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Monday, January 23, 2017

the validity of admission granted to the petitioner by respondent No.3 (C.M. Medical College & Hospital - for short the College) to the MBBS course. In our opinion, the admission granted by the College to the petitioner was unjustified and therefore his admission is set aside.= The question before this Court is not who is to be blamed for the present state of affairs - whether it is the students or the College or the State of Chhattisgarh. The question is really whether the rule of law should prevail or not. In our opinion, the answer is unambiguously in the affirmative. The College and the State of Chhattisgarh have not adhered to the law with the result that the petitioner became a victim of circumstances giving him a cause of action to proceed against the College and the State of Chhattisgarh being a victim of their maladministration. The plight of the petitioner is unfortunate but it cannot be helped.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 677 OF 2016



Rishabh Choudhary                                         .….Petitioner

                                   versus

Union of India & Ors.                                    ….Respondents

                                    WITH

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 862 OF 2016

Sandeep Kumar & Anr.                            ….Petitioners



                                   versus

State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.                    ….Respondents



                              J U D G M E  N T

Madan B. Lokur, J.

W.P. (C) No. 677 OF 2016

1.    The question for consideration  in  this  writ  petition  filed  under
Article 32 of the Constitution concerns the validity  of  admission  granted
to the petitioner by respondent No.3 (C.M. Medical College & Hospital -  for
short the College) to  the  MBBS  course.  In  our  opinion,  the  admission
granted by the College to the petitioner was unjustified and  therefore  his
admission is set aside.
2.    On 21st December, 2010  a  gazette  notification  was  issued  by  the
Medical Council of India  amending  the  “Regulations  on  Graduate  Medical
Education, 1997” to the effect, inter alia,  that  admissions  to  the  MBBS
course  shall be based solely on marks obtained in the National Eligibility-
cum-Entrance Test (for short NEET).  This notification  was  challenged  by,
amongst others, Christian Medical College Vellore in a  batch  of  petitions
before this Court which came to be allowed. The decision of  this  Court  is
dated 18th July, 2013 and is reported as Christian Medical College,  Vellore
& Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.[1]   The  gazette  notification  dated  21st
December, 2010 was quashed.  As a result, admission  of  a  student  to  the
MBBS course through NEET was no longer mandatory.

3.    Subsequently, petitions were  filed  for  a  review  of  the  decision
rendered by this Court and these review  petitions  ultimately  came  to  be
referred to a Bench of five learned judges  of  this  Court.   By  an  order
dated 11th April, 2016 in Medical Council  of  India  v.  Christian  Medical
College, Vellore &  Ors.[2]  the  review  petitions  were  allowed  and  the
decision rendered by this Court on 18th July, 2013 was recalled and  it  was
directed that all the matters be considered afresh.
4.    Prior to this, the College wrote to the State of  Chhattisgarh  on  or
about 29th October, 2015 seeking permission to conduct examinations for  the
management quota and NRI seats for the MBBS course  for  the  academic  year
2016-17.  The State of Chhattisgarh granted permission  to  the  College  to
conduct examinations by its letter dated 5th November, 2015.

5.    Consequent upon the permission granted by the  State  of  Chhattisgarh
to conduct  examinations,  the  College  issued  an  advertisement  inviting
applications on 28th January, 2016 and eventually conducted the  examination
on 3rd April, 2016.  The examination called CGMAT-2016 was monitored by  the
State of Chhattisgarh and according to the College  as  well  as  the  State
there were no irregularities in the conduct of the examination.

6.    The result of the examination was declared on  11th  April,  2016  and
the petitioner qualified in the examination.  On 19th April,  2016  that  is
after this Court had decided to review its decision  and  had  recalled  the
judgment dated 18th July, 2013, counseling was conducted for the  petitioner
and  he was granted admission for the MBBS course by the College  after  all
formalities were completed.
7.    At this stage, it may be mentioned that the Medical Council  of  India
published a notification in  2015  amending  the  “Regulations  on  Graduate
Medical Education, 1997” whereby a  time  schedule  for  completion  of  the
admission process for First MBBS Course was prescribed.   This  notification
is reproduced and the Schedule given therein was approved in  Ashish  Ranjan
v. Union of India[3] decided on 18th January, 2016.  As per  the  prescribed
schedule, the conduct of entrance examination was to take place between  1st
and  7th  May  and  the  result  of  the   qualifying   examination/entrance
examination  was  to  be  declared  by  1st  June.   In  other  words,   the
examination conducted by the College on 3rd  April,  2016  being  CGMAT-2016
was in defiance of the notification issued by the Medical Council of  India,
and the schedule approved by this Court.  Similarly,  admission  granted  to
the petitioner on 19th April, 2016 was notwithstanding the  orders  of  this
Court passed on 11th April, 2016  read  with  the  notification  dated  21st
December, 2010 and the schedule prescribed by the Medical Council of India.

8.    There are a few other orders passed by this Court which  are  of  some
significance.  On 28th April, 2016 it was directed by this Court in  Sankalp
Charitable Trust & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.[4] that NEET Phase I  would
be held in terms of the notification dated 21st  December,  2010  issued  by
the Medical Council of India.  The All India Pre-Medical Test would be  held
on 1st May, 2016.  Thereafter, Phase II of NEET for the left out  candidates
would be held on 24th  July,  2016.   It  was  made  clear  that  since  the
judgment  and  order  dated  18th  July,  2013  had   been   recalled,   the
notification dated 21st December, 2010 was in operation.
9.    By an order dated 6th May, 2016 in Sankalp  Charitable  Trust  it  was
made clear that no examination shall be permitted to be held  for  admission
for  MBBS  studies  by  any  private   college   or   association   or   any
private/deemed University.
10.   Subsequently on 9th May, 2016 this Court declined to modify the  order
dated 28th April, 2016.  An order was also passed making it clear  that  all
such candidates who could not appear in NEET-I and those  who  had  appeared
but had an apprehension that they had not prepared well, would be  permitted
to appear in NEET-II subject to an option from these candidates to  give  up
their candidature for NEET-1. It was further clarified that only NEET  would
enable students to get admission to MBBS studies.
11.   In view of all these orders passed by this Court from  time  to  time,
it is more than abundantly clear that the notification dated 21st  December,
2010 stood resurrected and that admissions to the  MBBS  course  could  only
through NEET-I and NEET-II.  No other process of admission was  permissible.
  Given this background, the Director of Medical Education  in  Chhattisgarh
wrote to the College on or about 13th July, 2016 to  take  steps  to  cancel
all the admissions made by the College in terms of the examination  CGMAT  –
2016 held for students for the management quota and  NRI  quota.  Eventually
by a letter dated 28th July, 2016  the  Director  of  Medical  Education  in
Chhattisgarh recommended to the College to cancel  admissions  made  to  the
MBBS course.  This prompted the petitioner to file a writ petition  in  this
Court.
12.   It is submitted and  prayed  by  the  petitioner  that  since  he  had
already been granted admission by the College after the  examination  CGMAT-
2016 was conducted by the College and supervised and monitored by the  State
of Chhattisgarh and in which there were no allegations of  impropriety,  his
admission should not be disturbed.   It is  submitted  that  the  petitioner
was certainly not at fault and there is no  reason  why  he  should  be  the
victim of an apparent wrong committed by the College as also  by  the  State
of Chhattisgarh.
13.   We have considered the submissions made by learned  counsel  appearing
on behalf of the petitioner and the  College  supporting  him  but  are  not
inclined to accept them.  It is quite clear that the examination  CGMAT-2016
was conducted by the College on 3rd April, 2016  contrary  to  the  schedule
prescribed by the Medical Council of India (and approved by this Court)  for
holding  the  MBBS  entrance  examinations.  The  question  is  not  of  any
impropriety in the conduct of the examination but  the  question  is  really
one of adhering to a particular discipline laid down by the Medical  Council
of India and approved by this Court.
14.   Furthermore we find that counseling was carried  out  insofar  as  the
petitioner is concerned on 19th April, 2016 which is after the  decision  of
this Court on 11th April, 2016  recalling  the  decision  dated  18th  July,
2013.  There was absolutely no occasion for the College  to  have  conducted
the counseling after the recall order passed by this Court  on  11th  April,
2016.   The effect of the recall order, as mentioned  above,  was  that  the
notification issued by the Medical Council of India on 21st  December,  2010
effectively stood revived in  the  sense  that  NEET  was  the  only  option
available for admission to the MBBS course.  The College and  the  State  of
Chhattisgarh ought to have been aware of  these  facts,  but  seem  to  have
turned a blind eye not  only  to  the  orders  of  this  Court  but  to  the
notifications issued by the Medical Council of India.
15.   The question before this Court is not who is  to  be  blamed  for  the
present state of affairs - whether it is the students or the College or  the
State of Chhattisgarh.  The question is  really  whether  the  rule  of  law
should prevail or not.  In our opinion, the answer is unambiguously  in  the
affirmative.   The College and the State of Chhattisgarh  have  not  adhered
to the  law  with  the  result  that  the  petitioner  became  a  victim  of
circumstances giving him a cause of action to proceed  against  the  College
and the State of Chhattisgarh being a  victim  of  their  maladministration.
The plight of the petitioner is unfortunate but it cannot be helped.
16.   We were told during the course  of  submissions  that  some  similarly
placed students participated in  NEET  and  qualified  in  the  examination.
Those students like the petitioner who  did  not  participate  in  NEET  and
placed their trust only in the College and the State of Chhattisgarh took  a
gamble  and  that  gamble  has  unfortunately  not  succeeded.   While   our
sympathies may be with the petitioner  and  similarly  placed  students,  we
cannot go contrary to the orders passed by this  Court  from  time  to  time
only for their benefit.
17.   Under the circumstances, we find no  ground  has  been  made  out  for
granting relief to the petitioner.  There is no merit in this writ  petition
and it is accordingly  dismissed.   However,  we  make  it  clear  that  the
petitioner is at liberty to proceed against the College  and  the  State  of
Chhattisgarh in any appropriate manner.

W.P. (C) No. 862 OF 2016

18.   We find no reason to entertain this petition under Article 32  of  the
Constitution and it is accordingly dismissed.

19.   In view of the order passed in the writ petition the  application  for
impleadment stands disposed of.


                                                               …………………………..J
                                                          ( Madan B. Lokur
)



New Delhi                                         ………………………….J.

January 23, 2017                            ( Prafulla C. Pant )





-----------------------
[1]   [2] (2014) 2 SCC 305
[3]   [4] (2016) 4 SCC 342
[5]   [6] (2016) 11 SCC 225
[7]   [8] (2016) 7 SCC 487


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