Don’t reduce MBBS seats of GMCs in Vidarbha: HC

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Apr 2018 09:35:56


Staff Reporter,

Issues contempt notice to MCI Chairperson for flouting its orders

Mincing no words in deprecating “shocking and confrontationist approach” of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and its repeated decisions to reduce intake capacity of Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) in Vidarbha region in clear defiance of the court verdicts, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed MCI not to reduce seats of GMCs in Vidarbha region without Court’s permission. The High Court while protecting interests of GMCs in Vidarbha and its real beneficiaries- the meritorious students who mostly come from middle and lower middle class, further directed Union Health Ministry not to accept such a recommendation made by MCI.

Treating decision of MCI to defy High Court’s order as contempt of court, the High Court issued contempt notice to MCI Chairperson and to reply back within one week. The High Court also rejected the feeble justification of regulator that seat reduction recommendation was interim and subject to compliance report about removal of deficiencies, it may consider sending a positive report, while reminding the MCI that for all these years, it had challenged every order protecting interests of GMCs in Vidarbha region before the Supreme Court and each time, the Apex Court had rejected their special leave petitions.

A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar in a detailed order passed in open court, traced the chequered history of entire controversy and repeated attempts of MCI to reduce the intake capacity of Indira Gandhi Government Medical College (IGGMC), Akola GMC and its reluctance in allowing starting of Gondia and Chandrapur GMCs and gave a dressing down to the regulator for adopting different yardsticks for GMCs and Private Medical Colleges.

“When it comes to Private Medical College, the very same MCI becomes very generous and adopts lenient approach” the High Court tersely observed while blasting the MCI for dishing out flimsy excuses to reduce seats of IGGMC and GMC Akola despite categorical court orders. Sanctioned intake of IGGMC is 150 MBBS seats and every year MCI recommends reduction in seats, which are saved so far due to timely judicial intervention. For last many years, the seats were saved due to promptness shown by earlier Amicus Curiae Jugalkishor Gilda (now Advocate General of Chhatisgarh) in bringing it to the notice of the High Court and equally prompt judicial interventions by various benches for last one decade.

The High Court reproduced its orders dating back to 2013 and noted how the MCI created hindrance in allowing more intake for GMCs and became a stumbling block. The High Court also stated that it put Chief Secretary of Government of Maharashtra on notice to ensure necessary infrastructure for these GMCs and laid down a road-map along with budgetary allocation, but ignoring these realities, the MCI inspection report once again pointed out very minor deficiencies to take away 100 MBBS seats of Vidarbha- 50 of IGGMC and 50 of Akola GMC.

According to the High Court, such recommendations by the MCI affects poor and needy sections of the society from Vidarbha, nearby Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana regions, for whom GMCH are only source of affordable healthcare. Amicus Curiae Anup Jugalkishor Gilda presented a compilation of all orders passed by the High Court and subsequent orders of Supreme Court to drive home the point that all attempts of MCI to reduce under-graduate seats of IGGMC and Akola have failed the touchstone of judicial scrutiny. IGGMC and Akola intake was increased by 50 seats in 2013 as part of one time scheme of Centre to increase seats of GMCs which had completed 10 years.

The MCI Executive Committee in its meeting held on February 23 had recommended the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry not to permit IGGMCH to avail its increased intake of 150 MBBS students on the ground that institution had failed to remove deficiencies pointed out by the MCI inspection team. MCI assessment report dated December 19, 2017, February 1-2, 2018, were placed before its Executive Committee's meeting held on February 6. The Executive Committee of the MCI has also decided to ask the IGGMCH to remove the pointed out deficiencies and report compliance to the MCI in a month from the date of communication of this directive to it.

The Amicus Curiae Anup Gilda in his note informed the Court regarding MCI’s recommendation to the Central Government to approve reduction in the intake of MBBS students at the IGGMCH. It was also pointed out to the Court that this recommendation by the MCI to the Union Health Ministry was in breach of the High Court’s direction on February 4, 2015 in the case, directing not to approve the similar recommendation of the MCI as that ran counter to the Supreme Court’s directive in the SLP (Civil) No 28989/2013, on September 30, 2013 to increase seats from 100 to 150, and it amounts to showing disrespect to the Supreme Court’s direction.

Advocate Anup J Gilda appeared as Amicus Curiae. Special counsel Anand Parchure with Addl GP Deepak Thakare (State), Adv Rahul M Bhangde (MCI), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC) and Adv Mugdha Chandurkar (Central Govt.) represented the respondents.