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In three months, SC gives breather to 25 medical colleges that were banned for two years

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In all the cases, the apex court restrained the government from encashing bank guarantees of Rs 2 crore each that the colleges had furnished.

New Delhi: In the last three months, the Supreme Court has given fresh opportunities to over 25 of the 34 medical colleges the central government barred for two years for substandard facilities.

In doing so, the Centre had overruled permissions granted by the court-appointed panel to oversee the functioning of the Medical Council for India (MCI).

In all the cases, the apex court restrained the government from encashing bank guarantees of Rs 2 crore each that the colleges had furnished. ThePrint has verified court orders in the cases.

More than 30 of these cases were heard by three-judge benches led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Details of the cases

The list of cases includes the one involving Lucknow’s Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences, in which allegations were made that bribes were collected to influence judges. The court had granted partial relief to Prasad Institute, directing the MCI to consider its application for a licence for 2018-2019, and also restrained it from encashing the bank guarantee.

In more than 25 cases, the court “allowed fresh inspection” for the next academic year, overturning the government’s order to debar the colleges for two years.

In one particular instance, the apex court invoked its jurisdiction under Article 142 to allow a medical college to participate in counselling. The provision allows the apex court to pass any decree or order necessary for doing “complete justice” in any case pending before it. The case involved Apollo Institute of Medical Sciences in Andhra Pradesh, another college that was not allowed by the government to admit fresh students for failing to meet prescribed standards.

In at least five cases, the apex court chastised the MCI for not following court directives. “No endeavour whatsoever, in our comprehension, has been made by the respondents, and that too in the face of an unequivocal direction by this Court, to fairly and consummately examine the materials on record in details before recording a final decision on the issue of confirmation or otherwise of the LOP granted to the petitioner’s college/institution,” the court said.

The paragraph surfaced verbatim in two judgments, involving Krishna Mohan Medical College in Mathura and Kanachur Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in Mangalore. Both rulings were written by Justice Amitava Roy, on 30 August and 1 September. Several subsequent rulings cited Roy’s criticism of the MCI.

Turf war

In May 2016, the apex court had appointed a committee, headed by former Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, to bring in transparency and accountability within the MCI, and oversee its statutory functioning.

Instead, the MCI and the oversight committee were engaged in a turf war, which ensured no structural reforms were possible. After the Lodha committee’s tenure ended, the apex court replaced it with another committee of top doctors in the country.

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