Deepa Thomas &
Ors. Vs. Medical Council of India & Ors.
[Civil Appeal No.
1015 of 2012 arising out of SLP (C) No. 27551 of 2010]
Anu Rubina Ansar
& Ors. Etc. Vs. Medical Council Of India & Ors.
[Civil Appeal Nos.
1016-1017 of 2012 arising out of SLP (C) No. 27950-27951 of 2010]
Anjana Babu &
Ors. Vs. Medical Council of India & Ors.
[Civil Appeal No.
1018 of 2012 arising out of SLP (C) No. 28474 of 2010]
Abhay Babu & Ors.
Vs. Medical Council of India & Ors.
[Civil Appeal No.
1027 Of 2012 arising out of SLP (C) No. 28611 of 2010]
J U D G M E N T
CYRIAC JOSEPH, J.
short question that arises for consideration in these Civil Appeals is whether
this Court should direct the respondents including the Medical Council of India
(for short `MCI'), the University of Calicut and the Mahatma Gandhi University,
Kottayam to permit the appellants to continue and complete the MBBS course to
which they were admitted in the different Private Unaided Medical Colleges in
Kerala in the academic year 2007-08, though they were not eligible for such
admissions as per the Regulations of the MCI, but had satisfied all the eligibility
criteria stipulated in the "Prospectus for MBBS Admission, 2007" issued
by the respondent-Medical Colleges.
The appellants are
stated to be victims of a mistake or omission crept in the Prospectus as
regards the eligibility criteria for admission. When the MCI Regulations insist
on a minimum of 50% marks both in the qualifying examination and in the
Competitive Entrance Examination (for short `CEE') separately, the Prospectus did
not specify that separate 50% marks were required in the CEE also.
Though the appellants
had secured more than 50% marks in the qualifying examination, they could
secure only less than 50% marks in the CEE. Without noticing and without being aware
of the difference between the MCI Regulations and the Prospectus in respect of the
eligibility criteria, the appellants took admission in the medical colleges.
Immediately after the admission the colleges sent the list of admitted students
and their marks to the MCI.
There was no objection
from the MCI and the appellants continued their studies. However, several 3months
thereafter, MCI directed the colleges concerned to discharge the appellants on
the ground that they were not eligible for admission as they had secured only
less than 50% marks in the CEE. Though the appellants and the colleges
represented to the MCI and requested to reconsider its decision, the MCI refused
to change its stand.
Hence, the appellants
were constrained to approach the High Court of Kerala for redressal of their grievance
and on the basis of interim orders passed by the High Court in the writ petitions
filed by them, the appellants continued their studies and appeared in the examinations
conducted by the University. However, the writ petitions filed by the
appellants were ultimately dismissed by the High Court on 16th September, 2010.
Faced with the threat of discharge from the colleges, the appellants have filed
these appeals by special leave.
On the strength of
the interim orders passed by this Court, the appellants continued their studies
and appeared in the examinations and they are now in the fourth year of the
MBBS course. The appellants claim that they are innocent victims of an inadvertent
and bona fide mistake or omission crept in the Prospectus as regards the eligibility
criteria for admission.
They contend that
even if there was some discrepancy between the eligibility criteria mentioned in
the Prospectus and the eligibility criteria mentioned in the MCI Regulations,
they were not in any way responsible for such discrepancy and they may not be
penalised for no fault of theirs. The appellants seek intervention of this
Court to save their career and future.
appellants are students of Jubilee Medical Mission College and Research Institute,
Thrissur, M.E.S. Medical College, Perinthalmanna, Malankara Orthodox Syrian
Church Medical College, Kolenchery and Pushapagiri Institute of Medical
Sciences & Research Centre, Thiruvalla. Admittedly all these medical
colleges are members of the Kerala Private Medical College Management Association
(for short, `Management Association') and the Prospectus for admission to MBBS course,
2007 issued by the Management Association was followed by these medical
colleges except the M.E.S. Medical College. The prospectus issued by the M.E.S.
Medical College also contained identical provisions relating to eligibility
criteria for admission.
per Clause 1.1 of the Prospectus, it was made clear that the Management Association
had decided to introduce a separate selection procedure for admission to MBBS
course, 2007-2008 in the member colleges of the Management Association as per
the directions of the Supreme Court in the matter.
As per Clause 2.(i), the
academic qualification required for admission was "Pass in Higher
Secondary Examination of the Board of Higher Secondary Education of Kerala or examination
recognised equivalent thereto with 60% marks in Biology separately and 60%
marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology put together or equivalent grade".
Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus provided as follows: "Preparation of Merit List
and Allotment of Candidates: Admission will be on the basis of marks obtained in
the entrance examination and marks obtained for Physics, Chemistry and Biology in
the qualifying examination.
The marks will be
apportioned in the ratio of 50:50. After the entrance test, the marks obtained for
the Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the qualifying examination will be added to
the marks obtained at the entrance test and a combined merit list will be published.
Separate merit list also will be published for categories for which seats are reserved.
Allotment to colleges and admission will be on the basis of centralized
"As per the above
provisions in the Prospectus, even though a candidate was required to pass the
Higher Secondary Examination of the Board of Higher Secondary Education of Kerala
or examination recognised equivalent thereto with 60% marks in Biology separately
and 60% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology put together, there was no
requirement of any minimum marks in the entrance examination.
cannot be disputed that admissions to MBBS Course in the respondent-Medical Colleges
are governed by the MCI Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 (for
short `MCI Regulations').
to Regulation 4(2) of the MCI Regulations, no candidate shall be allowed to be admitted
to the MBBS course until he/she has passed one of the qualifying examinations mentioned
Regulation 5(2) of the MCI Regulations, in States having more than one
University/Board/Examination Body conducting the qualifying examination or where
there is more than one medical 6college under the administrative control of one
authority, a competitive entrance examination should be held so as to achieve a
uniform evaluation as there may be variation of standards of qualifying
examinations conducted by the different agencies. Clause 5(ii) of Regulation 5
reads as follows:
for selection to MBBS course shall be as follows: (i) xxx xxxx xxx (ii) In case
of admission on the basis of competitive entrance examination under clause (2)
to (4) of this regulation, a candidate must have passed in the subjects of Physics,
Chemistry, Biology and English individually and must have obtained a minimum of
50% of marks taken together in Physics Chemistry and Biology at the qualifying
examination as mentioned in clause (2) of regulation 4 and in addition must have
come in the merit list prepared as a result of such competitive entrance
examination by securing not less then 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology
taken together competitive examination.
In respect of candidates
belonging to Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes or other Backward Classes the marks
obtained in Physics, Chemistry and Biology taken together in qualifying
examination and competitive entrance examination be 40% instead of 50% as
stated above: Provided that a candidate who has appeared in the qualifying examination
the result of which has not been declared, he may be provisionally permitted to
take up the competitive entrance examination and in case of selection for admission
to the MBBS course, he shall not be admitted to that course until he fulfils
the eligibility criteria under regulation 4."
Thus, as per the MCI
Regulations, in the case of admission on the basis of competitive entrance
examination, a candidate must have obtained a minimum of 50% marks taken together
in Physics, Chemistry and 7Biology at the qualifying examination and in addition,
must have secured not less than 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology
taken together in the competitive examination. However such a requirement of
minimum 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology taken together in the
competitive examination was not mentioned in the Prospectus issued by the
the appellants were eligible for admission as per the criteria laid down in the
Prospectus, but they were not eligible for admission as per the criteria laid
down in the MCI Regulations, as they secured only less than 50% marks in Physics,
Chemistry and Biology taken together in the competitive examination.
the impugned judgment, the High Court has held that the regulations framed by the
MCI are mandatory in nature. For this purpose, the High Court relied on the
judgment dated 14 th July, 2008 of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in Writ Petition
No. 13379 of 2007 and connected cases. In the said judgment, the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh held that the Regulations framed by the MCI are mandatory in nature.
In the order dated
4th September, 2008 passed in Civil Appeal Nos. 5518-5519 of 2008 (Monika Ranka
& Ors. v Medical Council of India & Ors.) and Civil Appeal
Nos.5520-5521 of 2008, this Court upheld the principle laid down by the High Court
of Madhya Pradesh, though the appellants therein were granted personal relief
treating it as a special case. Learned counsel for the appellants in 8these appeals
did not seriously contest the proposition that the MCI regulations are mandatory
They only pleaded that
the indulgence shown to the students by this Court in the above-mentioned Monika
Ranka's case may be extended to the appellants, as their case is better than the
case of the students in Monika Ranka's case. Learned counsel for the appellants
also did not dispute that the appellants had secured only less than 50% marks in
the CEE. Therefore, the High Court was right in holding that the admission of
the appellants was irregular and the MCI was justified in directing the colleges
to discharge the appellants.
the only question to be considered in these appeals is whether, having regard
to the facts and circumstances of these cases, the appellants should be allowed
to continue and complete the MBBS course as was done by this Court in Monika Ranka's
case. We may now refer to some of the aspects which are relevant for answering
the above question.
appellants had applied for admission in response to the Prospectus for
admission to MBBS 2007 issued by the colleges. It was not disputed that the Prospectus
was approved by the Admission Supervisory Committee constituted by the
Government of Kerala under the Kerala Professional Colleges or Institutions (Prohibition
of Capitation Fee, Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Non exploitative Fee and
Other Measures to Ensure Equity and Excellence in 9Professional Education) Act
19 of 2006. The CEE was conducted and the merit list was prepared under the supervision
of the said Committee.
there was a minor discrepancy between the eligibility criteria for admission prescribed
by the MCI Regulations and the eligibility criteria mentioned in the Prospectus.
The requirement of securing not less than 50% marks in the CEE was not
mentioned in the Prospectus. According to the appellants and the colleges, it was
only an inadvertent and bona fide mistake or omission while preparing the
Prospectus. It was contended that Regulation 5(5)(ii) is clumsily worded, with the
words "taken together" appearing in several places giving an
impression that minimum 50% is required when the marks of qualifying
examination and the marks of the CEE are taken together. It was also contended
that such an omission or mistake occurred due to lack of sufficient clarity in
Regulation 5(5)(ii). There is some substance in the contention.
was pointed out that, when the MCI Regulations require only minimum 50% marks in
the qualifying examination, the Prospectus issued by the Management Association
stipulated a higher standard of minimum 60% marks in the qualifying examination
and the appellants did satisfy the said requirement by securing 60% to 99% in the
qualifying examination. Hence, it cannot be said that the appellants were not meritorious
candidates, though unfortunately they could 1secure only less than 50% marks in
the CEE. The Prospectus however did not mention the requirement of minimum 50% marks
in the CEE separately. The Prospectus was submitted to the Admission
Supervisory Committee constituted under Act 19 of 2006 but the Committee did not
raise any objection to the eligibility criteria mentioned in the Prospectus. Possibly,
the Admission Supervisory Committee also failed to notice the omission.
was specifically averred by the appellants that the marks obtained in the CEE were
not communicated to the candidates and consequently the appellants were not
aware that they had secured only less than 50% marks in the CEE. Hence it cannot
be said that the appellants took admission knowing that they were not eligible for
admission. The CEE was conducted under the supervision of the Admission
Supervisory Committee which scrutinized and approved the merit list.
It was also averred that
though the list of selected candidates was submitted by the colleges to the
Admission Supervisory Committee, no objection was raised by the Committee to
the admission of the appellants for a very long time. In this context, it may be
remembered that Section 4(6) of Act 19 of 2006 provides as hereunder: "The
Admission Supervisory Committee shall supervise and guide the entire process of
admission of students to the unaided professional colleges or institutions with
a view to ensure that the process is fair, transparent, merit based and non
exploitative under the provisions of the Act".
In such circumstances,
the appellants had no reason to suspect that they were ineligible for admission.
The list of admitted candidates, along with the marks obtained by them in the
qualifying examination and the CEE, was submitted by the colleges to the MCI immediately
after the admissions. It was from the list of admitted candidates and their
marks that the MCI found that the appellants had secured only less than 50% marks
in the CEE.
Possibly, in view of the
delay in conducting the scrutiny, the above irregularity was brought to the
notice of the colleges by the MCI long after they were admitted to the course. Having
realised the mistake or omission in the Prospectus for the year 2007, the colleges
rectified the mistake/omission in the prospectus for the subsequent years.
appellants have secured 60% to 99% marks in the qualifying examination as against
the 50% required under the MCI Regulations. They have also secured more than
50% of the aggregate marks, if the marks of the qualifying examination and the CEE
are taken together.
High Court has noticed in the impugned judgment that the appellants in Writ
Petition (C) Nos. 13810, 13817, 13818, 13819 and 21534 of 2010 contended that
though they had not obtained 50% in the CEE, they had obtained more than 50% marks
in other Competitive Entrance Examinations like the Entrance Test conducted 1by
Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, the Karnataka Common Entrance Examination
for Private Colleges and the Common Entrance Examination conducted by the Commissioner
for Entrance Examinations, Government of Kerala. Some of the appellants claimed
that in view of their admission in the respondent-Colleges, they gave up
admissions offered to them in medical colleges outside Kerala.
before the MCI directed the colleges to discharge the appellants, admissions for
the academic year 2007-2008 had been closed everywhere.
respondent - Colleges or the MCI had not received any complaint against the admission
of the appellants from any other candidate who sought admission to MBBS.
that the admissions given to the appellants were irregular and that such irregularity
occurred due to the inadvertent omission to include in the Prospectus the requirement
of minimum 50% marks in the CEE, the respondent-Colleges except the M.E.S. College,
through their counsel offered before the High Court to surrender equal number
of seats from the management quota to the Government quota in the next year.
Though the offer has
been noted by the High Court in paragraph 13 of the impugned judgment, it was not
accepted by the High Court. Learned counsel for all the respondent - Colleges
including the M.E.S. College stated before this 1Court that the said Colleges are
willing to surrender from the management quota number of seats equal to the
number of students sought to be discharged.
However, learned counsel
for the M.E.S. College further submitted that considering that the number of
seats to be so surrendered by them is 27, the said college may be permitted to
surrender them over a reasonable period.
learned counsel for respondent-Colleges also submitted that the MCI has not been
implementing the Regulations uniformly. For example, admissions to MBBS course in
the State of Tamilnadu are allowed to be made without any entrance test and
only based on the marks in the qualifying examination. This was not disputed by
the learned counsel for the MCI. It was also alleged that in State of Kerala itself
the MCI had regularized the irregular admissions in other Private Medical Colleges
like the Gokulam Medical College, but the correctness of the allegation could not
be verified by the learned counsel for MCI for want of time.
the strength of the interim orders passed by the High Court and subsequently by
this Court, the appellants have continued their studies for 4= years and have appeared
in the University examinations.
the light of the peculiar facts and circumstances stated above, we are of the view
that it is quite unjust and unfair to 1discharge the appellants at this stage. This
is an eminently fit case for invoking this Court's powers under Article 142 of
the Constitution of India to permit the appellants to continue and complete the
MBBS course to which they were admitted in the year 2007. Such an order is
necessary for doing complete justice in the matter.
In taking such a view,
we are supported by the precedent in the order dated 4th September, 2008 passed
by a 3-Judge Bench of this Court in Civil Appeal Nos. 5518-5519 of 2008 (Monika
Ranka & Ors. v. Medical Council of India & Ors.). In that case though
the admission was held to be irregular, this Court showed indulgence to the students
and permitted them to continue and complete the course on the ground that there
was nothing on record to show that the students were informed of the marks secured
by them in the entrance examination and the students had already completed one year
of their MBBS course.
In fact, the facts
and circumstances pointed out in the earlier paragraphs show that the case of
the appellants is much better than the case of the students in Monika Ranka's
case. In Monika Ranka's case, there was no confusion regarding the eligibility
criteria whereas in this case the Prospectus omitted to mention the requirement
of securing minimum 50% marks for the CEE as provided in the MCI Regulations.
The appellants in Monika
Ranka's case had completed only one year of their course, whereas in this case
the appellants are completing the 4th year of the MBBS course. As in Monika Ranka's
case, the appellants herein also were not informed of the marks secured by them
in the entrance examination. Though the appellants had specifically pleaded so in
the writ petitions and also in these appeals, there is nothing on record to
show that the marks secured by them in the entrance examination were communicated
The High Court has
noted in the impugned judgment that since there was nothing on record to show
that the appellants in Monika Ranka's case were informed of the marks secured by
them in the entrance examination, the Apex Court indulged to give them the
personal relief of permitting them to continue with the course. Even though the
case of the appellants herein also is similar, the High Court has not given any
reason for not extending the same relief to the appellants. There is also no finding
anywhere in the judgment that the marks of the CEE were communicated to the
also notice that an almost identical situation arose in Chowdhury Navin
Hemabhai and Others v. State of Gujarat and Others [(2011) 3 SCC 617]. In that
case, the conflict was between the provisions in the MCI Regulations and the provisions
in the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation
of Admission and Payment of Fees) Rules, 2008 (for short, "State Rules").
Under the MCI Regulations,
the candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward
Classes were required to secure in the common entrance test a minimum of 40%
marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology taken together, but in the State Rules
there was no such requirement.
Thus, the State Rules
had prescribed a qualification standard which was less than that of 1the MCI. The
appellants before this Court belonged to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and
Other Backward Classes and though they did not secure 40% marks in Physics, Chemistry
and Biology taken together, they were given admission to the MBBS course.
The High Court of Gujarat
had struck down the provision in the State Rules which provided that a
candidate who appeared in the common entrance test was eligible for admission to
the MBBS course even if he obtained less than 40% marks in Physics, Chemistry
and Biology taken together in the common entrance test and also upheld the
directions given by the MCI to discharge the appellants from the college. This
Court upheld the decision of the High Court observing that the qualification
requirements prescribed by the State cannot be lower than those prescribed by the
However, this Court also
found that the admissions of the appellant-students took place due to the fault
of the rule-making authority in not making the State Rules in conformity with the
MCI Regulations and that if the appellants are discharged from the MBBS course for
the fault of the rule-making authority, they will suffer grave injustice. This Court
further found that the appellants were not to be blamed for having secured
admission in the MBBS course and that the fault was entirely on the rule-making
authority in making the State Rules.
Even though the appellants
were not eligible for admission under the MCI Regulations, considering that the
appellants had gone through the pains of appearing in the common entrance test
and had been selected on the basis of their merit and admitted into the MBBS
course in accordance 1with the State Rules and had pursued their studies for a year,
this Court, for the purpose of doing complete justice in the matter, directed that
the admissions of the appellants should not be disturbed. Though this Court
observed that the said direction was not to be treated as a precedent, we find
sufficient justification for giving a similar direction in the case of the
appellants before us.
Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India and Another [(1998) 4 SCC 409]
(in para 48), a Constitution Bench of this Court held: "The Supreme Court in
exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 has the power to make such order
as is necessary for doing complete justice "between the parties in any
cause or matter pending before it".
The very nature of the
power must lead the Court to set limits for itself within which to exercise those
powers and ordinarily it cannot disregard a statutory provision governing a
subject, except perhaps to balance the equities between the conflicting claims
of the litigating parties by "ironing out the creases" in a cause or
matter before it.
Indeed this Court is
not a court of restricted jurisdiction of only dispute-settling. "Having
regard to the special facts and circumstances of this case and the
extra-ordinary situation arising in the case, we do not in any way feel inhibited
to invoke our jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India for doing
complete justice in the matter before us.
the reasons stated above, we although agree with the view of the MCI and the High
Court that the admissions of the appellants were irregular as they did not
satisfy the requirement of securing not less than 50% marks in the CEE as prescribed
in the MCI Regulations, we are inclined to take a considerate view in the
special facts and circumstances mentioned in the earlier paragraphs and hence
we direct that, as a special case, the appellants shall be allowed to continue
and complete their MBBS course and also permit them to appear in the University
examinations as if they had been regularly admitted to the course.
irregular admissions were made by the respondent -Colleges in violation of the MCI
Regulations, though due to the mistake or omission in the Prospectus issued by the
respondent colleges, they should be directed to surrender from the management
quota, number of seats equal to the number of such irregular admissions. Such surrenders
shall be made in a phased manner starting with the admissions of the year 2012.
However, any of the respondent-Colleges shall not be required to surrender more
than eight (8) seats in one academic year.
counsel for the MCI strongly pleaded that as a deterrent against irregular admissions
in future a penalty or fine should be imposed on the respondent-Colleges and for
the said 1purpose he suggested that the respondent-Colleges may be directed to
deposit with the Legal Services Authority the entire amount of fees collected
by the colleges from the appellant-students.
Having regard to the facts
and circumstances of the case, we do not find sufficient justification for such
a harsh treatment, as in our view, the irregularity in the admissions occurred due
to an inadvertent and bona fide mistake or omission on the part of the Colleges
while issuing the Prospectus. Since the mistake or omission occurred even before
the applications were invited, it is not possible to attribute any malafides on
the part of the respondent-Colleges as it does not appear to be a deliberate act
to violate the MCI Regulations and since the irregular admissions have not resulted
in any pecuniary gain for the management.
Even if the
appellants were not admitted, the Colleges could have admitted equal number of other
candidates from the management quota and collected from them the very same fees
applicable to management quota students. There was also no attempt to favour the
appellants, as the Colleges could not have anticipated that the appellants
would apply and fail to secure 50% marks in the CEE. Moreover the
respondent-Colleges inspite of bonafide lapse are adequately punished as we have
directed them to surrender equal number of seats from the management quota in
the coming years.
As a result of such
surrender of management quota seats, there will be considerable reduction in
the income of the Colleges from the fees of the students, because, the fees to
be paid by a student admitted in the management quota are admittedly much higher
than the fees to be 2paid by the student admitted in the Government quota. Hence
in the facts and circumstances of this case, we are not persuaded to accept the
suggestion of the learned counsel for the MCI to impose a penalty on the
appeals are disposed of in the above terms. There will be no order as to costs.
(GYAN SUDHA MISRA)