The Delhi High Court has said that increasing medical infrastructure was crucial to meet the growing need for qualified doctors and deserving colleges should not be denied the opportunity to improve the strength of medical professionals as enabled a university in Tamil Nadu to increase student intake for NEET. -UG 2022.
The high court’s observation came while dealing with a petition by Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College and Hospital in Tamil Named raising the issue of denial of its request to increase the intake of students from 150 to 250 .
He directed the authorities to allow the university to admit 250 students in the ongoing counseling of NEET-UG 2022 for MBBS course and added that he will immediately issue necessary instructions and communicate the order to the competent authority/body of Tamil Nadu Govt. to add 250 seats to your seat array.
“To meet the growing need for more qualified doctors to serve the country’s population, increasing the medical infrastructure is crucial and therefore the role of regulatory bodies such as NMC (National Medical Commission) is unquestionably important. The procedure of ‘authorisation must be strictly adhered to to ensure that there is no decline in the quality of medical education,’ said Justice Sanjeev Narula.
The petition sought a direction to the NMC to issue a letter of approval regarding the college’s application for 250 students per year from the academic year 2021-22.
Advocate T Singhdev, representing the NMC, submitted that the commission conducted a surprise inspection of the college and the college’s application could be processed only for 200 seats.
The college counselor stated that the institute was fully equipped to increase to 250 places and it would be a colossal waste of resources if permission is not granted.
He argued that there was a deliberate attempt by the authorities to deny them this benefit.
On the direction of the court, the NMC submitted an affidavit highlighting the deficiencies which, according to them, prevent the grant of 250 seats to the college.
In its affidavit, the NMC admitted and confirmed that the relaxation of up to five percent of the teaching staff is applicable to the petitioner university, however, it stated that if the facilities are to be considered existing facilities available with the institute for 250 places, the shortage of teachers would increase substantially from 0.49 percent to 6.9 percent, which exceeds the permissible limit of five percent.
The high court said under the scheme of the National Medical Commission Act, no medical college can increase its seats without obtaining the prior approval of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB).
For the purposes of granting permission, the MARB has the right to conduct an assessment/inspection of these colleges to assess their performance against the benchmarks set out in the law, he noted.
“Effectively, in the matter of medical education, it is not up to the court to present an appeal for the deductions of an expert body regarding the inadequacies found in an educational institute; but when it is shown that the respondent authorities have acted in violation of existing rules, it is for the court to step in and rectify the injustice caused,” he said.
The court confirmed an interim order dated March 30, 2022 and held that the university was entitled to increase its intake to 200 seats for the academic year 2021-22.
Regarding the academic session 2022-23, the bench said that since the NMC’s decision to deny the increase in seats is based on irrelevant considerations and ignorance of the relevant materials, it is a proper case for this bench to exercise the its jurisdiction under the article. 226 of the Constitution and issue a writ of mandamus compelling the exercise of the discretion granted to the NMC in order to avoid injustice to the petitioner.
“Since no other impediment has been presented, in the facts of the case, there is no need to order NMC/MARB to re-inspect the petitioner college, as it meets all the parameters established by the current regulations. Accordingly, the present petition is allowed…,” the high court said.
The court said that “although Singhdev has very ably assisted the court, the attitude shown by NMC remains highly questionable.”
“Instead of assisting the court, the additional affidavit filed as directed by the court has presented non-existent deficiencies, based on false and erroneous facts, in an attempt to deny the college the relief it is entitled to under s. law
“The NMC must not lose sight of its responsibility to maintain the accuracy of the facts/information presented to the court. In view of the above-mentioned circumstances, the Chairman of the NMC is requested to investigate the circumstances that led to the filing of the additional affidavit with inaccurate facts and to take appropriate action,” he said.