Supreme Court invoked Article 142 of the Constitution of India : permits medicos complete course
The court set aside the direction to discharge them on the ground that their respective colleges allowed their admission without conforming to the mandatory 50 per cent marks in entrance examination criterion set by the Medical Council of India (MCI).A bench of justices Cyriac Joseph and Gyan Sudha Misra invoked its jurisdiction under Article 142 to grant the candidates permission to appear in their final examination. The court also noted that their admission was found to be irregular owing to the faults of the colleges as they did not mention the mandatory requirement in the prospectus.
“In the light of the peculiar facts and circumstances, we are of the view that it is quite unjust and unfair to discharge 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.”
“Having regard to the special facts and circumstances of this case and the extraordinary 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 Bench said in the verdict delivered on January 25.
This judgment comes within a fortnight of another verdict in which the apex court dissuaded the courts from allowing a plea to increase the number of seats in a college as an interim measure since the decision would mar the career of the students if higher intake was found to be illegal due to one reason or the other.
In that case, a separate bench had set aside a Karnataka High Court’s order allowing Mysore’s J S S Medical College to increase the intake of students from 150 to 200 in MBBS course for the academic year 2011-12, considering the MCI’s report finding several deficiencies there. Coming back to the judgment delivered on Wednesday, the court noted that the candidates were eligible for admission to MBBS course as per the criteria laid down in the prospectus of a group of private unaided medical colleges in Kerala in the academic year 2007-08.
The MCI, however, found the admission given by colleges such as Jubilee Medical Mission College and Research Institute, Thrissur, MES Medical College, Perinthalmanna, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Medical College, Kolenchery and Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Thiruvalla, not proper as the students could secure only less than 50 per cent marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology taken together in the competitive examination.
In the qualifying examination, it was pointed out that they had secured 60 per cent to 99 per cent marks as against the 50 per cent required under the MCI regulations. Besides, they were also found to have secured more than 50 per cent of the aggregate marks of the qualifying examination and the competitive entrance examinations.
The students approached the apex court after the Kerala High Court refused to grant their plea to continue their course following the MCI’s decision to treat their admission as irregular.
Even though the apex court agreed with the view of the HC and the MCI that the admission of students was irregular, it took a considerate view due to the special circumstances of the case.
The Bench also directed the medical colleges to surrender in a phased manner from management quota an equal number of seats of such irregular admissions to open candidates from the year 2012.
Exercising its extraordinary constitutional powers, the Supreme Court has allowed four medical students of Kerala to complete their MBBS course despite their admissions being irregular as they failed to qualify in the mandatory common entrance examination.
A bench of justices Cyriac Joseph and Ranjana Prakash Desai allowed the private medical students to complete their course as a ‘special case’, as they have already completed four and half years of their study.
“In the light of the peculiar facts and circumstances stated above, we are of the view that it is quite unjust and unfair to discharge the appellants at this stage.
“This is an eminently fit case for invoking this court’s powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to permit the appellants to continue and complete the MBBS course to which they were admitted in the year 2007,” Justice Joseph writing the judgement said.
Deepa Thomas, Anu Rubina Ansar, Anjana Babu and Abhay Babu were admitted to various colleges in 2007-08, though ineligible as they failed to satisfy the eligibility criteria stipulated by Medical Council of India (MCI).
While the MCI regulations insist on a minimum of 50 per cent marks in both the qualifying examination and Competitive Entrance Examination (CEE) separately, the prospectus issued by the private medical colleges overlooked the CEE requirement.
Though these students secured more than 50 per cent marks in the qualifying examination, they could not secure the minimum 50 per cent marks in the CEE, but were admitted to the course by the colleges.
The Kerala High Court had earlier turned down the students’ plea for regularising their admission following which they had moved the apex court.
“Admittedly 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 per cent marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology taken together in the competitive examination.
“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 per cent 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,” the apex court observed.
The bench said having regard to the special facts and circumstances of this case and the extraordinary situation arising in the case, it was constrained to invoke jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution ‘for doing complete justice in the matter before us’.
“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 per cent marks in the CEE as prescribed in the MCI Regulations, we are inclined to take a considerate view in the special facts and circumstances.
“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,” the apex court said.