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Friday, May 26, 2017

challenging the validity of Sections 3(6), 3(6a) and 3(6b) of the Himachal Pradesh Private Medical Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006 (for short “2006 Act”) as amended vide amendment Act No.24 of 2015.=The High Court dismissed the writ petition filed by the Appellants challenging the validity of Sections 3(6), 3(6a) and 3(6b) of the Himachal Pradesh Private Medical Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006 (for short “2006 Act”) as amended vide amendment Act No.24 of 2015. The High Court also rejected the prayer of the Appellants to issue directions to the concerned authorities that the Appellant No.1 (college and hospital) or any other institution of medical stream to be started by the Appellants be governed only by The Maharishi Markandeshwar University (Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2010 (for short “2010 Act”).= We also strike down Section 3(6a) of the Himachal Pradesh Private Medical Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006, being irrational, unreasonable, ultra vires and unconstitutional. Further, the Regulatory Authorities shall forthwith proceed in the matter without insisting for an affiliation of the Appellant No.1 – College (a constituent college of Appellant No.2 – University) from the Himachal Pradesh University.

                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5198 OF_2017
                (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 9837 of 2017)


Maharishi Markandeshwar Medical              …. Appellants
College            and            Hospital             &             Others.


Versus

State of Himachal Pradesh & Others.               .... Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T


A.M.KHANWILKAR, J.




1.    This appeal emanates from the judgment of the High Court  of  Himachal
Pradesh at Shimla dated 20.12.2016, passed in CWP No.4773 of 2015. The  High
Court dismissed the writ petition filed by the  Appellants  challenging  the
validity of Sections 3(6), 3(6a) and 3(6b) of the Himachal  Pradesh  Private
Medical Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission  and  Fixation  of
Fee) Act, 2006 (for short “2006 Act”) as amended vide  amendment  Act  No.24
of 2015. The High Court also rejected the prayer of the Appellants to  issue
directions to the concerned authorities that  the  Appellant  No.1  (college
and hospital) or any other institution of medical stream to  be  started  by
the Appellants be governed only by The  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  University
(Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2010 (for short “2010 Act”).


2.    Briefly stated, Appellant No.1 is an unaided private  medical  college
established by the Appellant No.3 - University Trust  as  a  constituent  of
the Appellant No.2 - University. The Appellant No.2 -  University  has  been
established under the 2010  Act.  Before  the  said  Act  was  enacted,  the
sponsoring body of the Appellant No.3 - University  Trust  had  submitted  a
project report on 21.07.2008 under Section  4(2)  of  the  Himachal  Pradesh
Universities  Report  (Establishment   and   Regulation)   Act,   2006   for
establishing  a  multi-faculty  University  with  emphasis  on  professional
courses in emerging areas. The State Government issued a  letter  of  intent
to the Appellant No.3 – University Trust dated 28.08.2008,  for  setting  up
of a private University within the State of  Himachal  Pradesh.  The  letter
delineated certain conditions to be fulfilled by the Trust  for  setting  up
of a private University in the State. The Principal Secretary to  the  State
Government  then  issued  an  “Essentiality  Certificate”   on   28.08.2008,
permitting the Appellant No.3 – University Trust to  purchase  25  acres  of
land for establishment of a  medical  college  under  the  proposed  private
University. On the basis of  the  Essentiality  Certificate,  the  Appellant
No.3 - University Trust proceeded with the project to establish the  medical
college as a constituent unit of the proposed private  University  and  made
necessary investments in that regard. The Appellant No.3 - University  Trust
purchased 125.02 bighas of land at Khalogra in Kumarhatti-Solan for  setting
up the proposed University. Having  complied  with  the  pre-conditions  for
establishment of the proposed University, the State Legislation enacted  the
2010 Act to provide  for  establishment,  incorporation  and  regulation  of
Maharishi Markandeshwar  University,  Solan,  Himachal  Pradesh  for  higher
education, and  to  regulate  its  functioning  and  for  matters  connected
therewith or incidental thereto. The 2010 Act received  the  assent  of  the
Governor on 15.09.2010. The said Act, however, was deemed to have come  into
force w.e.f. 16.06.2010. The Appellant  No.2  -  University  has  thus  been
established under the 2010 Act.


3.     On  27.07.2012,  the  Appellant  No.2  -  University  requested   the
Principal Secretary (Health) to  the  Government  of  Himachal  Pradesh  for
grant of an “Essentiality Certificate” to establish a  new  medical  college
at Kumarhatti,  Solan  “under”  the  Appellant  No.2  –  University,  to  be
submitted  to  the  Medical  Council  of  India/Government  of   India.   On
29.08.2012, the Secretary (Health) Government of  Himachal  Pradesh  brought
to the notice of the Director,  Medical  Education  and  Research,  Himachal
Pradesh, regarding the  grant  of  approval  of  the  State  Government  for
issuing “Essentiality and Feasibility Certificate/No Objection  Certificate”
to the Appellant No.2 -University for opening  the  stated  medical  college
and hospital at Kumarhatti in Solan for MBBS Course with 150  seats  in  the
said institute. On issuance of “Essentiality and Feasibility  Certificate/No
Objection Certificate”, the Appellant No.3 -  University  Trust  applied  to
the Central Government along with required schemes under Section 10A of  the
Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, for grant of  permission  to  establish  a
new medical college at  Kumarhatti,  Solan,  Himachal  Pradesh  “under”  the
Appellant No.2 -  University  as  its  constituent.  The  Appellant  No.3  -
University Trust also wrote to the Medical Council of India vide its  letter
dated  27.02.2013,  asserting  that  the   proposed   medical   college,   a
constituent college of the Appellant No.2 – University was “being set up  by
the same Maharishi Markandeshwar University Trust at the same  campus  as  a
part  of  the  University”.  Pursuant  to  the  proposal  submitted  by  the
Appellants, correspondence ensued between the authorities, after  which  the
Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India  issued  a  letter  dated
14.07.2013 granting permission for establishment of a  new  medical  college
and hospital in the  name  and  style  of  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  Medical
College and Hospital, at Kumarhatti, Solan, Himachal  Pradesh  by  Maharishi
Markandeshwar University with annual intake of 150  seats  with  prospective
effect from the academic year 2013 – 2014.


4.    The State Government, in exercise of its powers under Section 3(3)  of
the 2006 Act, issued  a  notification  on  14.08.2013,  regarding  admission
procedure and fee structure for admission to MBBS Course  in  the  Appellant
No.1 - College.  The  Special  Secretary  (Health)  Government  of  Himachal
Pradesh wrote to the Medical Council of India vide letter dated  02.01.2014,
seeking clarification with regard to the letter  of  intent  and  letter  of
permission issued to the Appellants as, in the perception of the State,  the
Appellant No.1 – College was merely a college and required affiliation  from
the Himachal Pradesh University. The Medical Council of  India  vide  letter
dated 14.02.2014 sent its reply to the Secretary, stating  that  the  letter
of permission dated 14.07.2013 has been granted  to  the  Appellant  No.1  -
College, which is affiliated to the Appellant  No.2  -  University  with  an
annual intake of  150  students  for  the  academic  year  2013-2014,  under
Section 10A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. The Medical Council  of
India also wrote to the Special Secretary (Health)  Government  of  Himachal
Pradesh  on  26.02.2014,  clarifying  the  position  that  the   letter   of
permission has been granted to the Appellants on the understanding that  the
Appellant No.1 - College was affiliated to the Appellant No.2 –  University.
On receipt of this communication, the Special Secretary (Health)  Government
of Himachal Pradesh wrote to the Medical Council of India to reconsider  its
decision. The Medical Council of India, by a  detailed  communication  dated
26.08.2014, clarified its stand in the following words:

                          “MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA

No. MCI - 34(41)(E-46)/2013-Med.              Dated: 26.08.2014

The Special Secretary (Health) to the
Govt. of Himachal Pradesh.,
Department of Health & Family Welfare,
Shimla – 171002.

Ref.: No.MCI-34(41)(E-46)/2013-Med./57586, Dated 14.02.2014.
      No.MCI-34(41)(E-46)/2013-Med./59892-59893,
Dated 26.02.2014

Sub.: Regarding Maharishi Markandeshwar Medical College &
      Hospital Kumarhatti, Distt. Solan, H.P.

Sir,
      Please refer to your letter No.HFW-B(F)4-12/2013 dated 29.03.2014,  on
the subject noted above.

      In this connection, according to the Establishment of Medical  College
Regulation, 1999, apart from other  statutory  requirements  there  are  two
main  qualifying  criteria  which  are  required  to  be  fulfilled  by  all
applicants at the  time  of  submitting  their  application/scheme  for  the
establishment of new medical college i.e. the essentiality certificate  from
the State Government and the consent of  affiliation  from  the  affiliating
University. The  application  dated  26.09.2012  for  the  establishment  of
Maharishi  Markandeshwar  medical  college  was  submitted  along  with   an
essentiality certificate  dated  24.08.2012  issued  by  the  Government  of
Himachal Pradesh and consent  of  affiliation  dated  25.08.2012  issued  by
Maharishi Markandeshwar University. It is relevant to  point  out  that  the
essentiality certificate dated 24.08.2012 issued by  the  Special  Secretary
(Health) to the Government of Himachal Pradesh was in  favour  of  Maharishi
Markandeshwar University Trust, Kumarhatti, Solan (H.P.).  The  essentiality
certificate dated 24.08.2012  clearly  certified  that  it  is  feasible  to
establish a medical college at Kumarhatti,  Distt.  Solan,  H.P.  under  the
Maharishi Markandeshwar University.

      Further, it is to be noted that the State of Himachal Pradesh  by  Act
No.22/2010 enacted Maharishi  Markandeshwar  University  (Establishment  and
Regulation) Act, 2010 (hereinafter referred to  as  Maharishi  Markandeshwar
University Act) on 20.09.2010 to provide  establishment,  incorporation  and
regulation of Maharishi Markandeshwar  University,  Solan  Himachal  Pradesh
for higher education  and  to  regulate  its  functioning  and  for  matters
connected therewith or  incidental  thereto.  Section  5  of  the  Maharishi
Markandeshwar University Act, deals with the  power  and  functions  of  the
University. Section  5  (xxvi)  provides  that  the  University  can  set-up
colleges, institutions, off-campus centres, offshore campus,  study  centres
or to start distance education, after fulfilling the norms  and  regulations
of the Central Government Regulatory Bodies and  Central  Government  issued
from time to time, and after obtaining the specified approval of  the  State
Government.

      The Council accordingly processed the  application  of  the  Maharishi
Markandeshwar Medical College, on completing the  statutory  requirement  as
per the IMC Act, 1956 and the regulations  made  there  under.   A  physical
assessment of the applicant medical college was  carried  out,  where  after
the inspection  report  was  placed  before  the  then  Board  of  Governors
nominated by the Central Government who after considering the scheme of  the
applicant medical  college,  decided  to  grant  letter  of  intent  to  the
applicant for the  establishment  of  new  medical  college  at  Kumarhatti,
Solan, Himachal Pradesh u/s 10A of the Act from the  academic  year  2013-14
with certain conditions.  Accordingly the letter of  intent  was  issued  to
the applicant medical college on 12.07.2013.

      The applicant on fulfilling all the  conditions  as  provided  in  the
letter of  intent  was  thereafter  granted  the  letter  of  permission  on
14.07.2013 for establishment of Maharishi Markandeshwar  Medical  College  &
Hospital, Kumarhatti, Solan, Himachal Pradesh with 150 MBBS admissions  from
the academic year 2013-14.

       The  above  facts  clearly  establish  that  Maharishi  Markandeshwar
Medical  College  &   Hospital,   Solan   was   established   by   Maharishi
Markandeshwar University Trust under Maharishi Markandeshwar University  and
that the same is  permissible  under  section  5  (xxvi)  of  the  Maharishi
Markandeshwar University Act,  2010.   The  prohibition  as  provided  under
Section 7 of the Maharishi Markandeshwar University Act, 2010  will  not  be
applicable in the facts and circumstances of the present case  as  Maharishi
Markandeshwar Medical College & Hospital, Solan  is  a  constituent  college
under the said University.  The State  of  Himachal  Pradesh  while  issuing
essentiality certificate was aware of this fact  that  the  medical  college
will be established by the Maharishi Markandeshwar  University  Trust  under
Maharishi Markandeshwar University.

      Under these circumstances, the  Competent  Authority  holds  that  the
then  Board  of  Governors  nominated  by  the  Central  Govt.  had  granted
permission for establishment of Maharishi Markandeshwar  Medical  College  &
Hospital, Solan in accordance with the provisions of the IMC Act,  1956  and
the Regulations made thereunder and there is no need for reconsideration  of
the said decision.

                                                           Yours faithfully,
                                                                        Sd/-
                                                                 (B.D. Jain)
      Admn. Officer”

                                                         (emphasis supplied)


Even the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health &  Family  Welfare,  Government
of India sent a separate response on  15th  September,  2014  to  the  Chief
Secretary of the Government of Himachal Pradesh,  reiterating  the  position
stated  by  the  Medical  Council  of  India  in  its  communication   dated
26.08.2014. This communication reads as under:
                            “Government of India
                     Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
                       Nirman Bhavan, New Delhi-110011

D.O. No.U-12012/11/2013-ME-P.H.
    Dated the 15th September, 2014
Dear Sir,
      This is with reference to Govt. of  Himachal  Pradesh  letter  No.HFW-
B(F)11-4/2013 dated 23rd  June,  2014  regarding  affiliation  of  Maharashi
Markandeshwar Medical College, Kumarhatti, Distt. Solan, H.P.
      The Medical Council of  India  vide  their  communication  dated  26th
August, 2014 (copy enclosed) addressed to Special Secretary (Health),  Govt.
of Himachal Pradesh has informed that the prohibition  under  Section  7  of
Maharishi Markandeshwar University (Establishment and Regulation) Act,  2010
will not be applicable in the facts and circumstances of  the  present  case
if the Section 7 is read with section 5 (xxvi) of which  provides  that  the
University can set-up colleges, institutions campus centre/offshore  campus,
study centres or to start distance education,  after  fulfilling  the  norms
and regulations of the Central  Government  Regulatory  Bodies  and  Central
government issued from time to  time,  and  after  obtaining  the  specified
approval of the State Government.
       The  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  Medical  College  &  Hospital   is   a
constituent college under the said University and the State  Government  has
issued Essentiality Certificate/NOC in  favour  of  Maharishi  Markandeshwar
University certifying the feasibility to  establish  a  medical  college  at
Kamarhatti, District Solan, Himachal Pradesh.

      With Kind regards,
                                             Yours sincerely,
                                                         Sd/-
                                        (Dr. Vishwas Mehra)”

                                                         (emphasis supplied)



5.    The Central Government, accordingly, issued a letter of permission  to
the Appellant No.1 - College for 150  students  annual  intake  capacity  in
academic year 2014 – 2015. Out of total 75 State quota  MBBS  seats  in  the
Appellant No.1 – College, only 35 seats could be filled  up.  As  a  result,
one more competitive entrance test was held for  the  left-out  MBBS  seats,
under  the  supervision  of  the  officers  of  the  Government  deputed  to
conduct/process the said examination. For academic year  2015  –  2016,  the
Central Government once again issued a letter  of  permission  to  Appellant
No.1 - College for 150 seats annual intake.


6.    The Appellant No.2 was, however, called upon by the  State  Government
vide letter dated 01.06.2015 to  comply  with  the  admission  procedure  as
provided in  the  notification  issued  on  14.08.2013  and  the  amendments
thereto dated 31.08.2013 and 19.12.2014,  while  making  admissions  to  the
third batch of MBBS students in the Appellant No.1 - College. The  Registrar
of the Appellant No.2 - University  then  wrote  to  the  Special  Secretary
(Health) to Government of Himachal Pradesh  vide  letter  dated  04.06.2015,
asserting that the 2010 Act authorised the Appellant No.2  -  University  to
conduct its own entrance test,  in  view  of  the  recent  decision  of  the
Supreme Court. The Health, Revenue and Law Minister, Government of  Himachal
Pradesh vide  letter  dated  05.06.2015,  immediately  wrote  to  the  Union
Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government  of  India  requesting  the
Central Government and the Medical  Council  of  India  to  take  corrective
measures so that the Appellant No.1 - medical college  could  be  affiliated
to Himachal Pradesh University at Shimla. In view of the stand taken by  the
State Government, the Fee Committee constituted for  fixation  of  fees,  in
its meeting held on 07.07.2015 recommended that  since  the  affiliation  of
Appellant No.1 - medical college was under dispute  and  reference  in  that
behalf was pending with the Central Government, in the  meantime,  necessary
amendments ought be made to the 2010 Act and the 2006  Act,  to  the  extent
that all the medical courses in any institution under any  University  shall
be regulated under the “private medical institutions under 2006 Act”.


7.    In the context of the correspondence made  by  the  State  Government,
the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Health & Family  Welfare,  Government
of India vide letter dated 10.07.2015,  wrote  to  the  Medical  Council  of
India to offer its comments on the communication  received  from  the  State
Government dated 05.06.2015. The Medical Council of India,  in  turn,  wrote
to the Secretary of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,  Government  of
India about the correct perception of the Medical Council of  India  on  the
subject matter vide its letter  dated  02.09.2015.  The  said  letter  reads
thus:

                          “MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA

MCI-No. 34(41)(E-46)/2013-Med./131542   Dated: 02.9.15

The Secretary
Govt. of India,
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,
Nirman Bhawan,
New Delhi-110011.

Sub.: Maharishi Markandeshwar Medical College & Hospital
      Kumarhatti, Distt. Solan – reg.

Sir,
      This is with  reference  to  your  letter  No.U.12012/11/2013-ME(P-II)
dated 10.07.2015 by which you have forwarded  a  copy  of  the  D.O.  letter
dated 05.06.2015 received from  Shri  Kaul  Singh  Thakur,  Hon’ble  Health,
revenue and Law Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh relating  to  the  issue
of  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  Medical  College  and  Hospital,   Kumarhatti,
District Solan, Himachal Pradesh. The matter was  examined  by  the  Council
Office on  the  basis  of  records  furnished  by  the  applicant  Maharishi
Markandeshwar University  trust  the  applicant  for  the  establishment  of
Maharishi Markandeshwar Medical College and Hospital,  Kumarhatti,  District
Solan, Himachal Pradesh. In this  regard,  the  Council  has  the  following
comments to offer:

The  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  University  is  establish  under  an  Act  of
Himachal  Pradesh  State  namely  the  Maharishi  Markandeshwar   University
(Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2010. This Act vide  Section  2  (p)  of
the said Act recognize the  Status  of  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  University
trust and defines it thus:-

“sponsoring body” means the Maharishi Markandeshwar  University  Trust,  55,
Model town, Ambala registered under the Indian Trust Act,  1882  through  it
subsidiary trust “Maharishi Markandeshwar University Trust” in the State  of
Himachal Pradesh.

Further  Section  5  (v-a)  of  the   Maharishi   Markandeshwar   University
(Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2010 provides that:-

“the sponsoring body/university shall appoint full  time  regular  employees
for the university and the salary of the employees  shall  be  deposited  in
the bank account of the employees every month”.

Section 8 (i) of the Maharishi Markandeshwar University  (Establishment  and
Regulation) Act, 2010  requires  the  sponsoring  body  shall  establish  an
Endowment Fund for the University with  an  amount  of  three  crore  rupees
which shall be pledged to the government of Himachal Pradesh.

It is to be noted that the Act  passed  by  the  State  Legislature  accords
recognition  to  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  University  Trust  and  for  that
purpose the responsibility of  paying  salary  as  well  as  maintaining  an
Endowment Fund with the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh has been casted  upon  the
sponsoring  body  of  Maharishi  Markandeshwar  which   is   the   Maharishi
Markandeshwar  University  Trust.  Thus,  though  in   law   the   Maharishi
Markandeshwar University Trust and Maharishi  Markandeshwar  University  are
two distinct  legal  entity,  however,  the  responsibility  of  maintaining
endowment fund and paying salary to the Staff has been  entrusted  upon  the
sponsoring Trust. It is this Marakandeshwar University  at  Solan,  Himachal
Pradesh. Therefore, the above clearly  reveals  that  it  is  the  Maharishi
Markandeshwar  University  Trust  which  has   established   the   Maharishi
Markandeshwar University and it is responsible for running  the  affairs  of
Maharishi Markandeshwar University.


It is  not  out  of  place  to  mention  that  the  Maharishi  Markandeshwar
University is statutorily empowered by way  of  Section  5  (1)  (xxvi)  “to
setup colleges”. Hence, when the State Legislature has  itself  granted  the
right to Maharishi Markandeshwar University to have its  own  colleges  then
in such case affiliating its medical  college  to  another  University  i.e.
H.P. University appears to be contrary to the Act of Himachal Legislature.


It is pertinent to add that the copy  of  the  Letter  of  Permission  dated
14.07.2013 was also marked to the Secretary (Medical  Education)  Department
of Health & Family Welfare, Shimla and  the  Director  Medical  Education  &
Research, Shimla and the first correspondence  raising  any  objection  from
the State Govt. was received only on 18.01.2014 that was duly  examined  and
replied to by the Council vide its letters dated 14.02.2014 and 26.02.2014.

  Yours faithfully,
Sd/-
(S. Savitha)
         Asstt. Secretary.”

                                                         (emphasis supplied)
8.    Realising the legal obstacles to impel the Appellant  No.1  -  College
to obtain affiliation from Himachal Pradesh University  and  presumably,  as
recommended by the Fee Committee, steps were taken to amend the 2006 Act  by
amending Section 3 thereof. Sections 3(6), 3(6a), 3(6b)  and  3(6c)  in  the
said Act were inserted. The statement of objects and reasons  for  the  said
amendment reads thus:

                      “STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

Section 3 of the Himachal Pradesh Private Medical  Educational  Institutions
(Regulation of Admission  and  Fixation  of  Fee)  Act,  2006  provides  for
regulation of admission in Private Medical  Education  Institutions  on  the
basis of merit obtained in Centralized Common  Entrance  Test.  However,  it
has been observed that due to some loopholes and ambiguities in  definitions
of clauses (e) and (j) of section 3, the  same  are  being  misused  by  the
Private  Medical  Institutions  to  introduce  element  of  opaqueness   and
irregularities in the admission process. Therefore, to plug such  loopholes,
it is considered necessary to  remove  these  ambiguities  and  to  redefine
clauses (e) and (j) of Section 2 and also to amend 3 of  the  Act  ibid,  so
that the admissions are made  from  the  Centralized  examinations  (AIIPMT,
NEET) conducted by either central agency (with CBSE) or by Himachal  Pradesh
University and to ensure that all Private Medical  Educational  Institutions
are regulated under the provisions of the Act ibid.  This  has  necessitated
amendment in the Act ibid.
      The Bill seeks to achieve the aforesaid objectives.

                                                         (KAUL SINGH THAKUR)
Shimla:                                 Minister-in-Charge
Dated: Nil”

9.    The 2006 Act was accordingly amended with a view to make it  mandatory
for all the private medical  institutions  set  up  in  the  State  to  take
affiliation from the Himachal Pradesh University.  As  the  purport  of  the
amendment affected the autonomy of the  Appellant  No.2  -  University,  the
Appellants challenged the amendments to 2006 Act inter alia  on  the  ground
that it was the outcome of legal malice. The Appellants, therefore, filed  a
writ petition before the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at  Shimla  for  the
following reliefs:
                                  “PRAYER:

It is therefore most respectfully prayed that this  Hon’ble  Court  may,  in
the interest of justice, be pleased
To issue a writ in the nature of mandamus or  any  other  appropriate  writ,
direction or order striking down Sections 3(6), 3(6)(a) and 3(6)(b)  of  the
Himachal Pradesh Private Medical  Educational  Institutions  (Regulation  of
Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act,  2006  as  amended  vide  Amendment  Act
No.24 of 2015 as null and void being wholly arbitrary, grossly malafide,  in
contravention of the law settled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and  in  naked
breach of the fundamental rights of the petitioners  under  Article  19  (1)
(g) of the Constitution of India.
To issue the orders of  appropriate  nature  that  the  petitioner  No.1  MM
Medical College and Hospital or any other Institutions  of  Medical  Streams
which may be started by petitioners be governed by the MMU (E&R) Act.
That the Respondents may be directed to produce the records of the case.
Any other order deemed just and proper may also be passed in the  facts  and
circumstances stated herein below in favour of the petitioners.”


10.   By the impugned judgment the High Court  rejected  the  writ  petition
and in doing so, made a distinction between the  authority  of  the  Medical
Council of India to grant “recognition”  and  the  authority  of  the  State
Government or  the  University  to  grant  “affiliation”  for  starting  any
medical college within the State. The High Court adverted  to  the  decision
of this Court in the case of Modern Dental College and Research  Centre  and
Others Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and Others[1] to conclude that the  grant
of affiliation was a pre-condition for granting  recognition  and  that  the
process of the grant of affiliation was not a mere formality on the part  of
the examining body. The authority to grant affiliation  was  vested  in  the
affiliating/examining body and the affiliation  could  be  granted  only  by
following prescribed procedure and  after  application  of  mind.  The  High
Court further held that the examining body could  always  impose  conditions
as per its own requirements, such as:
“a)   eligibility of students for admission;
conduct of examinations;
the manner in which the prescribed courses should
be completed; and

to see that the conditions imposed by the MCI are


complied with.”


The High Court held that the affiliating body must exercise  its  discretion
fairly and transparently. Further, the functions  of  the  affiliating  body
were complementary to the recognition to be given by the Medical Council  of
India and not in derogation thereof. The  High  Court  then  relied  on  the
decisions of this Court in the case  of  Rajasthan  Pradesh  Vaidya  Samiti,
Sardarshahar and another Vs. Union of India and  others[2]  and  in  Bhartia
Education Society and Another Vs. State of Himachal  Pradesh  and  Others[3]
for the purpose of differentiating between the scope  of  “recognition”  and
“affiliation”. The High Court noted that the purpose of  affiliation  is  to
enable and permit an institution to send  students  to  participate  in  the
public  examination  conducted  by  the  examining  body  and   secure   the
qualification for Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates.  On  the  other  hand,
the purpose of recognition  is  to  grant  licence  to  start  a  course  or
training in the concerned stream of education.  The High Court  then  relied
on the decision in the case of State  of  Madhya  Pradesh  and  Another  Vs.
Kumari Nivedita Jain and Others[4]     which  has  delineated   the   powers
conferred on the Medical Council               of India under  the  MCI  Act
to empower it to make regulations for carrying out the purpose of that  Act.
The  High  Court  then  adverted  to  Section  7  of  the  Himachal  Pradesh
University Act, 1970 (for short “1970  Act”)  and  noted  that  that  was  a
parent statute under which  all  the  Universities  in  the  State  must  be
constituted. It then went on to observe thus:

“49.  Indubitably, the petitioners have not assailed  the  constitutionality
of the aforesaid provision. Sub-section (2) of section  7  starts  with  the
non-obstante clause  and,  therefore,  would  have  predominance  and  would
prevail inspite of anything contrary contained in  any  other  law  for  the
time being in force. Once that is so, the petitioners can have no  right  to
claim that it should be affiliated to a University  of  its  choice  despite
the fact as contained in section 7 (supra)

50.   Even otherwise the State Government in  its  quest  and  endeavour  to
ensure common standards of maintaining the excellence of  medical  education
within the State can always  exercise  its  power  to  affiliate  a  private
educational medical institute set up in a State to a  particular  University
set up within the State, as this power vests within the exclusive domain  of
the State. The State can always act as  a  regulatory  authority  to  ensure
good quality education and see that the  excellence  of  education  standard
does not fall below than what has been prescribed by the  State  Government.
Rather, it is crucial for the State to act as a regulator even if  this  may
have some effect on the autonomy of the private institution  as  that  would
not mean that the freedom of the Institute under Article 19(1)  (g)  of  the
Constitution of India has been violated.”


The High Court then relied on its earlier decision in the case of  H-Private
Universities Management Association (H-PUMA) Vs. State of  Himachal  Pradesh
and others[5] which dealt  with  the  extent  to  which  a  private  unaided
institution could claim freedom under Article 19(1) (g) of the  Constitution
of India. It noted that the said decision has been affirmed  by  this  Court
with the dismissal of SLP on 21.11.2014. After noticing  the  aforementioned
decisions, in paragraph 53 and 54 the Court concluded thus:

“53. From the aforesaid detailed discussion, we are of the  considered  view
that the provisions of the MCI Act identify the scope and  extent  of  power
which  each  of  the  State  stakeholders,  i.e.  MCI,   State   Government,
Affiliating Body or the University is expected to exercise.  While  the  MCI
has  been  assigned  the  paramount  role  of  according  recognition,   the
affiliation is best left to the State  Government/University/examining  body
and, therefore, it is beyond the  competence  of  the  MCI  or  the  Central
Government to dictate terms to the State insofar as the  question  of  grant
of ‘affiliation’ is concerned or direct the State  to  affiliate  a  Medical
College to a particular  University.  This  is  clearly  beyond  the  powers
conferred by the Constitution  upon  the  Central  Government  or  for  that
matter even the MCI. Even the College seeking affiliation is  bound  by  the
provisions of the Himachal Pradesh University Act, 1970, more  particularly,
the provisions contained in Section 7 thereof and cannot of  its  own  claim
any right of privilege to get affiliated to any  University  of  its  choice
including petitioner No.2.

54.   Having said so, we find no merit in this  petition  and  the  same  is
accordingly dismissed alongwith all  applications  leaving  the  parties  to
bear their own costs.”



11.   The counsel for the Appellants submits that the  core  issue  involved
and as was raised before the High Court, has not been  answered,  much  less
appropriately.  According  to  the  Appellants,   the   Appellant   No.2   –
University, having been established under an independent  State  Legislation
i.e. the 2010 Act, is an autonomous and independent University and is  fully
authorised to start “campus/study centres” of its own. The  Appellant  No.1,
a constituent college, being one of its segment, cannot  be  asked  to  take
affiliation  from  another  independent  University  in  the   State.   That
stipulation impinges upon the autonomy of the Appellant No.2  –  University;
and moreso such dispensation is not envisaged under  the  2010  Act.  It  is
submitted that although the 2006 Act is applicable and will  be  adhered  to
by the Appellant No.2 - University and  its  constituent  colleges  for  all
other  purposes,  that  does  not  mean  that  the  constituent  college  of
Appellant No.2 - University  can  be  compelled  to  take  affiliation  from
Himachal Pradesh University by remodeling the definition of Private  Medical
Educational  Institutions  under  the  2006  Act  and  correspondingly,   by
introducing stipulation in that behalf in Section 3 (6a) of that Act. It  is
submitted that the amendment in the 2006 Act cannot  undermine  the  Special
Legislation under which the Appellant No.2 -University has been  established
viz. the 2010 Act. It is contended that the 2006 Act deals with  the  regime
regarding Admission and Fixation  of  Fee  in  Private  Medical  Educational
Institutions in the State and for matters connected therewith or  incidental
thereto. That is the limited field in which it must  operate.  Whereas,  the
2010 Act is a special legislation not only dealing  with  establishment  and
incorporation of the Appellant No.2 - University  but  also  for  regulation
and administration of the said University. The objects and functions of  the
University so established under a  Special  Legislation  must  prevail  with
regard to the matter of grant of affiliation to  its  constituent  colleges.
What has been prohibited by Section 7 of the 2010 Act, is  to  affiliate  or
otherwise admit to its privileges any other institutions. Section 7  has  no
bearing on the matter in issue, which concerns the  starting  of  a  medical
college as a constituent of the  Appellant  No.2  -  University.  Thus,  the
authority to grant affiliation to colleges which  are  constituents  of  the
Appellant No.2 - University must vest with the Appellant No.2  –  University
and not with any other University. Taking any  other  view  will  entail  in
undermining the autonomy of the Appellant  No.2  –  University,  established
under the 2010 Act. For that reason, the amendment  made  in  the  2006  Act
will be in conflict with the special  legislation,  namely,  2010  Act;  and
moreso the autonomy of the Appellant No.2 - University. The 2006 Act  cannot
have  an  overriding  effect  on  a  special  legislation  under  which  the
Appellant No.2 – University has been established. The 2010  Act  deals  with
establishment of an independent University with full autonomy  to  discharge
its powers and functions as per the objects in Section 3 of the  Act,  which
includes to set up its constituent colleges, establish  its  campus  in  the
State, create centres of excellence for research and development,  establish
examination centres, off campus centres or to start distance education,  and
institute degrees, diplomas, certificates and  other  academic  distinctions
on the basis of examinations or such other  method,  subject  to  fulfilling
the norms of the Central Government Regulatory Bodies and which the  Central
Government may issue from  time  to  time.  Further,  the  State  Government
having already issued the essentiality certificate; and the  Appellant  No.1
-  College  being  a  constituent  of  the  Appellant  No.2  –   University,
affiliation  from  Himachal  Pradesh  University  was  not  required  to  be
obtained at all. The requirement  postulated  under  the  amended  2006  Act
would, however, compel the Appellant No.1 – College, which is a  constituent
of the Appellant  No.2  –  University,  to  take  affiliation  from  another
University.  That will inevitably make an inroad into the  autonomy  of  the
Appellant No.2 - University.  The purpose for which affiliation is  required
to be taken is already ensured by the Appellant  No.2  –  University,  while
starting its constituent college. Another University cannot  be  allowed  to
sit over the subjective satisfaction of the Appellant No.2 -  University  on
those aspects.  That is not envisaged under  the  2010  Act.  Moreover,  the
private medical institution referred to in amended  Section  3(6a)  must  be
understood to be a private medical  college  affiliated  to  the  respective
Universities, namely  Himachal  Pradesh  University  and  Appellant  No.2  –
University, as the case may be. The amendment to Section 2(j) is also of  no
utility even if the Appellant No.2 - University has no  power  to  affiliate
or extend its privileges to any other institution. It is submitted that  the
expression “Himachal Pradesh” occurring in Section  3(6a)  of  2006  Act  as
amended, deserves to be struck down and in  which  case,  the  rest  of  the
provision would apply  to  the  institutions  affiliated  to  the  concerned
University namely “Himachal Pradesh University”  or  the  Appellant  No.2  -
University as the case may be.  In other words, the  power  to  affiliate  a
private medical institution set up in the State  as  a  constituent  of  the
Appellant No.2 – University, would vest and must  remain  in  the  Appellant
No.2- University established  under  the  2010  Act.  The  counsel  for  the
Appellants made it amply  clear  that  except  the  mandatory  condition  of
affiliation of the Himachal Pradesh  University  even  for  its  constituent
college, as per the amending Act, the Appellants  are  not  challenging  any
other stipulation regarding the procedure for admission or fixation of  fees
to medical courses governed by the provisions of the 2006 Act.


12.   The counsels for the Respondents (Medical Council of India  and  Union
of India) have reiterated the stand of the said Authorities, as  articulated
in their correspondence reproduced above. That stand supports the  claim  of
the Appellants.


13.   The counsel for the State, however, supports the decision of the  High
Court and submits that the  essentiality  certificate  to  establish  a  new
medical college was given to the Appellants on the condition that  it  shall
be governed as per the provisions of the 2006 Act,  in  respect  of  matters
concerning admissions, fee structure and related issues.  It  is  therefore,
not open to the Appellants to  now  question  the  intention  of  the  State
Legislature much less contend that the amended provisions of  the  2006  Act
are ultra vires. He submits that the role of  the  affiliating  body  is  to
ensure that the college would be able to maintain  the  requisite  standards
regarding quality education to be imparted by the college. He  submits  that
the State Legislature is competent to enact a  law  on  those  matters.  The
Appellant No.2 - University  has  no  power  to  grant  affiliation  to  any
college.  Section  7  of  the  2010  Act  prohibits  the  Appellant  No.2  –
University from affiliating or otherwise extending  its  privileges  to  any
other institution. Moreover, Section 7 of the  Himachal  Pradesh  University
Act, 1970 is the bulwark under which all the Universities in the State  have
to be constituted and governed. He submits that  there  is  no  conflict  or
incompatibility between the provisions of the 2010 Act  and  the  2006  Act,
much less the 1970 Act. The Appellant No.1 medical  college  would  thus  be
governed by the provisions of 2006 Act, as amended from time  to  time.  The
2006 Act is also a Special Legislation and must  prevail  over  the  general
powers and functions of the Appellant No.2  –  University,  accorded  to  it
under the 2010 Act. The Appellant No.1 -  College  can  admit  students  for
medical course provided it fulfills the conditions specified under the  2006
Act. That Act requires all  the  private  colleges  in  the  State  to  take
affiliation from the Himachal Pradesh University. That  condition  does  not
whittle down the autonomy of the Appellant  No.2  –  University,  which  has
been established under  the  2010  Act.  The  Act  of  2006,  is  a  Special
Legislation regarding admissions to medical courses and fixation of fee.  If
the Appellant No.1 - College fails to comply with any mandatory  requirement
stipulated therein, it must suffer the consequence as provided  for  in  the
said enactment. The requirement specified as per the amended provisions,  to
take affiliation from Himachal  Pradesh  University  is  applicable  to  the
Appellant No.1 - College alone and does not impinge  upon  the  autonomy  of
the Appellant No.2 - University. The fact that Appellant No.1 -  College  is
a constituent of the Appellant No.2 –  University,  does  not  extricate  it
from the definition of  a  Private  Medical  Educational  Institution  under
Section 2 (j) of the 2006 Act, as amended. He submits  that  the  fact  that
the Appellants have conceded to abide by the other stipulations in the  2006
Act, itself dispels the argument of the Appellants that the autonomy of  the
Appellant No.2 - University will be affected in  any  manner.  Inasmuch  as,
the 2006 Act covers the  gamut  of  matters  regarding  the  eligibility  of
students, the mode of conduct of  examinations,  the  manner  in  which  the
prescribed courses should be conducted including the quantum of fees  to  be
levied on the students admitted in the medical colleges  in  the  State.  He
submits that no argument with regard to lack of legislative  competence  has
been  advanced.  Further,  the  respective  State  Legislations  operate  in
different fields and although may be overlapping in some areas,  that  would
not make the 2006 Act or the amended provisions thereof ultra vires  in  any
manner. He submits that the appeal deserves to be dismissed.


14.   After considering the rival submissions, we are in agreement with  the
Appellants that the High Court has not touched upon the core issue  relating
to the autonomy of the Appellant No. 2 – University including its  authority
to start a constituent medical college,  as  prescribed  by  the  2010  Act.
Admittedly, the Appellant No. 2 – University has been established under  the
2010 Act.  This Act received the assent of the Governor on  15th  September,
2010 and was brought into force w.e.f. 16th June, 2010.  The  intendment  of
the 2010 Act is to provide for establishment, incorporation  and  regulation
of the Appellant No. 2 - University for higher education,  to  regulate  its
functioning and for  matters  connected  therewith  or  incidental  thereto.
Section 2 (b) defines the expression “Campus”, as ‘the  area  of  University
within which it is established’.  This  Act  also  predicates  imparting  of
education  by  Appellant  No.  2  -  University  by  distance  education  by
combination of any two or more means of communication, namely  broadcasting,
telecasting, correspondence courses, seminars, contact  programmes  and  any
other such methodology. The expression “off campus/study  centre”  has  been
defined in Section 2(k) to mean a centre of the  University  established  by
it outside the main campus  operated  and  maintained  as  its  “constituent
unit”, having the university’s complement of facilities, faculty and  staff.
 That would obviously be an integral part of the functions of the  Appellant
No.2  –  University.   The  expression  “study  centre”,  means   a   centre
established and maintained or recognized by the University for  the  purpose
of advising, counseling or for rendering any other  assistance  required  by
the students of the Appellants in the context of distance education, as  set
out in Section  2(t).  The  expression  “University”  has  been  defined  in
Section 2(v) to mean Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Solan  in  Himachal
Pradesh. Section 3 provides for the objects of the  University.   It  is  an
inclusive provision.  The same reads thus :--

“3.   The objects of the University shall includes,-
to provide instructions, teaching and training in higher education with a
view to create higher levels of intellectual abilities;
 to establish facilities for education and training;
 to carry out teaching, research and offer continuing education programmes;
 to create centres of excellence for research and  development  relevant  to
the needs of the State and for sharing knowledge and its application;
 to establish campus in the State;
 to establish examination centres;
  to  institute  degrees,  diplomas,   certificates   and   other   academic
distinctions on the basis of examination or any  such  other  method;  while
doing so, the  University  shall  ensure  that  the  standards  of  degrees,
diplomas, certificates and other academic distinctions are  not  lower  than
those laid down by regulating bodies; and
 to set up off campus centres, subject to applicable rules or regulations.
  to  engage  in  areas  of  specialization  with  proven  ability  to  make
distinctive contributions to the  objectives  of  the  University  education
system that is academic engagement clearly distinguishable  from  programmes
of an ordinary nature that lead to conventional degrees  in  arts,  science,
engineering,  medicine,  dental,  pharmacy,  management,   etc.    routinely
offered by conventional institutions; and
to establish broad-based  and  viable  under  graduate,  post  graduate  and
research programmes in several disciplines with the  firm  interdisciplinary
orientation and linkages.
 to make the  University  functional  within  one  year  from  the  date  of
commencement of this Act.”
                                                         (emphasis supplied)

Section 4, which is of some significance to the case on hand,  reads  thus:-


“4.  (1)  The  first  Chancellor  and  the  first  Vice-Chancellor  of   the
University and the first members of the Governing body, Board of  Management
and the Academic Council and all  persons  who  may  hereafter  become  such
officers or members, so long  as  they  continue  to  hold  such  office  or
membership,  are  hereby  constituted  a  body  corporate  by  the  name  of
Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh.
(2) The University shall have perpetual succession and  a  common  seal  and
shall sue and be sued by the said name.
(3) The  University  shall  be  situated  and  have  its  head  quarters  at
Kumarhatti-Solan, Himachal Pradesh.”
                                                         (emphasis supplied)


The extent to which the  Appellant  No.  2  -University  can  and  ought  to
exercise its powers and functions, can be discerned from Section  5  of  the
Act.  The same reads as follows:-

“5. (1) The University  shall  have  the  following  powers  and  functions,
namely:-
to provide for instructions in such branches of learning as  the  University
may, from time to time, determine, and to make provision  for  research  and
for  advancement  and  dissemination  of  knowledge  and  for  extension  of
education;
to conduct innovative experiments in modern methods and technologies in  the
field of technical education in order to  maintain  international  standards
of such education, training and research;
to organize and to undertake extra-mural teaching and extension services;
to hold examinations and grant  diplomas  and  certificates  to  and  confer
degrees and other academic distinctions on persons, subject  to  recognition
by any statutory body under any law, if required, and to withdraw  any  such
diplomas, certificates, degrees or other academic distinctions for good  and
sufficient cause;
to create such teaching, administrative and other posts  as  the  University
may deem necessary, from time to time, and make appointments thereto;
(v-a)  the  sponsoring  body/university  shall  appoint  full  time  regular
employees for the university and  the  salary  of  the  employees  shall  be
deposited in the bank account of the employees every month;
to institute and award Fellowships, Studentships and Prizes;
to  establish  and  maintain  Hostel  including  Halls;  recognize,   guide,
supervise  and  control  Hostels  including  Halls  not  maintained  by  the
University and other accommodation for the residence of  the  students,  and
to withdraw any such recognition;
to regulate and enforce discipline  among  students  and  employees  of  the
University  and  to  take  such  disciplinary  measures  as  may  be  deemed
necessary;
to make arrangements  for  promoting  health  and  general  welfare  of  the
students and the employees of the University and of the Colleges;
to determine the criterion for admission in the University or its Colleges;
to recognize for any purpose, either in whole or in  part,  any  institution
or members or students thereof on such terms and  conditions  as  may,  from
time to time, be specified and to withdraw such recognition;
to develop and maintain twinning arrangement with centers of  excellence  in
modern advanced technology in the developed countries for  higher  education
training  and  research,  including  distance  education  subject   to   the
University Grants Commission Act, 1956 and the regulations made thereunder;
to co-operate with any other University, authority  or  association  or  any
public body having purposes and objects similar to those of  the  University
for such purposes as may be agreed upon, on such  terms  and  conditions  as
may, from time to time, be specified by the University;
to co-operate with other National  and  International  institutions  in  the
conduct of research and higher education subject to  the  University  Grants
Commission Act, 1956 and the regulations made thereunder;
to deal with property belonging to  or  vested  in  the  University  in  any
manner which is considered  necessary  for  promoting  the  objects  of  the
University;
to enter into any agreement for the incorporation in the University  of  any
institution and for taking over its rights, properties and  liabilities  and
for any other purpose not repugnant to this Act;
to demand and receive payment of such fees  and  other  charges  as  may  be
specified from time to time;
to receive donations and grants, except from parents  and  students  and  to
acquire, hold, manage and dispose of any  property,  movable  or  immovable,
including trust or endowed property within or outside Himachal  Pradesh  for
the purposes and objects of the University, and  to  invest  funds  in  such
manner as the University thinks fit;
to make provisions for research and advisory services and for  that  purpose
to enter into such arrangements with other institutions  or  bodies  as  the
University may deem necessary;
to provide for the printing, reproduction and publication  of  research  and
other work, including text books, which may be issued by the University;
to accord recognition to institutions and examinations for admission in  the
University;
to do all such other things as may be necessary, incidental or conducive  to
the attainment of all or any of the objects of the University;
to frame statutes, ordinances and regulations for carrying out  the  objects
of the University in accordance with the provisions of the Act;
 to provide for dual  degrees,  diplomas  or  certificates  vis-à-vis  other
Universities on reciprocal basis within and outside the country;
to make provisions for integrated courses in different  disciplines  in  the
educational programmes of the University;
to set-up colleges,  institutions,  off-campus  centres,  off-shore  campus,
study centres or to start distance education,  after  fulfilling  the  norms
and regulations of the Central  Government  Regulatory  Bodies  and  Central
Government, issued from time to  time,  and  after  obtaining  the  specific
approval of the State Government; and
(xxvii)to seek collaboration with other institutions on mutually  acceptable
terms and conditions.
(2) in pursuit of  its  objects  and  in  exercise  of  its  powers  and  in
performing of its functions, the University shall not  discriminate  between
any person, whosoever, on the basis of caste,  class,  colour,  creed,  sex,
religion or race.”
                                                         (emphasis supplied)

Section 6 stipulates that the Appellant No. 2 – University  shall  be  self-
financed and shall not be entitled to receive any grant or  other  financial
assistance from the Government.  The University is required to establish  an
Endowment Fund in terms of Section 8 and a General Fund as  per  Section  9.
The manner in which the General Fund  is  to  be  utilized  is  set  out  in
Section 10 of the Act.  Section 11 of the Act provides for the  officers  of
the  University  and  their  designations.   Section  12  deals   with   the
appointment of the Chancellor of the Appellant No.2 –University,  who  shall
be the Head of the University and exercise powers as prescribed  therein.  A
similar provision is made in respect of appointment of  Vice-Chancellor  and
the exercise of powers by him under Section 13 of the  Act.  Section  14  of
the Act deals with the appointment of Registrar of the  University.  Section
15 provides for the appointment of Chief Finance  and  Accounts  Officer  of
the Appellant No. 2 - University.  Section 16 deals with the appointment  of
other officers as will be necessary for the  functioning  of  the  Appellant
No. 2 - University.  The authority of the Appellant No. 2 -  University  has
been spelt out in Section 17,  namely  the  Governing  Body,  the  Board  of
Management, the Academic Council  and  such  other  authorities  as  may  be
declared by the statutes to be  the  authorities  of  the  University.   The
Governing Body, consisting of members specified in Section 18,  is  supposed
to be the supreme body or supreme authority of the University. Powers to  be
exercised by the Governing Body are specified  in  the  same  Section  (i.e.
Section 18). Section  19  deals  with  the  constitution  of  the  Board  of
Management  and  its  powers  and  functions.  Section  20  stipulates   the
constitution of the Academic Council.


15.   From the aforementioned provisions, it is indisputable that  the  2010
Act purports  to  establish  an  independent  University  in  the  State  of
Himachal Pradesh,  having full autonomy as that of  any  other  full-fledged
University including the authority to start Multi-Faculty Education  Courses
within its campus and also constituent colleges off campus.   The  Appellant
No. 2 – University has been bestowed with the power to  confer  Degrees  and
Diplomas in terms of Section 35 of the Act. The same reads thus.:-

“35. The convocation of the University shall be held in every academic  year
in the manner as may be specified by the statutes  for  conferring  degrees,
diplomas or for any other purpose.”

The provisions regarding accreditation of the University  can  be  discerned
from Section 36 of the Act.  Section 37 postulates that the  Appellant  No.2
- University will be bound to comply with all  the  rules,  regulations  and
norms etc. of the regulating bodies and  provide  all  such  facilities  and
assistance to such bodies as are required by them to discharge their  duties
and to carry out their functions. The powers  of  the  State  Government  to
inspect the University can be traced to Section 40 of the Act.  The  special
power of the Government in certain circumstances can be found in Section  42
of the Act. Sections 40 and 42 of the Act read as follows:-

“40. (1)  For  the  purpose  of  ascertaining  the  standards  of  teaching,
examination and research or any other matter  relating  to  the  University,
the Government or the Regulatory Commission may, cause an assessment  to  be
made in such manner as may be prescribed, by such person or  persons  as  it
may deem fit.
(2) The Government or the Regulatory Commission, as the case may  be,  shall
communicate to the University its recommendations in regard  to  the  result
of such assessment for corrective action and the University shall take  such
corrective measures as are necessary so as to ensure the compliance  of  the
recommendations.
(3) If the University fails to comply with the  recommendations  made  under
sub-section (2) within a reasonable time, the Government or  the  Regulatory
Commission, as the case may be, may give such directions as it may deem  fit
which shall be binding on the University.
……               …..                    ……..

42. (1) If it appears to the Government that the University has  contravened
any of the provisions of this Act or the rules, statutes or ordinances  made
thereunder or has contravened any of the directions issued by it under  this
Act or has ceased to carry out any of the undertakings given or a  situation
of  financial  mis-management  or  mal-administration  has  arisen  in   the
University, it shall issue notice requiring the  University  to  show  cause
within forty five days as to why an order of its liquidation should  not  be
made.

(2) If the Government, on receipt of reply of the University on  the  notice
issued under sub-section (1), is satisfied that there is a prima facie  case
of contravening all or any of the provisions  of  this  Act  or  the  rules,
statues or ordinances made thereunder or of contravening  directions  issued
by it under this Act or of ceasing to carry out the undertaking given or  of
financial mis-management or mal-administration, it shall make  an  order  of
such enquiry as it may consider necessary.

(3) The Government shall, for the purpose of any enquiry  under  sub-section
(2), appoint an inquiry officer or officers  to  inquire  into  any  of  the
allegations and to make report thereon.

(4) The inquiry officer or officers  appointed  under  sub-section(3)  shall
have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of  Civil
Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit in respect  of  the  following  matters,
namely:-
(a) summoning and enforcing he attendance of any person  and  examining  him
on oath;
(b) requiring the discovery and production  of  any  such  document  or  any
other material as may be predicable in evidence
(c) requisitioning any public record from any court or office; and
(d) any other matter which may be prescribed.

(5) The inquiry officer or officers  inquiring  under  this  Act,  shall  be
deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of section 195  and  Chapter  26
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

(6) On receipt of the enquiry report from the officer or officers  appointed
under sub-section (3), if the Government is satisfied  that  the  University
has contravened all or any of the provisions  of  this  Act  or  the  rules,
statutes,  or  ordinances  made  thereunder  or  has  violated  any  of  the
directions issued by it under this Act  or  has  ceased  to  carry  out  the
undertakings given by it or a situation of financial mis-management and mal-
administration has arisen in the University  which  threatens  the  academic
standard of the University, it shall issue orders  for  the  liquidation  of
the University and appoint an administrator.

(7) The administrator appointed under sub-section (6)  shall  have  all  the
powers and be subject to all the duties of the Governing Body and the  Board
of Management under this  Act  and  shall  administer  the  affairs  of  the
University until the last batch of the students of the regular courses  have
completed their courses and they have  been  awarded  degrees,  diplomas  or
awards, as the case may be.

(8) After having awarded the degrees, diplomas or awards, as  the  case  may
be, to the last  batches  of  the  students  of  the  regular  courses,  the
administrator shall make a report to this effect to the Government.

(9) On receipt of the report under sub-section (8),  the  Government  shall,
by notification in the Official  Gazette,  issue  an  order  dissolving  the
University and from the  date  of  publication  of  such  notification,  the
University shall stand dissolved  and  all  the  assets  of  the  University
including assets of the sponsoring body pertaining to the  University  shall
vest in  the  Government  free  from  all  encumbrances  from  the  date  of
dissolution.”
Section 44 of the Act is a provision for removing any difficulty.  The  same
reads as follows:-

“44.(1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of  this
Act, the Government may, by order published in the  Official  Gazette,  make
provisions, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, as  appear  to
it to be necessary or expedient for removing the difficulty:

Provided that no such order shall be  made  under  this  section  after  the
expiry of a period of two years from the commencement of this Act.

(2) Every order made under this section shall, as soon as may  be  after  it
is made, be laid before the State Legislative Assembly.”


16.   From the legislative scheme of 2010  Act,  it  is  axiomatic  that  an
independent, autonomous University has  been  established  under  this  Act.
The Appellant No. 2 – University, therefore, has  all  the  trappings  of  a
full-fledged  University,  to  not  only  start   imparting   education   in
prescribed  courses  but  also  to  set  up  its  constituent  colleges   to
effectuate the purpose  for  which  the  University  has  been  established.
Indubitably, a constituent college of the University would  be  an  integral
part of the University.  In one sense, an alter ego  of  the  University.  A
student pursuing education in such a college will be required to  appear  in
the examination conducted by the Appellant No. 2 – University  and,  at  the
end of the academic year, it is the Appellant No. 2 - University  which  can
confer degrees or diplomas upon such successful students.

17.   Indeed,  affiliation  from  University  may  be  a  pre-condition  for
starting any  college  or  new  courses.  The  constituent  college  of  the
Appellant No. 2 – University would therefore, at best,  require  affiliation
from the Appellant No. 2. This  position  has  been  accepted  even  by  the
Medical Council of India and the Union of India.  It is, however, the  State
Government which has been insisting that the Appellant No. 1-  College  must
take affiliation from the Himachal Pradesh University established under  the
Himachal Pradesh University Act, 1970.  To buttress that stand, reliance  is
placed on Section 7 of the Act of 1970.  The same reads thus:

“7. Jurisdiction of the University.

 Save as otherwise provided by or under this Act, the  powers  conferred  on
the University shall  be  exercisable  in  the  area  constituting  Himachal
Pradesh.



Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the  time  being  in
force, no educational institution situated within the territorial limits  of
the University shall be admitted to any privilege of any  other  University,
incorporated by law in India, and any such privilege  granted  by  any  such
other  University  to  any  such  educational  institution  prior   to   the
commencement of this Act, shall  unless  otherwise  directed  by  the  State
Government be deemed to be withdrawn on the commencement of  this  Act,  and
any such institution shall be deemed to be admitted  to  the  privileges  of
the Himachal Pradesh University.



 Where any institution or body established outside  Himachal  Pradesh  seeks
recognition from the University, then the powers  and  jurisdiction  of  the
University shall extend to such institution or body subject to the  laws  in
force in the State within which,  and  the  rules  and  regulations  of  the
University within whose  jurisdiction,  the  said  institution  or  body  is
situated.”




It is unfathomable as to how sub section (2) of  this  provision  will  take
within its sweep another independent University established under a  special
State Legislation or a constituent college of such University. That  general
provision may apply to all other educational  institutions  situated  within
the State, but certainly not to an independent University established  under
a special State Legislation such as the  2010  Act  or  to  the  constituent
college of such an independent University.  Any  other  interpretation  will
entail in rewriting the provisions of the 2010 Act, if  not  doing  violence
thereto.


18.   Since the Appellant No. 2 did not accede to the demand  of  the  State
Government, provisions of the 2006 Act, came to be amended so  as  to  widen
the scope of  that  Act,  requiring  all  the  Private  Medical  Educational
Institutions set up in the State  to  take  affiliation  from  the  Himachal
Pradesh University. Notably, no corresponding amendment  has  been  made  in
the  2010  Act  under  which  the  Appellant  No.2  –  University  has  been
established as an independent autonomous University.  Nor has any  amendment
been  made  in  the  Himachal  Pradesh  University  Act,   1970,   mandating
affiliation of the constituent college  of  another  University  established
under a special  State  Legislation.  We  may  not  be  understood  to  have
expressed any opinion either way, that such a course is permissible.


19.   As noticed from the legislative scheme of the 2010 Act, the  Appellant
No. 2 has been established as an  independent,  autonomous  University  like
any other full-fledged University.  No doubt, some of the functions  of  the
University, be it the Appellant No. 2 – University or the  Himachal  Pradesh
University, have been  controlled  and  regulated  by  the  2006  Act.   The
limited issue raised by the Appellants,  however,  is  with  regard  to  the
mandate of the amended Section 3(6a),  requiring  all  the  Private  Medical
Institutions set up within the  State  to  take  affiliation  from  Himachal
Pradesh University.  To answer this argument,  we  must  first  analyse  the
scheme and purport of the 2006 Act.  It is an Act to provide for  regulation
of  admission  and  fixation  of  fee   in   Private   Medical   Educational
Institutions in the State of Himachal  Pradesh  and  for  matters  connected
therewith or incidental thereto. It is not an Act  for  establishment  of  a
University or, for that matter, dealing with the subject of starting  a  new
college or new courses  in  the  affiliated  college.  This  Act,  no  doubt
uniformly applies to all the institutions  affiliated  to  the  Universities
within the State of Himachal Pradesh, be it Himachal Pradesh  University  or
the Appellant No. 2 – University.   However,  the  object  of  this  Act  is
limited only to  regulate  admissions  as  per  the  extant  and  applicable
pronouncements of  this  Court;  and  to  determine  the  fee  structure  in
colleges imparting medical courses within the State.

20.   It is not the case of the Appellants that they  are  not  governed  by
the other provisions of the 2006 Act, but the limited grievance is that  the
amendment made to Section 3 of this Act has the effect of making  an  inroad
into the autonomy of the Appellant No. 2 – University, in respect of  matter
of grant of affiliation to its constituent college.   For  considering  this
argument, we must advert to Section 3, as  it  originally  stood.  The  same
reads thus :-
“3.Regulation of admission, fixation of fee and making of reservation.-  (1)
The State Government may regulate admission, fix fee  and  make  reservation
for different  categories  in  admissions  to  Private  Medical  Educational
Institutions.
(2) The State Government shall ensure  that  the  admission  under  all  the
categories in an institution is done in a fair and transparent manner;

(3) The State Government, may constitute an  Admission  and  Fee  Committee,
(hereinafter referred to as the ‘Committee’) consisting of such  members  as
may be specified by the State Government, by notification, to recommend  the
mode of admission, making of reservation, allocation of seats  and  fixation
of fees etc. to the State Government.

(4) The State Government, shall oversee the working  of  Admission  and  Fee
Committee.

(5) The terms and conditions of the Committee constituted under  sub-section
(3) and its  members  shall  be  specified,  by  the  State  Government,  by
notification from time to time.

(6) If the State Government is satisfied that the institution affiliated  to
the Himachal Pradesh University, has contravened any provision of this  Act,
it may recommend to  the  Himachal  Pradesh  University  for  withdrawal  of
recognition or affiliation of such institution.”


Sub-section  6  of  this  provision  came  to  be  amended  by   the   State
Legislation, so as to fortify the stand of the  State  Government  that  the
medical  college  started  as  a  constituent  of  the  Appellant  No.  2  –
University  would  also  require  affiliation  from  the  Himachal   Pradesh
University. As a result, sub-section 6 came to be amended in  the  following
terms:-

“In Section 3 of the principal Act, for sub-section (6), the following  sub-
sections shall be substituted, namely:-

“(6) If, the State Government is satisfied that the  institution  affiliated
to the Himachal Pradesh University or any other University  has  contravened
any of the provisions of this Act, it may recommend to that  University  for
withdrawal of recognition or affiliation of such institution.

(6a) In order to ensure common standards for maintaining the  excellence  of
Medical Education in the State, the Himachal Pradesh University  shall  have
the exclusive power to affiliate Private  Medical  Educational  Institutions
set up in the State; and

(6b) Notwithstanding anything contained in this  Act,  the  Private  Medical
Educational Institutions shall be  bound  to  comply  with  all  the  rules,
directions and notifications issued by the State Government,  from  time  to
time, and provide all such facilities and  assistance  as  are  required  to
implement such rules, directions and notifications”.

Along with sub-section 3, amendment was also effected  to  Section  2(j)  of
the 2006 Act by including a Private Medical Institution  established  by  or
affiliated to a private University  to  be  a  Private  Medical  Educational
Institution.  Once it is noted that the Appellant No. 2 – University  is  an
independent and a full-fledged University established under  an  independent
special State Legislation, it must be free to  discharge  its  functions  as
delineated in the 2010 Act. That, inter alia, includes granting  affiliation
to its constituent college which is one of the facets  of  autonomy  of  the
University. It is incomprehensible that a college which is a constituent  of
the Appellant No. 2 – University can be compelled to take  affiliation  from
some other University by taking recourse to the provisions of the  2006  Act
which primarily deals only with  the  subject  of  admissions  and  fees  in
private medical colleges within the State.  The grant of affiliation to  the
college is the prerogative of the examining body.  The  Appellant  No.  2  –
University, being the examining body, has been bestowed with  the  authority
to grant degrees and diplomas. The requirement of affiliation  from  another
University even in respect of its constituent college, would be striking  at
the autonomy of the Appellant No. 2 – University and in any case beyond  the
purview of the subject of admissions and fixation of fee for  which  limited
purpose the 2006 Act has been enacted.


21.   In the present case, it has been asserted that the Appellant No.  1  –
College is a constituent of the Appellant No. 2 –  University.   In  such  a
situation, it is unfathomable that the  requirement  of  taking  affiliation
from another University (Himachal Pradesh University)  established  under  a
separate  State  Legislation,  can  and  ought  to  be  insisted  upon.   If
insisted, it  would,  inevitably,  entail  in  making  an  inroad  into  the
autonomy of the Appellant No. 2 – University. True it is that Section  7  of
the 2010 Act does not empower the Appellant No. 2 – University to  affiliate
or otherwise admit to its privileges any other institution.  But  that  will
have no application to the case on hand. For, the Appellant No. 1 -  College
is none other than a constituent college of Appellant  No.  2  –  University
itself. The Medical Council of India as well as the Union  Government  have,
therefore, justly stated that it was not necessary for the Appellant No.1  -
College to take affiliation from the Himachal Pradesh University.


22.   A priori, we have no hesitation in taking the view  that  the  amended
provisions, in particular Section 3(6a), would impinge upon the autonomy  of
an independent University established under a  separate  State  Legislation.
Further, the field of affiliation  is  governed  by  the  State  legislation
under which the respective Universities have been  established.   The  power
of granting affiliation to colleges  under  the  control  of  the  concerned
University, must vest with the respective University to  which  the  college
will be affiliated. That power of granting affiliation,  by  the  University
concerned, therefore, cannot be whittled down by the 2006 Act or  amendments
made thereto. Understood thus, the amended provisions of Section 3  (6a)  of
the 2006 Act, cannot be sustained as the same are  unreasonable,  irrational
and  in  conflict  with  the  special  State  Legislation  under  which  the
Appellant No.2 – University has been established, namely the 2010 Act.


23.   We shall now examine the possibility  of  reading  down  the  impugned
provision in Section 3 (6a)  of  the  Act  so  as  to  save  it  from  being
unconstitutional.  That may be possible by giving a  restricted  meaning  to
the expression “Private Medical Educational  Institutions”  set  up  in  the
State, but for  the  amended  Section  2(j)  which  defines  the  expression
“Private Medical Educational Institutions” as under:-

“(j) “Private Medical Educational  Institution”  means  an  institution  not
promoted or run  by  the  Central  Government,  State  Government  or  Union
Territory Administration or any agency or instrumentality of the Central  or
State Government and includes  a  Private  Medical  Educational  Institution
established by or affiliated to a private University;”



This  expression  includes  a  Private   Medical   Educational   Institution
established by or affiliated to a private University.  We find force in  the
argument  of  the  Appellants  that  the  definition  of   Private   Medical
Educational Institution, as amended, can be extended to  the  Appellants  in
relation to other matters governed by the 2006 Act, except  the  mandate  of
requiring the Appellant  No.1  -  College  (a  constituent  college  of  the
Appellant No.2 – University) to take affiliation from the  Himachal  Pradesh
University. That requirement springs from Section 3 (6a).


24.   Indisputably, there is no other  private  medical  University  in  the
State except the Appellant No.2 - University.  Therefore,  we  explored  the
possibility of omitting  the  words  “Himachal  Pradesh”  from  the  amended
Section 3 (6a) to save the whole of that provision from  being  invalid,  as
was contended.  However, we find that if the words “Himachal Pradesh”  alone
were to be struck down,  the  remaining  Section  3  (6a)  may  create  some
confusion. It would then mean  that  Private  Medical  Institutions  in  the
State must  take  affiliation  from  the  “concerned”  University.  To  wit,
Himachal Pradesh University or the Appellant No.  2  –  University,  as  the
case may be. In other words, the concerned University can exercise power  to
affiliate a private medical institution set up in the State.   However,  the
Appellant No. 2 is not authorised to affiliate  a  private  medical  college
(not its constituent) by  virtue  of  Section  7  of  the  2010  Act,  which
prohibits the Appellant No.2 –  University  from  affiliating  or  otherwise
extending  to  its  privileges  any  other   institution.   Therefore,   the
appropriate course to avoid any confusion is to strike  down  Section  3(6a)
of the 2006 Act, as amended.


25.   It was vehemently argued  by  the  counsel  for  the  State  that  the
Appellant No. 2 – University was granted  essentiality  certificate  on  the
condition that it would abide by the provisions of the 2006  Act.  The  fact
that such condition was imposed  in  the  communication  dated  29th  August
2012, does not mean that the Appellant No.2 -University would be  bound  and
obliged  to  comply   with   even   an   onerous   stipulation,   which   is
unconstitutional and hit by Article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution  and
impinging upon its autonomy guaranteed under the 2010 Act.  The  High  Court
has adverted to the decisions which have culled out the distinction  between
“recognition” and “affiliation”.  We need not dilate on that  matter  except
to observe that it is well settled that affiliation is a matter  within  the
prerogative of the  Examining  Body  or  the  prescribed  Authority,  to  be
considered fairly and after due application of mind.


26.   As noted earlier, since the Appellant No.1 – College is a  constituent
of the Appellant No. 2 – University, the question of compelling it  to  take
affiliation from another University (Himachal Pradesh University) cannot  be
countenanced.


27.   Accordingly, this appeal should succeed. The impugned judgment of  the
High Court of Himachal Pradesh dated 20.12.2016 in CWP No.4773  of  2015  is
set aside. We also  strike  down  Section  3(6a)  of  the  Himachal  Pradesh
Private  Medical  Educational  Institutions  (Regulation  of  Admission  and
Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006, being irrational, unreasonable, ultra vires  and
unconstitutional.   Further,  the  Regulatory  Authorities  shall  forthwith
proceed in the matter without insisting for an affiliation of the  Appellant
No.1 – College (a constituent college of Appellant No.2 –  University)  from
the Himachal Pradesh University.

28.   The Appeal is allowed in the above terms with no order as to costs.

                                                         ...……………………………..J.
                                     (Dipak Misra)





                                              ..…..…………………………..J.
                                  (A.M.Khanwilkar)



                                  .…..…………………………..J.
                                  (Mohan M. Shantanagoudar)



New Delhi,
Dated: April 28, 2017
-----------------------
[1]

      [2] (2016) 7 SCC 353
[3]

      [4] (2010) 12 SCC 609
[5]

      [6] (2011) 4 SCC 527
[7]

      [8] (1981) 4 SCC 296
[9]

      [10] In writ petition No.7688 of 2013 decided on 23.07.2014


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