Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Granting a one-time relaxation in favour of those candidates who were enrolled during the academic years 2001-2005 and who, in terms of the judgment passed on 03.11.2017, are eligible to appear at the test to be conducted by AICTE, the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ directed:

“All such candidates, who wish to appear at the forthcoming test to, be conducted by AICTE in May-June 2018 and who exercise option to appear at the test in terms of the judgment, can retain the degrees in question and all the advantages flowing therefrom till one month after the declaration of the result of such test or till 31.07.2018 whichever is earlier.”

In the present matter a clarification was sought on the judgment dated 03.11.2017, wherein the bench had suspended the admissions of the students enrolled in the Distance Learning Engineering Courses of certain Deemed Universities during the Academic Sessions 2001-2005 and directed AICTE to conduct appropriate tests of the students in order to determine whether their degrees should be restored or not.

Senior advocate V. Giri, brought to the Court’s notice that the controversy in the said judgment was principally concerning the cases of in-service candidates who were initially employed as diploma holders but while in service had been awarded degrees in Engineering by Deemed to be Universities in question through distance learning mode; and that this Court was not called upon to consider cases where such degrees themselves became the foundation for a subsequent employment or selection and further advancement in career. He, hence, submitted:

“an exception be made in favour of such candidates whose qualifications were independently considered by an authority such as UPSC and were selected through competitive selection process and in any case, even if the Judgment were to apply to such candidates, the suspension of their degrees and all advantages flowing therefrom till they pass the test as indicated in the judgment ought not to be insisted upon.”

Refusing to grant such exception, the Court said:

“The infirmity in their degrees is basic and fundamental and cannot be wished away.”

However, at the same time, the Court found some force in the submission that if the suspension of their degrees and all advantages were to apply as indicated in the judgment, the concerned candidates may lose their jobs and even if they were to successfully pass the test, restoration of their jobs and present position would pose some difficulty and hence, gave the aforementioned clarification.

The Court, hence, clarified that this facility is given as one-time exception so that those who have the ability and can pass the test in the first attempt itself, should not be put to inconvenience. If the candidates pass in such first attempt, they would be entitled to retain all the advantages. But if they fail or choose not to appear, the directions in the judgment shall apply, in that the degrees and all advantages shall stand suspended and withdrawn. It was further clarified:

“no more such chances or exceptions will be given or made. They will undoubtedly be entitled to appear on the second occasion in terms of the judgment but this exception shall not apply for such second attempt.”

The Court, hence, directed AICTE to conduct the test in May-June 2018 and declare the result well in time. AICTE shall however extend the time to exercise the option to appear at the test suitably. [Orissa Lift Irrigation Corp. Ltd. v. Rabi Sankar Patro, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 31, decided 22.01.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Stating that educational institutions are bound to reserve seats from persons suffering from disability, the bench of Dr. AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ directed that all those institutions which are covered by the obligations provided under Section 32 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 shall comply with the provisions of Section 32 while making admission of students in educational courses of higher education each year.

The other directions given by the Court in this regard are:

  • Insofar as law colleges are concerned, intimation in this behalf shall be sent by those institutions to the Bar Council of India (BCI) as well. Other educational institutions will notify the compliance, each year, to the UGC. It will be within the discretion of the BCI and/or UGC to carry out inspections of such educational institutions to verify as to whether the provisions are complied with or not.
  • UGC should constitute a committee consisting of persons from amongst Central Advisory Board, State Advisory Boards, Chief Commissioner of State Commissioners appointed under the Disabilities Act. The said committee will prepare a detailed study for making provisions in respect of accessibility as well as pedagogy and would also suggest the modalities for implementing those suggestions, their funding and monitoring, etc by June 2018.
  • The aforementioned committee will also consider feasibility of constituting an in-house body in each educational institution (of teachers, staff, students and parents) for taking care of day to day needs of differently abled persons as well as for implementation of the Schemes that would be devised by the Expert Committee.

It is important to note that the petition was filed only in respect of law colleges but considering the fact that these issues are of seminal importance, the Court decided to extend the coverage by encompassing all educational institutions. Stressing upon the importance of the issue, the Court said:

“a basic underline assumption, which is well recognised, is that everyone can learn; there is no such person as one who is ineducable; and that, accordingly, all disabled persons (from whatever disability they are suffering) have right to get not only minimum education but higher education as well. Not making adequate provisions to facilitate proper education to such persons, therefore, would amount to discrimination.”

The Court, hence, directed that the Report of the committee, as well as the Action Taken Report, shall be submitted before it in July 2018. [Disabled Rights Group v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1486, decided on 15.12.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where a Medical Institution was aggrieved the Government order dated 31.05.2017, which resulted into non-renewal of the permission to admit students for the academic year 2017-2018, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ held that the order was non-reasoned and directed the Central Government to afford a further opportunity of hearing to the petitioners as per Section 10-A of the Medical Council Act, 1956 and also take the assistance of the Supreme Court mandated Oversight Committee. The matter will be taken up on 24.08.2017.

Stressing upon the need to have institutions which are worthy to impart medical education so that the society has not only qualified doctors but doctors with impeccable and sensitive qualities, the Court said that the objectivity of the Hearing Committee and the role of the Central Government assume great significance in this regard.  The real compliant institutions should not always be kept under the sword of Damocles. Stability can be brought by affirmative role played by the Central Government and the stability and objectivity would be perceptible if reasons are ascribed while expressing a view and absence of reasons makes the decision sensitively susceptible.

The Court said that the direction of the Central Government for compliance verification report should not be construed as a limited remand as is understood within the framework of Code of Civil Procedure or any other law. The distinction between the principles of open remand and limited remand is not attracted. It was clarified that it would be inapposite to restrict the power of the MCI by laying down as an absolute principle that once the Central Government sends back the matter to MCI for compliance verification and the Assessors visit the College they shall only verify the mentioned items and turn a blind eye even if they perceive certain other deficiencies. The Court said that the emphasis is on the compliant institutions that can really educate doctors by imparting quality education so that they will have the inherent as well as cultivated attributes of excellence. [IQ City Foundation v. UOI, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 842 decided on 01.08.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the judgment quashing Allahabad High Court’s  decision in the matter relating to Institutional Preference, the  Bench of Deepak Gupta and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. held that admissions to post-graduate courses in central universities cannot be regulated by the concerned States and that benefit to doctors serving in Provincial Medical Health Services (PMHS) for admissions to post-graduate courses should be allowed irrespective of their State of graduation.

The High Court had set aside the institutional preference at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on its own cognizance without even including AMU, BHU as well as the selected candidates as parties to the case and had also held that Regulation 9(iv) of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2000 does not give benefit to doctors who had completed their MBBS/BDS outside the State of UP.

The Court, relying on Saurabh Chaudri v. Union of India, (2003) 11 SCC 146, upheld the 50% institutional preference in AMU and BHU. It further held that Regulation 9(iv) of the 2000 Regulations does not create any divide or distinction between doctors, and extends to even those doctors who had served in remote areas under PMHS but did their graduation from an institution outside the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Court said that once the graduate doctors are selected and join the medical health service in the State of U.P., they form part of one service, i.e. PMHS and when these doctors are posted to remote or difficult areas they are posted as doctors of PMHS and not on the basis as to which State they have done their graduation from.

The court also allowed AMU, BHU and other Government run medical institutions in the state to fill up the vacant seats till 12.06.2017 disposing off all the civil appeals and interlocutory application(s) related to the State of UP in WP No. 76 of 2015. [Dr. Saurabh Dwivedi v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 638, decided on 07-06-2017]

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Supreme Court: The bench of Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ directed the State of Gujarat to give 50 per cent reservation to the in-service candidates for admission to post-graduate medical diploma courses as per the regulations of the Medical Council of India. The reservation is to be granted in the second round of counselling, starting tomorrow for admissions in PG courses. The Court also asked the State Government to define remote rural or difficult areas in which the in-service medical officers will be working.

The in-service medical candidates had challenged the State’s order of granting only 25 per cent reservation to the in-service candidates for admission in PG medical diploma courses. The candidates had pleaded that as per regulation VII of the MCI Regulations, 2000, it is mandatory for the state to reserve 50 per cent of the total seats of government medical college in Post Graduate Diploma Courses for medical officers in the government service, who has served at least 3 years in remote and/or difficult areas.

The Gujarat High Court had, on 05.05.2017, dismissed the petition of in-service medical petitioners on the ground that it was not mandatory for the State Government to follow the rules and regulations issued by the Medical Council of India, particularly the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000.

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where the a Dental College, upon failing to receive permission to start post-graduate course of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics along with four other specialties, had knocked the door of the High Court of Bombay and the High Court had passed an interim order stating that the admission process undertaken by the Institution is at the risk of the Institution and that the Institution shall intimate the order passed by this Court to the students who are intending to take admission for the Post-Graduate course, the Court said that High Court should not pass such interim orders in the matters of admission, more so, when the institution had not been accorded approval, as it brings in anarchy and chaos in the process of admission.

Considering it necessary to interfere with the order of the High Court, the bench of Dipak Misra and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ said that the High Court may feel that while exercising power under Article 226 of the Constitution, it can pass such orders with certain qualifiers as has been done by the impugned order, but it really does not save the situation. The institution might be directed to inform the students that the matter is sub judice, but the career oriented students get into the college with the hope and aspiration that in the ultimate eventuate everything shall be correct for them and they will be saved. It is a situation where the order has the potentiality to play with the career and life of young.

Taking note of the fact that by virtue of the said interim order, 3 students had been admitted and they are prosecuting their studies, the Court directed that those students shall be allowed to continue their courses, but their seats shall be adjusted from the academic session 2017-2018. Stating that the respondent-college cannot be allowed to get a premium, the Court, apart from the adjustment of seats for the next academic session, directed the respondent-college to deposit a sum of Rs. 30 Lakhs before the Registry of this Court within 8 weeks. The Court clarified that the said cost shall in no manner be recovered from the students who had been admitted nor shall it be collected from the students who will be admitted to the course in the next year.

The Court will take up the matter in the third week of July to ensure the compliance of the directions of the Court and to determine how to deal with the sum deposited by the respondent-college. [Dental Council of India v. Dr. Hedgewar Smruti Rugna Seva Mandal, Hingoli, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 376, decided on 11.04.2017]