheme under this section, a  copy  of  the  order  shall  be
communicated to the person or college concerned.”




5.    Section 10A  contemplates  submission  of  a  Scheme  to  the  Central
Government in prescribed form, which Scheme is then to be  referred  by  the
Central Government to the  MCI  for  its  appropriate  recommendations.  The
Scheme is to be considered having regard to the features referred to in Sub-
Section 7 and is then placed before the Central Government  along  with  the
recommendations of the MCI. In exercise of powers conferred by  Section  10A
read with Section 33 of the Act, the MCI with the previous sanction  of  the
Central  Government  has  made  “Establishment  of   the   Medical   College
Regulations, 1999”  (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations) which  were
published in  the  Gazette  of  India  on  28.8.1999.  Paragraph  3  of  the
Regulations lays down that no  person  shall  establish  a  medical  college
except after  obtaining  prior  permission  of  the  Central  Government  by
submitting a Scheme. The Regulations then deal with the Scheme  in  extenso.
Clauses 1  and  2  of  the  Scheme  deal  with  ‘Eligibility  Criteria’  and
‘Qualifying  Criteria’  respectively.  Clause  3  then  sets   out   certain
requirement in Parts (i), (ii) and (iii) concerning  various  details  about
the status of the applicant in terms of the eligibility criteria,  name  and
address  of  the  Medical  College   including   various   facets   of   the
infrastructure and  planning  and  the  details  of  the  existing  hospital
including  availability  of  various  facilities  and  capacities  as   also
upgradation and expansion programme.



6.    Paragraph 7 of the Regulations deals with  report  of  the  MCI  while
Para 8 deals with grant of permission by the Central Government.  Paragraphs
7 and 8 of the Regulations are as under:-


“7.  REPORT OF THE MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA:


(a)   After  examining  the  application  and  after  conducting   necessary
physical    inspections, the Medical Council   shall  send  to  the  Central
Government a factual report stating –


1.    that the applicant fulfils the eligibility and qualifying criteria.

that the person has a feasible and  time  bound  programme  to  set  up  the
proposed  medical  college  alongwith  required  infrastructural  facilities
including adequate hostels facilities separate for boys and  girls,  and  as
prescribed  by  the  Council,  commensurate  with  the  proposed  intake  of
students, so as to complete the medical college  within  a  period  of  four
years from the date of grant of permission;

3.   that the person has a feasible and time bound  expansion  programme  to
provide additional beds and infrastructural  facilities,  as  prescribed  by
the Medical Council  of  India,  by  way  of  upgradation  of  the  existing
hospital or by way of establishment of new  hospital  or  both  and  further
that the existing hospital as adequate clinical material  for  starting  1st
year course.

4.  that the person has the necessary managerial and financial  capabilities
to establish and maintain the proposed medical  college  and  its  ancillary
facilities including a teaching hospital.


5.  that the  applicant  has  a  feasible  and   time  bound  programme  for
recruitment of faculty and staff as per prescribed norms of the Council  and
that the necessary posts stand created.


6.   that the applicant has appointed staff for the 1st year  as  per    MCI
norms.


7.  that the applicant has not admitted any students.


8. Deficiencies, if any, in the infrastructure or faculty shall  be  pointed
out indicating whether these are remediable or not.


(b)   The recommendation of the Council whether Letter of Intent  should  be
issued and if so, the number of seats  per  academic  year  should  also  be
recommended. The Council shall recommend a  time  bound  programme  for  the
establishment  of  the  medical  college  and  expansion  of  the   hospital
facilities. This recommendation will also include a clear cut  statement  of
preliminary requirements to be met in respect of buildings,  infrastructural
facilities,  medical  and  allied  equipments,  faculty  and  staff   before
admitting the first batch of students. The recommendation will  also  define
annual targets to be achieved by the person to commensurate with the  intake
of students during the following years.


(c) Where the Council recommends for not issuing of  Letter  of  Intent,  it
shall furnish to the Central Government:
(i) its reasons for not granting  the  Central  Government  permission;  and
(ii) documents/facts on the  basis  of  which  the  Council  recommends  the
disapproval of the Scheme.


(d)  The recommendation of the Council shall be in Form-4.


RECONSIDERATION


Wherever the Council in its report has not recommended the issue  of  Letter
of Intent to the person, it may  upon  being  so  required  by  the  Central
Government  reconsider  the  application  and  take  into  account  new   or
additional information as may be forwarded by the Central  Government.   The
Council  shall,  thereafter,  submit  its  report  in  the  same  manner  as
prescribed for the initial report.


8.  GRANT OF PERMISSION:

(1) The Central Government on the recommendation of the Council may issue  a
Letter of Intent to set up a new medical college  with  such  conditions  or
modifications in the original proposal  as  may  be  considered  necessary.
This  letter  of  Intent  will  also  include  a  clear  cut  statement   of
preliminary requirements to be met in respect of buildings,  infrastructural
facilities,  medical  and  allied  equipments,  faculty  and  staff   before
admitting the  first  batch  of  students.   The  formal permission  may  be
granted after the above conditions and modifications are  accepted  and  the
performance bank guarantees for the  required  sums  are  furnished  by  the
person and after consulting the Medical Council of India.

(2) The formal permission  may  include  a  time  bound  programme  for  the
establishment  of  the  medical  college  and  expansion  of  the   hospital
facilities. The permission may also define annual targets as  may  be  fixed
by the Council to be achieved by the person to commensurate with the  intake
of students during the following years.

(3) The permission to establish a medical college and admit students may  be
granted initially for a period of one year and  may  be  renewed  on  yearly
basis subject to verification of the  achievements  of  annual  targets.  It
shall be the responsibility of the person to apply to  the  Medical  Council
of India for purpose of renewal six  months  prior  to  the  expiry  of  the
initial permission. This process of  renewal  of  permission  will  continue
till such time the establishment of the medical  college  and  expansion  of
the hospital facilities are  completed  and  a  formal  recognition  of  the
medical college is granted. Further admissions shall  not  be  made  at  any
stage unless the requirements of the  Council  are  fulfilled.  The  Central
Government may at any stage convey the deficiencies  to  the  applicant  and
provide him an opportunity and time to rectify the deficiencies.

(4) The council may obtain any other information from the  proposed  medical
college as it deems fit and necessary.”


7.    Paragraph 8 of the Regulations states  that  permission  to  establish
new Medical College may be granted initially for a period of  one  year  and
would  be  renewed  on  yearly  basis  subject  to   verification   of   the
achievements of  annual  targets.  The  process  of  renewal  of  permission
continues till such time that the establishment of the Medical  College  and
expansion of hospital facilities are completed  and  formal  recognition  is
granted to the  Medical  College.  A  Medical  College  which  gets  initial
permission to establish and admit first  batch  of  students  will  thus  be
required to seek renewal till such time that it gets formal recognition  and
the students admitted in the first batch are ready to pass  out  and  secure
recognized medical qualification.  This  process  thus  continues  for  five
years and Category No. III as stated herein above are cases of such  Medical
Colleges.



8.    The Schedule to the Regulations sets out various stages  dealing  with
processing of applications preferred by the Medical  Colleges  and  how  the
matter is to be dealt with at various stages. This  schedule  has  undergone
changes over a period of time. The schedule as it existed originally was  as
under:-

“SCHEDULE FOR RECEIPT OF  APPLICATIONS  FOR  ESTABLISHMENT  OF  NEW  MEDICAL
COLLEGES AND PROCESSING OF THE APPLICATIONS BY THE  CENTRAL  GOVERNMENT  AND
THE MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA




|Sl.|Stage of processing          |Last Date      |
|No |                             |               |
|1. |Receipt of applications by   |From 1st August|
|   |the Central Government       |to 31st August |
|   |                             |(both days     |
|   |                             |inclusive) of  |
|   |                             |any year       |
|2. |Receipt of applications by   |30th September |
|   |MCI from the Central         |               |
|   |Government                   |               |
|3. |Recommendations of the       |31st December  |
|   |Medical Council of India to  |               |
|   |the Central Government for   |               |
|   |issue of letter of intent    |               |
|4. |Issue of letter of intent by |31st  January  |
|   |the Central Government       |               |
|5. |Receipt of reply from the    |28th February  |
|   |applicant by the Central     |               |
|   |Government requesting for    |               |
|   |letter of permission         |               |
|6. |Receipt of letter from the   |15th March     |
|   |Central Government by the    |               |
|   |Medical Council of India for |               |
|   |consideration for issue of   |               |
|   |letter of permission         |               |
|7. |Recommendations of the       |15th June      |
|   |Medical Council of India to  |               |
|   |the Central Government for   |               |
|   |issue of letter of permission|               |
|8. |Issue of letter of permission|15th July      |
|   |by the Central Government    |               |

Note.—(1)  The  information  given  by  the  applicant  in  Part  I  of  the
application for setting up a medical college that is  information  regarding
organisation, basic infrastructural  facilities,  managerial  and  financial
capabilities of the applicant shall be scrutinised by  the  Medical  Council
of India through an inspection and  thereafter  the  Council  may  recommend
issue of letter of intent by the Central Government.

(2) Renewal of permission shall not be granted to a medical college  if  the
above schedule  for  opening  a  medical  college  is  not  adhered  to  and
admissions  shall  not  be  made  without  prior  approval  of  the  Central
Government.”


9.          After the amendment vide Notification  published  on  28.08.2009
the  Schedule  underwent  some  modifications  namely,  as  against   serial
numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 the dates as modified were; 15th December,  15th
January, 15th February, 1st March, 15th  May  and  15th  June  respectively.
Notes 1 and 2 were not modified at all  and  continued  to  remain  as  they
were.

10.   The Regulations were further amended by Amendment  Notification  dated
21.09.2012 which was published in the Gazette of  India  on  1.10.2012.   It
substituted the Schedule and added a  Note.  The  relevant  portion  of  the
Notification is as under:-
“1. (i) These Regulations  may  be  called  the  “Establishment  of  Medical
College Regulations, (Amendment), 2012:

(ii) They shall come into force from the date of their  publication  in  the
Official Gazette” …………………………

6.   In  the  “ESTABLISHMENT  OF  MEDICAL  COLLEGE  REGULATIONS,  1999”,  in
“SCHEDULE FOR RECEIPT  OF  APPLICATION  FOR  ESTABLISHMENT  OF  NEW  MEDICAL
COLLEGES AND PROCESSING OF THE APPLICATIONS BY THE  CENTRAL  GOVERNMENT  AND
THE MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA”, the following shall be substituted as under:-


SCHEDULE FOR RECEIPT  OF  APPLICATIONS  FOR  ESTABLISHMENT  OF  NEW  MEDICAL
COLLEGES AND PROCESSING OF  THE  APPLICATIONS  BY  THE  MEDICAL  COUNCIL  OF
INDIA.

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

Note.—(1)  The  information  given  by  the  applicant  in  Part  I  of  the
application for setting up a medical college that is  information  regarding
organisation, basic infrastructural  facilities,  managerial  and  financial
capabilities of the applicant shall be scrutinised by  the  Medical  Council
of India through an inspection and  thereafter  the  Council  may  recommend
issue of letter of intent by the Central Government.

(2) Renewal of permission shall not be granted to a medical college  if  the
above schedule  for  opening  a  medical  college  is  not  adhered  to  and
admissions  shall  not  be  made  without  prior  approval  of  the  Central
Government.”


EARLIER DECISIONS OF THIS COURT


11.    The  schedule  to  the  Regulations,  the  stages  mentioned  therein
regarding processing of applications and the requirement to  adhere  to  the
dates specified therein, were considered by this Court in  some  cases.   In
Mridul Dhar v. Union of India[1] this Court  was  primarily  concerned  with
matters giving full effect to 15% All India Quota  seats  available  in  all
medical colleges run by the Union  of  India  or  the  State  Government  or
Municipal or other local  authorities  by  strictly  adhering  to  the  time
schedule.  While so considering, this Court in para 28 quoted  the  Schedule
as it existed then, namely, the one referred to in paragraph 8  hereinabove.
 In paragraph 35 this Court issued certain directions and  direction  Nos.14
and 15 were to the following effect:
“14. Time schedule for establishment of new college or  to  increase  intake
in existing college, shall be adhered to strictly by all concerned.

15. Time schedule provided in the Regulations shall be strictly  adhered  to
by all concerned failing which the defaulting party would be  liable  to  be
personally proceeded with.”


12.   In Priyadarshini Dental College and Hospital v.  Union  of  India  and
others[2]  this Court was  called  upon  to  consider  the  implications  of
similar such Schedule annexed  to  the  Regulations  of  Dental  Council  of
India.  The statutory provisions and  the  Regulations  under  the  Dentists
Act, 1948 are pari materia with those in the present case.  Note No.2  below
the Schedule to the Regulations of  Dental  Council  of  India  enables  the
Central Government, for reasons to be recorded in  writing,  to  modify  the
Schedule in respect of any class  or  category  of  applications.   In  this
backdrop paragraph Nos.19 and  20  of  the  decision  in  Priyadarshini  are
reproduced hereunder:
“19.    Regulation  11(2)  clearly  lays  down  a  time  schedule  for   the
submission of applications for renewal of permission (six  months  prior  to
the expiry of the current  academic  session),  for  recommendation  by  DCI
(15th June) and  for  issue  of  final  orders  by  the  Central  Government
regarding renewal of permission (15th July).  Though,  the  DCI  Regulations
provide that the last date for issue of letter of permission or  renewal  of
permission by the Central Government is 15th  July,  having  regard  to  the
scheme relating to grant  of  renewal  of  permission  and  Note  2  to  the
Schedule, the Central Government has  the  discretion  to  modify  the  time
schedule in appropriate cases, for reasons to be  recorded,  in  respect  of
any class or category of applications.

20.   If the Central Government was  of  the  view  that  a  dental  college
deserved  renewal  of  permission  in  accordance  with  the  Act  and   the
Regulations, it should grant such permission. If it was  of  the  view  that
the dental college did not deserve renewal of permission, it  should  refuse
the permission. If the Central  Government  felt  that  the  last  date  for
granting renewal of permission was over and there was no  justification  for
extending the time schedule, it could refuse the renewal  of  permission  on
that ground. On the other hand, if the Central Government was  of  the  view
that the applicant College had complied with the requirements  and  was  not
at fault, and it was  not  responsible  in  any  manner  for  the  delay  in
considering the application, and there  were  other  applicants  of  similar
nature, it could have recorded those reasons in  writing  and  extended  the
time schedule for that category of applicants and then granted  the  renewal
of permission, provided the last date for admissions had not  expired.  Note
2 to the Schedule to the DCI Regulations enables the Central  Government  to
modify the time schedule, for reasons to be recorded in writing, in  respect
of any class or category of applications.  The  applicants  for  renewal  of
permission for the fourth or fifth year, where there is compliance with  the
requirements relating to infrastructure, equipment  and  faculty,  could  be
such a class or category of applications. Similarly, applications where  the
High Courts have directed consideration beyond 15th July in view of  special
circumstances can also constitute a class or category of applicants.”

During the  course  of  its  Judgment  in  Priyadarshini  under  caption  “A
Suggestion for modification of time Schedule” this Court  in  paragraphs  23
to 25 observed as under:
“23. In all these cases,  the  petitioners,  who  were  the  applicants  for
renewal were existing dental colleges, which were functioning for  three  or
four years and  each  college  had  admitted  hundreds  of  students  either
directly or through the State Government allotment.  The  colleges  had  the
benefit of initial permission and several renewals  of  permission.  Refusal
of renewal of permission  in  such  cases  should  not  be  abrupt  nor  for
insignificant or technical  violations.  Nor  should  such  applications  be
dealt in a casual manner, by either granting less than a  week  for  setting
right the  “deficiencies”  or  not  granting  an  effective  hearing  before
refusal. The entire process  of  verification  and  inspection  relating  to
renewal of permission, should be done well in time  so  that  such  existing
colleges have adequate and reasonable time to set right the deficiencies  or
offer explanations to the deficiencies. The object of providing  for  annual
renewal  of  permissions  for  four   years,   is   to   ensure   that   the
infrastructural and faculty requirements are fulfilled in a gradual  manner,
and not to cause disruption.

24.    In the context of what has happened in these cases, it  is  necessary
to emphasise the distinction between the applications for fresh  permissions
and applications for renewal of  permissions.  They  require  distinct  time
schedules. The process of decision-making under the Regulations,  for  grant
of fresh or initial permission for establishment of new dental  colleges  is
exhaustive and elaborate, when compared to the  process  of  decision-making
in regard to grant of renewal of permission for the four  subsequent  years.
Before grant of initial  grant  of  permission,  the  DCI  and  the  Central
Government are required to  consider  the  following  aspects:  whether  the
institution would be in a position to offer the minimum standards of  dental
education in conformity with  the  Act  and  the  Regulations;  whether  the
institution has adequate resources; whether the institution has provided  or
will provide within  the  time-limit  specified  in  the  scheme,  necessary
staff, equipment, accommodation, training and  other  facilities  to  ensure
proper functioning of the institution; whether the institution has  provided
or would provide within the time-limit specified  in  the  scheme,  adequate
hospital   facilities;   whether   faculty    having    recognised    dental
qualifications and personnel in the field of practice of dentistry  will  be
available to impart proper training  to  the  students;  and  whether  other
factors prescribed by the Regulations  have  been  complied.  On  the  other
hand, for the purpose of grant of renewal of permission,  DCI  has  to  make
recommendations by considering  only  whether  the  prescribed  faculty  and
infrastructure are available.

25.    The need for renewal of permission emanates  from  the  fact  that  a
newly established college is not required to have in place, full  complement
of the teaching faculty  and  complete  infrastructure  in  the  first  year
itself. This is  because,  during  the  first  year,  the  college  will  be
catering only to a  limited  number  of  first  year  students.  During  the
second, third  and  fourth  and  fifth  years,  the  student  strength  will
increase. If the  permitted  intake  is  100,  usually  there  will  be  100
students in the first year, 200 students in the second  year,  300  students
in the third year, 400 students in the fourth year and 500 students  in  the
fifth year. Thereafter, the strength may remain constant.  As  the  strength
increases gradually  every  year,  correspondingly  the  infrastructure  and
faculty will have to be increased.”


13.   In a subsequent decision in Priya Gupta v. State of  Chhattisgarh  and
others[3] this Court in paragraph 32 reproduced the Schedule and  the  Notes
thereunder as referred to in Mridul Dhar and in paragraph 40 it  was  stated
thus:
“40.    The schedules prescribed have the force of  law,  inasmuch  as  they
form part of the judgments of this Court, which are the declared law of  the
land in terms of Article 141 of the Constitution of India and form  part  of
the Regulations of the Medical Council of India, which also have  the  force
of law and are binding on all concerned. It is difficult to comprehend  that
any authority can have the discretion to alter these  schedules  to  suit  a
given situation, whether such authority is the  Medical  Council  of  India,
the Government of India,  State  Government,  university  or  the  selection
bodies constituted at the college level for allotment of  seats  by  way  of
counseling. We have no hesitation in clearly declaring that  none  of  these
authorities are vested with the power of  relaxing,  varying  or  disturbing
the time schedule, or the  procedures  of  admission,  as  provided  in  the
judgments of this Court and the Medical Council of India Regulations.”


      The relevant directions  issued  in  Priya  Gupta  by  this  Court  in
paragraphs 46.1 46.3. 46.4. 47, 47.1 and 47.5 were as under:
“46.1. The commencement of new courses or increases  in  seats  of  existing
courses of MBBS/BDS are to  be  approved/recognised  by  the  Government  of
India by 15th July of each calendar year for the relevant academic  sessions
of that year.

46.3. After 15th July of each year, neither  the  Union  of  India  nor  the
Medical or Dental Council of India shall issue any recognition  or  approval
for the current academic year. If any such approval is  granted  after  15th
July of any year, it shall only be operative for the next academic year  and
not in the current academic year. Once the sanction/approval is  granted  on
or before 15th July of the relevant year, the name of that college  and  all
seats shall be included in both the first and  the  second  counselling,  in
accordance with the Rules.

46.4.       Any medical or dental college, or seats thereof,  to  which  the
recognition/approval is issued subsequent to 15th  July  of  the  respective
year shall not be included  in  the  counselling  to  be  conducted  by  the
authority concerned and that college would have no right to make  admissions
in the current academic year against such seats.

47. All these directions shall be complied with by all concerned,  including
the Union of India, Medical Council  of  India,  Dental  Council  of  India,
State Governments, universities and medical  and  dental  colleges  and  the
management of the respective universities or dental  and  medical  colleges.
Any default in compliance with these  conditions  or  attempt  to  overreach
these directions shall, without fail, invite the following consequences  and
penal actions:

47.1. Every body, officer or authority who disobeys or avoids  or  fails  to
strictly comply with these directions stricto  sensu  shall  be  liable  for
action under the provisions of  the  Contempt  of  Courts  Act.  Liberty  is
granted to any interested party to take out the contempt proceedings  before
the High Court having jurisdiction over such institution/State, etc.

47.5. The college which grants admission  for  the  current  academic  year,
where its recognition/approval is granted subsequent to  15th  July  of  the
current   academic   year,   shall   be    liable    for    withdrawal    of
recognition/approval  on  this  ground,  in  addition  to  being  liable  to
indemnify such students who are  denied  admission  or  who  are  wrongfully
given admission in the college.”


      It may be mentioned here that the Schedule  as  it  stood  then,  when
this Court rendered its Judgment in Priya Gupta did not enable  the  Central
Government to modify the schedule, as was permissible  under  the  concerned
Dental  Council  of  India  Regulations  considered   by   this   Court   in
Priyadarshini.  On and with effect from 01.10.2012 i.e. after  the  Judgment
in  Priya  Gupta,  the  substituted  Schedule  now  empowers   the   Central
Government to that effect.

14.   It may further be mentioned that while considering the  provisions  of
the Act and the Medical Council of India  Regulations  on  Graduate  Medical
Education, 1997,   this  Court  in  Medical  Council  of  India   vs.  Madhu
Singh[4] in para 23 had directed inter alia:-
“(i)  There is no scope for admitting students midstream as  that  would  be
against the very spirit of statutes governing medical education;
………………………
……………………

 (iv) MCI shall ensure  that  the  examining  bodies  fix  a  time  schedule
specifying the duration of this course, the  date  of  commencement  of  the
course and the last date for admission;
……………………
………………………

(vi)  no variation of the schedule so far as admissions are concerned  shall
be allowed;

(vii)  in case of any deviation by the  institution  concerned,   action  as
prescribed shall be taken by MCI.”


 THE PRESENT CASES


15.   In the instant cases, during  inspections  conducted  by  the  MCI  in
respect of Medical Colleges falling in Categories I, II and  III  as  stated
above, certain deficiencies were found which were then communicated  to  the
concerned applicants. According to  the  concerned  applicants,  either  the
deficiencies were wrongly noted or they had since then  been  rectified  and
compliance was reported. Though compliance was so reported and  the  Central
Government  /  the  MCI  were  asked  to  have  inspection  to  verify  such
compliance, the Central  Government  communicated  its  disapproval  without
taking any steps to assess or verify  the  compliance  report.   By  way  of
illustration we may set out relevant facts in Writ Petition  (C)  No.705  of
2014 which are as under:-
(a)   The scheme under Section  10A  of  the  Act  for  establishing  a  new
medical college by the applicant was placed before  the  Scrutiny  Committee
of the MCI on 22.01.2014.  The deficiencies in certain documents  pertaining
to land and finance having been pointed out, the  concerned  documents  were
furnished by the applicant  on  07.02.2014.   The  matter  was  then  placed
before the Executive Committee of the MCI on  14.03.2014  which  decided  to
accept the  application  subject  to  compliance  of  certain  requirements.
These were complied  with by the applicant on 14.04.2014.
(b)   A surprise inspection was undertaken on 26.05.2014 and  27.05.2014  in
which certain deficiencies in infrastructure, faculty and clinical  material
were found.  Considering these deficiencies to  be  serious,  the  Executive
Committee of the MCI decided to disapprove the application and the  decision
was so communicated to the Central Government on 14.06.2014.
(c)   On 26.06.2014 the applicant reported  compliance  and  submitted  that
the deficiencies stood  removed.   A  Committee  appointed  by  the  Central
Government to grant personal hearing to all  such  colleges  where  negative
recommendations were given by the  MCI,  granted  personal  hearing  to  the
applicant and forwarded compliance report dated 26.06.2014 for  verification
and appropriate action.
(d)   The Executive Committee of the MCI however in its communication  dated
10.07.2014 stated that no compliance/verification could  be  undertaken  for
the academic year 2014-15.  Thereafter Central Government  vide  its  letter
dated 15.07.2015 disapproved the scheme submitted by the applicant  in  view
of the inability of the MCI to assess/verify the compliance.
(e)   In the circumstances the applicant filed Writ Petition (C)  No.705  of
2014  in  this  Court  submitting,  inter  alia,  that  the  inspection  was
conducted almost after eight months  thereby  pushing  the  matter  to  such
levels where it became impossible for  the  MCI  to  assess  the  compliance
report and that the MCI ought  to  have  paced  itself  in  accordance  with
mandatory  time  schedule  so  that  all  the  stages  could  possibly   and
effectively be undertaken before the dead line mentioned in the Schedule.
(f)   In reply it was submitted by the MCI that every  applicant  submitting
a scheme is obliged to fulfill minimum norms as on the date  of  application
but generally such applicants request  for  postponement  of  inspection  so
that they get additional time to put their house in order.  Resultantly  the
inspection teams appointed by  it  are  under  tremendous  workload  in  and
around April/May.  It further submitted that it had obtained  legal  opinion
to the  effect  that  in  view  of  the  decision  in  Priya  Gupta  it  was
impermissible to undertake any inspection after 15th of June and as such  no
verification of compliance report could be undertaken.

16.   The facts mentioned above as obtaining in Writ Petition    (C)  No.705
of 2014 are illustrative and the fact situation so also the  submissions  in
the other matters are more or  less  identical  and  the  communications  of
disapproval by the Central Government in concerned cases were  also  on  the
same date i.e. on  15.07.2014.   In  most  of  the  matters  the  applicants
approached this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution  of  India  while
in some cases they went to the High Court.  In certain cases the High  Court
directed the Central Government and the MCI to undertake  fresh  inspection.
These orders, at the instance of the MCI are under challenge, in which  this
Court suspended the operation of directions so issued  by  the  High  Court.
In some cases the High Court did  not  grant  any  interim  relief  and  the
applicants  have  preferred  special   leave   petitions   challenging   the
correctness of such refusal.

INTERIM DIRECTIONS

17.   During the course of hearing, an affidavit was filed on behalf of  the
Union of India on 18.09.2014 stating inter alia,
(i)   The total intake capacity of MBBS seats in the country increased  from
51598 in 2013-2014 to 54348 in 2014-2015.  However renewal of seats was  not
permitted in case of 3920 seats in 2014-2015 and as such  there  was  a  net
loss of 1170 MBBS seats in 2014-2015.
(ii)  The MCI had recommended for disapproval of renewal  in  case  of  8667
seats.  However renewal  permission  in  case  of  4747  MBBS  seats  in  73
Government Medical Colleges was granted by the  Central  Government  on  the
last day i.e. 15.07.2014, by relying on the undertaking/compliance given  by
respective State Governments.
(iii) The Central  Government  issued  disapproval  letters  to  46  Medical
Colleges including 41 Private Medical Colleges with 3685 MBBS  seats  and  5
Government Medical Colleges with 235 seats for the year 2014-2015.

18.   Since the deadline for effecting admission as per Medical  Council  of
India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 namely 30.09.2014  was
approaching  and  large  number  of   seats   were   involved   because   of
recommendations  for  disapproval  without  having  assessed   or   verified
compliance as reported by the applicants, the matters  were  considered  for
grant  of  suitable  relief.   The  Medical  Colleges  in  Category  III  as
mentioned above alone were considered fit to be granted such relief as  they
were all renewal cases.  All these Medical Colleges had received  permission
to set up and/or to increase the intake in previous year(s).  The  cases  in
Category III being renewal cases  were  considered  differently  as  against
other cases in the light of the law laid down in Priyadarshini.  This  Court
therefore by orders  dated  18.09.2014  and  25.09.2014  permitted  all  the
medical colleges falling in category No.III to give fresh admissions in  the
first year of the M.B.B.S. Course subject to  certain  conditions  mentioned
in those orders.  The Medical Colleges in that  category  were  required  to
file an undertaking on same terms as Government Medical Colleges that  there
was no deficiency and that if the undertaking so submitted was found  to  be
incorrect in the next inspection, their deposit  with  the  MCI,  which  was
around Rs.10 crores, would be forfeited by way of penalty.  It  was  further
directed that admissions could be given to  only  those  students  from  the
merit list prepared by the respective States and that the students would  be
charged  fees  prescribed  by  the  Government  Medical  Colleges   of   the
respective States.  These  orders  were  passed  as  the  concerned  medical
colleges had already received permission to establish  new  medical  college
or to increase the intake capacity  and  the  matters  in  issue  were  only
concerning renewal permissions and as the concerned  colleges  had  statedly
removed deficiencies and submitted their compliance reports.

SUBMISSIONS

19.   The matters were thereafter taken up for hearing.  By  this  time  the
dead line for effecting admissions for the academic year 2014-15  was  over.
The learned counsel appearing for various applicants as well as the  counsel
appearing for the Union of India and  the  Medical  Council  of  India  were
heard on the Statutory Scheme as well as  parameters  to  be  considered  at
various stages, time schedule in the  Regulations  and  the  requirement  to
adhere to such time  schedule.    We  heard  Mr.  Kapil  Sibal,  Dr.  Rajeev
Dhavan, Mr. Vishwanath Shetty, Mr. Mohan Parasaran and  Mr.  Nidhesh  Gupta,
learned Senior Counsel appearing for various applicants,  Mr.  Vikas  Singh,
learned counsel for MCI and Ms. Pinky Anand,  learned  Additional  Solicitor
General for the Union of India. We must record our sincere appreciation  for
the assistance rendered by the learned Counsel.

20.   It was submitted on behalf of the applicants that:
 Section 10A of the Act read with the  Regulations  and  the  Scheme  framed
thereunder contemplates certain initial pre-requisites such as  Essentiality
Certificate, Consent of Affiliation, a suitable plot of land  as  prescribed
and  a  three  hundred  bed  hospital  with  necessary  infrastructure   and
facilities.  If these qualifying pre-requisites are not met, the  permission
to establish a medical college will certainly not be granted.   However,  in
none of the present cases, the denial  or  disapproval  was  on  account  of
inability to meet these qualifying pre-requisites.
According  to  sub-section  (7)   of  Section  10A,   the  Scheme   and  the
Regulations, certain requirements like necessary facilities in  respect   of
staff,   equipment,   accommodation,   training   as   well   as    hospital
facilities could be provided within the time limit specified in the  Scheme.
   Unlike the qualifying pre-requisites as stated earlier, these  facilities
could be put in place and made effective at a later point of time.
 Reading of sub-sections (3) , (4) and (8) of Section 10A read with  Clauses
7 and 8 of the Regulations as  well  as  the  underlying  idea  behind  sub-
section (7) of Section 10A would show that the concerned applicant ought  to
be afforded time and sufficient opportunity  to  rectify  the  deficiencies.
Reliance was placed on the decision  of  this  Court  in  Swamy  Devi  Dayal
Hospital & Dental College vs. Union of India.[5]
The compliance having been reported, the  MCI  and  the  Central  Government
were obliged to assess whether  such  deficiencies  stood  removed  or  not.
Inability of the MCI  to  perform  its  statutory  obligation  and  initiate
appropriate action within  the  time  frame  has  penalized  the  respective
colleges for no fault of theirs.
(e)The MCI and the Central Government must arrange their affairs in  such  a
way that the respective stages in the Schedule  are  adhered  to,  affording
reasonable opportunity to the concerned  medical  colleges  to  rectify  the
deficiencies. Having pushed the concerned colleges close to the  dead  line,
the MCI and the  Central  Government  cannot  then  take  refuge  under  the
Schedule  and  project  their  inability  to  carry   out   any   compliance
verification.
(f) The Note under the  Schedule  to  the  regulations,  as  brought  in  by
Amendment Notification dated  21.9.2012  sufficiently  enabled  the  Central
Government to modify the time schedule,  as  laid  down  by  this  Court  in
Priyadarshini.  The Central Government did make an  exception  and  modified
the time limits in the Schedule in favour of  Government  medical  colleges.
Similar such benefit ought to have been extended in favour  of  the  private
Medical Colleges as well.

21.   Mr. Vikas Singh, learned Senior Advocate  submitted  that  the  Scheme
contemplated  that  the  concerned  applicants  must  have   the   necessary
facilities, faculty and infrastructure in existence and  operational  as  on
the day  the  application  was  made.     He  submitted  that  most  of  the
applicants themselves would request the MCI to conduct inspections  as  late
as possible, which would give additional time to  the  concerned  applicants
to put the facilities in order.  In  these  circumstances,  the  inspections
were carried out in the  months  of  April  and  May.   In  his  submission,
because  of  mandatory  directions  in  Priya  Gupta,  the  MCI  refused  to
undertake any inspection for  compliance  verification.  He  however  fairly
accepted that in view of sub section (4) of Section 10 A of the Act,  before
any disapproval of Scheme was  recorded,  reasonable  opportunity  ought  to
have been given and that such  opportunity  is  available  even  in  Renewal
Cases in Category III. During the course of submissions he  submitted  Draft
Schedules, one pertaining to applications for Establishment of  new  Medical
Colleges and increase of admission capacity  while  the  other  relating  to
cases of Renewal of Permission in an existing Medical College.  Those  Draft
Schedules are set out hereunder:-

Schedule for receipt  of  applications  for  establishment  of  new  medical
colleges and increase of admission capacity in an existing  medical  college
and processing of  the  applications  by  the  Central  Government  and  the
Medical Council of India.

|   |Stage of processing                  |Last date         |
|1. |Receipt of applications by the       |From 1st August to|
|   |Central Government and Submission of |31st August (both |
|   |Standard Assessment Form, Declaration|days inclusive) of|
|   |Forms of the Faculty members and     |any year.         |
|   |Resident Doctors & other documents by|                  |
|   |the applicant to the MCI.            |                  |
|2. |Receipt of applications by MCI from  |30th September    |
|   |the Central Government.              |                  |
|3. |Technical Scrutiny of the            |31st October      |
|   |applications by the MCI.             |                  |
|4. |Return of defective/incomplete       |30th November     |
|   |applications by MCI to the Central   |                  |
|   |Government                           |                  |
|5. |Physical assessment of the applicant |31st January.     |
|   |medical colleges & communication of  |                  |
|   |deficiencies to the medical colleges |                  |
|   |and to the Central Government.       |                  |
|6. |Hearing by the Central Government    |1st to 20th       |
|   |Under section 10A(4).                |February          |
|7. |Forwarding of Representation/        |28th February     |
|   |Compliances by the Central Government|                  |
|   |to the MCI in cases where compliance |                  |
|   |verification is required.            |                  |
|8. |Compliance Verification assessment by|30th April        |
|   |the MCI.                             |                  |
|9. |Recommendations of the MCI to the    |15th May          |
|   |Central Government for issuance of   |                  |
|   |letter of permission/disapproval of  |                  |
|   |the application.                     |                  |
|10.|Issue of letter of permission by the |15th June.        |
|   |Central Government.                  |                  |


SCHEDULE IN THE CASES OF  RENEWAL  OF  PERMISSION  IN  AN  EXISTING  MEDICAL
COLLEGE BY THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT AND THE MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA

|   |Stage of processing                    |Last date         |
|1. |Submission of Standard Assessment      |30th September    |
|   |Forms, Declaration Forms of the Faculty|                  |
|   |Members and Resident Doctors & Other   |                  |
|   |Documents by the medical college to the|                  |
|   |MCI.                                   |                  |
|2. |Physical assessment of the medical     |31st January      |
|   |colleges & communication of            |                  |
|   |deficiencies to the medical college and|                  |
|   |to the Central Government              |                  |
|3. |Hearing by the Central Government Under|1st to 20th       |
|   |Section 10A(4)                         |February          |
|4. |Forwarding of                          |28th February     |
|   |Representation/Compliances by the      |                  |
|   |Central Government to the MCI in cases |                  |
|   |where compliance verification is       |                  |
|   |required.                              |                  |
|5. |Compliance verification assessment by  |15th May          |
|   |the MCI & Recommendations of the MCI to|                  |
|   |the Central Government for issuance of |                  |
|   |letter of permission/or not to grant   |                  |
|   |renewal of permission.                 |                  |
|6. |Issue of letter of permission by the   |15th June         |
|   |Central Government                     |                  |


DISCUSSION
22.   We grant special leave to appeal in all the matters  in  categories  I
and III.

23.   While considering the Scheme under Section 10A of  the  Act,  the  MCI
and the Central Government are required to have due regard  to  the  factors
referred to in sub-section (7) thereof.  If the  initial  Scheme  itself  is
found to be defective or  is  to  be  disapproved,  sub-section  (3)(a)  and
proviso to sub-section (4) of Section 10A oblige the  MCI  and  the  Central
Government respectively to grant to the applicant reasonable opportunity  to
rectify the defects and of being heard.  The Statute  thus  recognizes  that
before any adverse decision is taken as regards the  Scheme,  the  applicant
must be afforded reasonable opportunity.  This facet has been considered  by
this Court while dealing with issues under Section 10A of the  Dentists  Act
in Swami Devi Dayal.  It was laid down that  the  requirement  of  following
the principles of natural justice is available at two  stages,  first  where
the Dental Council of India finds deficiencies  during  its  inspection  and
secondly at the level  of  the  Central  Government  before  it  passes  any
adverse orders after receipt of the recommendations by  the  Dental  Council
of India. The observations in Swami Devi Dayal while considering  provisions
of Section 10A of the Dentists Act which  are pari  materia   with   Section
10A of the Act, must apply with equal force in relation to cases  under  the
Act.  In paragraphs 22.2 and 22.3 it was laid down in Swami  Devi  Dayal  as
under :
“22.2  It contemplates grant of opportunity of being heard  at  two  stages.
First stage would be at the level of DCI after the scheme  is  submitted  to
DCI under sub section (2) of Section 10A of the Act. Once  it  is  found  by
the DCI that  all  the  parameters  for  granting  permission  are  met,  it
recommends the grant of approval of the scheme to  the  Central  Government.
In case Scheme  is found to be deficient, sub section (3) (a) of Section  10
A of the Act casts  an  obligation  on  the  part  of  the  DCI  to  give  a
reasonable opportunity for making  a  written  representation  and  also  to
rectify the deficiencies, if any, specified by  the  DCI.  Second  stage  of
adherence to the principles of natural justice is provided at the  level  of
Central Government at the time when it has to  take  final  decision,  after
the receipt of the recommendation sent  by  the  DCI.  This  requirement  of
hearing is stipulated in proviso to sub section (4) of Section 10A,  in  the
event the Central Government is proposing to disapprove the scheme.

22.3   The  expression  “opportunity  of  being  heard”  occurring  in  this
proviso would mean that the material that goes against the applicant and  is
to be taken into consideration, is to be supplied to  the  applicant  within
an opportunity to make representation. For this purpose  either  the  report
of the DCI itself can be supplied or atleast the  deficiencies  pointed  out
in the report have to be communicated  by  the  Central  Government  to  the
applicant with an opportunity to furnish its  comments  thereupon.  At  that
stage while giving its reply, if  the  applicant  claims  personal  hearing,
such a personal hearing should also be accorded.”

24.   The Scheme under Section 10A, with due regard to the factors  referred
to  in  sub-section  (7),  may  contemplate  putting  in   place   necessary
facilities at a later point of  time.   Paragraphs  7(b)  and  8(3)  of  the
Regulations  also  speak  of   defining   and   achieving   annual   targets
respectively.  Naturally, it needs to be assessed and verified whether  such
annual targets are achieved or not.  The timely assessment  is  integral  to
the Scheme itself and the MCI  and  the  Central  Government  are  therefore
obliged and required to conduct renewal inspections  every  year  so  as  to
ensure that the establishment  of  the  Medical  College  and  expansion  of
hospital facilities are  completed  in  time  and  in  accordance  with  the
Scheme.   In Swamy Devi Dayal it was observed that the  provision  requiring
such opportunity being given to  the  applicant  applies  not  only  at  the
initial stage when permission for establishment  of  new  College  is  under
consideration but must apply even in cases of  subsequent  renewal  of  such
permission.  In our view, the ratio  in  Swamy  Devi  Dayal  must  apply  as
regards cases of renewal under the Act.

25.   As regards cases of renewal, it was laid down  in  Priyadarshini  that
the process of decision making for grant of fresh or initial permission  for
establishment of a new college is exhaustive and elaborate when compared  to
such decision making in regard to grant of renewal  of  permission  for  the
four subsequent years. It was further stated that before  grant  of  initial
permission the aspects whether the institution would be  in  a  position  to
offer the minimum standards of education in  conformity  with  the  Act  and
Regulations and whether the institution has adequate resources  and  whether
the institution has provided or will be able  to  provide  within  the  time
limit specified in the Scheme all the required facilities  and  faculty  are
required to be considered and scrutinized very closely. On  the  other  hand
for the purposes of grant of renewal what is required to  be  considered  is
whether the prescribed faculty and infrastructure is available.  Considering
renewal cases on a parameter distinct and different from  that  relating  to
establishment of a new college for the first time, it was observed that  the
entire process of verification and inspection relating to renewal  ought  to
be done well in time  so  that  the  existing  colleges  have  adequate  and
reasonable time to set right the deficiencies or offer  explanation  to  the
deficiencies.

26.   In the light of the aforesaid facets  namely  that  the  Scheme  under
Section 10A may itself contemplate stage wise achievement of annual  targets
and the requirements of reasonable opportunity to be afforded  not  only  at
the initial stage but also in cases of subsequent renewal and  further  that
the opportunity must be afforded at both the stages namely  by  the  MCI  as
well as by the Central Government, the Schedule under the  Regulations  must
accommodate and provide for adequate  time  limits  to  take  care  of  such
eventualities.  The Schedule which  was  brought  in  force  by  way  of  an
amendment dated 21.09.2012 unfortunately does not  provide  for  such  stage
wise consideration.  It simply gives  four  stages  without  indicating  any
time limits to ensure grant of  such  reasonable  opportunity  in  case  the
decisions of disapproval are taken against the  applicants.   It  also  does
not speak of any compliance verification.  The pattern that emerges  in  the
present cases  is  common  and  consistent  in  that  the  inspections  were
undertaken in and around April/May 2014 and the letters of disapproval  were
sent by the Central Government on or about 15th  July,  2014.    Though  the
compliance was reported, no verification in that behalf was undertaken.

27.   The MCI and the Central Government have been  vested  with  monitoring
powers under Section 10A and the  Regulations.   It  is  expected  of  these
authorities to discharge their functions well within the statutory  confines
as well as in conformity with the Schedule to the Regulations.  If there  is
inaction on their part or non-observance of the time Schedule, it  is  bound
to have adverse effect on all concerned.  The affidavit filed on  behalf  of
the Union of India  shows  that  though  the  number  of  seats  had  risen,
obviously because of permissions granted for establishment of new  colleges,
because of disapproval of renewal cases the resultant effect  was  net  loss
in terms of number of seats available for the academic year.   It  thus  not
only caused loss of opportunity to the students’ community but at  the  same
time caused loss to the society in terms of less  number  of  doctors  being
available.  The MCI and the  Central  Government  must  therefore  show  due
diligence right from the  day  when  the  applications  are  received.   The
Schedule giving various  stages  and  time  limits  must  accommodate  every
possible eventuality and at the same time must comply with the  requirements
of observance of natural  justice  at  various  levels.   In  our  view  the
Schedule must ideally take care of :
(A)   Initial assessment of  the  application  at  the  first  level  should
comprise  of  checking   necessary   requirements   such   as   essentiality
certificate, consent for affiliation and physical  features  like  land  and
hospital requirement.  If an applicant fails to fulfill these  requirements,
the application on the face of it, would  be  incomplete  and  be  rejected.
Those who fulfill the basic requirements would be  considered  at  the  next
stage.
(B)   Inspection should then be conducted by the Inspectors of the MCI.   By
very nature such inspection must have an  element  of  surprise.   Therefore
sufficient time of about three to four months ought to be given to  the  MCI
to cause inspection at any time  and  such  inspection  should  normally  be
undertaken latest by January.  Surprise Inspection  would  ensure  that  the
required facilities and infrastructure are always in place and not  borrowed
or put in temporarily.
(C)   Intimation of the result or outcome of the inspection  would  then  be
communicated. If  the  infrastructure  and  facilities  are  in  order,  the
concerned Medical College  should  be  given  requisite  permission/renewal.
However if there are any deficiencies or shortcomings, the MCI  must,  after
pointing out the deficiencies, grant to  the  college  concerned  sufficient
time to report compliance.
(D)    If  compliance  is  reported  and  the  applicant  states  that   the
deficiencies stand removed, the MCI must cause compliance verification.   It
is possible that such compliance  could  be  accepted  even  without  actual
physical  verification  but  that  assessment  be  left  entirely   to   the
discretion of the MCI and the Central Government.   In  cases  where  actual
physical verification is required, the MCI and the Central  Government  must
cause such verification before the deadline.
(E)   The result of such verification if positive in favour of  the  Medical
College   concerned,   the   applicant   ought   to   be   given   requisite
permission/renewal.  But if the deficiencies still persist or had  not  been
removed, the applicant will stand disentitled so far as that  academic  year
is concerned.

28.   As against the Schedule brought in by Notification  dated  21.09.2012,
the draft Schedules submitted by Mr. Vikas Singh,  learned  Senior  Advocate
appearing for the MCI do make provisions for stage  wise  consideration  and
set time limits therefor.  They also provide  for  hearing  by  the  Central
Government under Section 10A(4) and compliance  verification  assessment  by
the MCI.  We accept the  submission  of  Mr.  Vikas  Singh  that  the  draft
Schedules suggested and placed  by  the  MCI  will  now  take  care  of  all
foreseeable  situations  and  ensure  availability  of  opportunity  at  all
possible stages.  In our view the draft Schedule so submitted by the MCI  be
given proper statutory status.

 29.  The cases in hand show that the Central Government did not  choose  to
extend the time limits in the  Schedule  despite  being  empowered  by  Note
below  the  Schedule.   Though  the  Central  Government   apparently   felt
constrained by the directions in Priya Gupta it did exercise that  power  in
favour of Government Medical Colleges.  The decision of this Court in  Priya
Gupta  undoubtedly  directed  that  Schedule  to  the  Regulations  must  be
strictly and scrupulously observed.  However, subsequent to  that  decision,
the Regulations stood amended, incorporating a Note empowering  the  Central
Government to modify the stages and time  limits  in  the  Schedule  to  the
Regulations.  The effect  of  similar  such  empowerment  and  consequential
exercise  of  power  as  expected  from  the  Central  Government  has  been
considered by this Court in Priyadarshini.  The Central Government  is  thus
statutorily empowered  to  modify  the  Schedule  in  respect  of  class  or
category of applicants, for reasons to be recorded in  writing.  Because  of
subsequent amendment and incorporation of the Note as aforesaid, the  matter
is now required to be seen in the light of and in accord with  Priyadarshini
where similar Note in  pari  materia  Regulations  was  considered  by  this
Court.  We therefore hold that the directions in Priya  Gupta  must  now  be
understood in the light of such statutory empowerment and  we  declare  that
it is open to the Central Government, in terms of the  Note,  to  extend  or
modify the time limits in the Schedule  to  the  Regulations.   However  the
dead line namely 30th of September for making admissions to the  first  MBBS
course as laid down by this Court  in  Madhu  Singh  and  Mridul  Dhar  must
always be observed.

30.   Since the deadline for making admissions was over  and  there  was  no
formal permission to establish new  Medical  Colleges  or  to  increase  the
intake capacity in respect of existing  Colleges, applicants  in  Categories
I and II were not considered fit for grant of any interim  relief.  For  the
same reasons no relief can  be  granted  to  them.  Consequently,  the  writ
petitions  and  appeals  arising  from  the  special  leave   petitions   in
Categories I and II except one arising out of SLP(C) No.23512  of  2014  are
dismissed. Said appeal from SLP(C) No.23512 of 2014 at the instance  of  the
MCI is allowed and the order passed by the High  Court  is  set  aside.   No
orders are required in Transfer Petition No. 1217  of  2014  and  it  stands
dismissed.  The relief granted in respect of those falling in Category  III,
vide orders dated 18.09.2014 and 25.09.2014 is made  absolute  in  terms  of
those orders and the writ petitions and appeals arising from  special  leave
petitions in Category III stand disposed of in such terms.

31.   The MCI and the Central Government are  directed  to  discharge  their
functions in accord with the concerned Regulations and the  Statute  and  in
keeping with the observations made hereinabove.

32.   All matters stand disposed of in above terms. No order as to costs.

………………………..J         [Anil R. Dave]


                                           …………………………J
                                           [Vikramajit Sen]


                                           …………………………J
                                           [Uday Umesh Lalit]
New Delhi
August 20, 2015

-----------------------
[1]     (2005) 2 SCC 65
[2]     (2011) 4 SCC 623
[3]     (2012) 7 SCC 433
[4]         [5] (2002) 7 SCC 258
[6]    (2014) 13 SCC 506

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