Medical Council of India has no power to grant recognition to a medical institution

The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday, July 04, 2012 in Medical Council of India Vs. Rama Medical College Hospital & Research Centre, Kanpur held that the Central Government is empowered to grant recognition to a medical college or institution on recommendation of Medical Council of India (MCI). Medical Council of India has no power to grant recognition to a medical institution. Its role is recommendatory.

# Indian Medical Council Act, 1956

In view of sub- s. (3) of s.10-B, where any medical college increases its admission capacity in any course of study or training, except with the previous permission of the Central Government in accordance with the provisions of s. 10A, no medical qualification granted to any student of such medical college on the basis of the increase in its admission capacity, shall be a recognised medical qualification for the purposes of the Act.

A bench comprising of Jusice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar observed that s.10A speaks of permission and not recognition on a year to year basis.

Recognition follows once the newly-established medical colleges/institutions satisfactorily complete five years with the graduation of the first batch of students admitted to the institution when initial permission is granted. It is the Central Government which is empowered to grant recognition to a medical college or institution on the recommendation made by the Medical Council of India.

The Judgment said.

# Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999

Single Judge and Division Bench of High Court erred in arriving at the finding that once permission had been granted u/s 10A of the Act, it would amount to grant of recognition and, thereafter, the medical college/institution was free to enhance the number of seats without the permission either of the Council or the Central Government.

Judgments of Single Judge and Division Bench of High Court and the directions given to increase the number of seats from 100 to 150 in the MBBS course run by the Institutions concerned are set aside.

# The Opening of a New or Higher Course of Study or Training (including Post-Graduate Course of Study or Training) and Increase of Admission Capacity in any Course of Study or Training (including a Post- Graduate Course of Study or Training) Regulations, 2000.

In the instant appeals and the writ petitions the question for consideration before the Court was:

Whether the medical colleges/institutions were entitled to increase the number of seats without the prior permission of the Central Government?

While disposing of the matters, the Apex Court held that Section 10-A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 provides that no person would be entitled to establish a Medical College except in the manner provided in the Section and that no medical college shall open a new or higher course of study or training, including a post-graduate course of training, which would enable a student of such course or training to qualify himself for the award of recognised medical qualification, except with the previous permission of the Central Government.

The said prohibition also extends to the increase in admission capacity in any course of study or training, including post-graduate study or training, except with such previous permission of the Central Government.

Sub-s. (3) of s.10B in no uncertain terms, provides that where any medical college increases its admission capacity in any course of study or training, except with the previous permission of the Central Government in accordance with the provisions of s. 10A, no medical qualification granted to any student of such medical college on the basis of the increase in its admission capacity, shall be a recognised medical qualification for the purposes of the Act.

Thus, without the previous permission of the Central Government within the scheme, as prescribed u/s 10A, i.e., without the recommendation of the Medical Council, any degree granted would not be recognised as a medical degree which would entitle such degree holder to function as a medical practitioner.

Section 10A lays down the criteria for grant of permission for establishment of a new medical college and s.10B supplements the same by making it clear that even while increasing the number of seats in a medical college/institution, the procedure indicated in s.10A, and in particular s.10A(2), would have to be followed.

At every stage, it is the Council which plays a very important role in either the grant of permission to establish a new medical college or to increase the number of seats.

Furthermore, the norms relating to eligibility criteria, as set out in the 1999 Regulations as also in the 2000 Regulations, have to be complied with, either for the purpose of grant of permission for establishing a new medical college or for introducing a new course of study along with the intention of increasing the number of students in the medical institution.

In Part II of the 2000 Regulations, which deals with the scheme for obtaining the permission of the Central Government to increase the admission capacity in any course of study or training, including Post Graduate course of study or training, in the existing medical colleges/ institutions, another set of “qualification criteria” has been set out in Regulation 3(1), which has created some confusion in the minds of the Judges in the High Court by use of the expression “recognised by the Medical Council of India”.

What it seeks to indicate is that for the purpose of applying for increase in the number of seats, the medical college must be one which, in the opinion of the Medical Council, was capable of running the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery/ Post- graduate Course.

It also provides that the medical college/institute which is not yet recognised by the Medical Council for the award of MBBS degree, may also apply for increase of intake in Post Graduate Course in pre- clinical and para-clinical subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Pathology, Microbiology, Forensic Medicine and Community Medicine, at the time of fourth renewal, i.e, along with the admission of the fifth batch for the MBBS Course, which are courses not connected with the regular course of study.

Regulation 8 of the 1999 Regulations makes it clear that irrespective of whether the applicant is the Central Government or a State Government or a private person, the Central Government may, on the recommendation of the Medical Council, issue a Letter of Intent to set up a new medical college and formal permission may be granted initially for a period of one year and may be renewed on yearly basis subject to verification of the achievements of annual targets, once the conditions and modifications indicated in the Letter of Intent are accepted and after consulting the Medical Council of India.

Sub-regulation (3) provides, without any ambiguity, that the permission to establish a medical college and to admit students may be granted initially for a period of one year and may be renewed on yearly basis subject to verification of the achievement of annual targets.

Section 10A of the 1956 Act speaks of permission and not recognition on a year to year basis. Recognition follows once the newly-established medical colleges/institutions satisfactorily complete five years with the graduation of the first batch of students admitted to the institution when initial permission is granted.

It also provides with complete clarity that it shall be the responsibility of the applicant to apply to the Medical Council for renewal of permission six months before the expiry of the initial permission and that the process of renewal of permission will continue till all the required formalities are completed and a formal recognition of the medical college is granted.

Thus, it is very clear that recognition to a degree awarded by a newly- established medical college can be given only after all the requirements for the establishment of the medical college and expansion of the hospital facilities are completed. It has also been stipulated that further admissions shall not be made at any stage unless the requirements of the Council are fulfilled.

The expression “recognition by the Medical Council of India” has to be read and understood as meaning that the medical college/institution concerned was recognised by the Medical Council of India as having the capacity to run such an institution. It is amply clear from s.10A that what is contemplated thereunder is permission for establishing a new medical college, which is to be granted by the Central Government upon the recommendation of the Council.

The use of the expression “recognition” in the Regulation does not affect or alter the intention of the legislature expressed in unambiguous terms in s.10A as well as in ss. 10B and 11 of the 1956 Act. Both the 1956 Act and the Regulations framed by the Medical Council make it very clear that while the Central Government has the authority to recognize the degree awarded by a newly-established medical college/institution, it does so on the evaluation made by the Medical Council and its subsequent recommendation.

Section 33, which empowers the Medical Council to frame Regulations, provides in Sub-ss (fa) and (fb), the right to the Medical Council to frame a scheme in terms of Sub-s. (2) of s. 10A and also in regard to any other factors under Clause (g) of Sub-s. (7) of s.10A. It is quite clear that the legislature has given the Medical Council of India wide authority to take all steps which are necessary to ensure that a medical institution, either at the time of establishment, or later at the time of applying for increase in the number of seats, has the capacity and the necessary infrastructure, not only to run the college, but also to sustain the increase in the number of seats applied for.

To that extent, since the Act is silent, the Regulations which have statutory force will be applicable to the scheme as contemplated under the Act.

In view of the decision of the Constitution Bench in Dr. Preeti Srivastava’s case, the position is quite clear that in terms of the scheme of the Act and the Regulations framed by the Medical Council of India, it is the Central Government which is empowered to grant recognition to a medical college or institution on the recommendation made by the Medical Council of India.

The role of the Medical Council of India in the grant of recognition to a medical college/institution is recommendatory and the Council has no power to grant recognition to a medical institution. Such power lies with the Central government. No provision is available under the Act relating to grant of recognition of a medical college/ institution, since s.10A speaks only of permission and not recognition. The same has been supplemented by the provisions of the 1999 and 2000 Regulations for the purpose of s.10A(7)(g) of the Act.

Therefore, the Single Judge and the Division Bench of the High Court erred in arriving at the finding that once permission had been granted u/s 10A of the Act, it would amount to grant of recognition and, thereafter, the medical college/ institution, was free to enhance the number of seats without the permission either of the Council or the Central Government. The judgments of the Single Judge as also of the Division Bench of the High Court, and the directions given to increase the number of seats from 100 to 150 in the MBBS course run by the writ petitioners are set aside.

Since the 2000 Regulations provide for a newly-established medical college/ institution to seek permission each year to continue with the MBBS course till the first batch of the students graduated, the position is quite clear that the recognition referred to in ss.10B and 11 of the 1956 Act would have to relate to the grant of recognition to a medical institution u/s 11 for the purpose of recognition of its qualifications as a medical degree, which would entitle the holder thereof to practise medicine.

It is made clear that this will not prevent the medical colleges/institutions from applying for increase in the number of students, provided such application fulfils the conditions and criteria of s.10A and the Regulations framed thereunder by the Medical Council of India.

# Case Law Reference

  1. Ambesh Kumar (Dr.) Vs. Principal, L.L.R.M. Medical College 1987 SCR 661 = (1986) Supp. SCC 543
  2. Chitra Ghosh Vs. Union of India 1970 (1) SCR 413 = (1969) 2 SCC 228
  3. Dr. Preeti Srivastava & Anr. vs. State of M.P. & Ors. 1999 (1) Suppl. SCR 249 = (1999) 7 SCC 120
  4. Govt. of A.P. & Anr. Vs. Medwin Educational Society & Ors. 2003 (5) Suppl. SCR 408 = (2004) 1 SCC 86
  5. K.S. Bhoir Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. 2001 (5) Suppl. SCR 593 = (2001) 10 SCC 264
  6. Minor P. Rajendran Vs. State of Madras 1968 SCR 786 = AIR 1968 SC 1012
  7. Shiv Kumar Chadha Vs. Municipal Corporation of Delhi 1993 (3) SCR 522 = (1993) 3 SCC 161
  8. State of A.P. Vs. Lavu Narendranath (1971) 1 SCC 607
  9. Medical Council of India Vs. State of Karnataka & Ors. 1998 (3) SCR 740 = (1998) 6 SCC 131
  10. Mridhul Dhar Vs. Union of India 2005 (1) SCR 380 =(2005) 2 SCC 65 = 1998 (3) SCR740
  11. State of M.P. Vs. Nivedita Jain 1982 (1) SCR 759 = (1981) 4 SCC 296 (Stood Overruled)

The Civil Appellate Jurisdiction of the Apex Court exercised in Civil Appeal No. 4911 of 2012 etc. arose from the Judgment & Order dated 13.10.2011 of the High Court of Delhi in Letters Patent Appeal No. 820 of 2011. With SLP (C) Nos. 30332, 30338 of 2011 & 3732 of 2012. W.P. (C) Nos. 457, 458 & 489 of 2011.

Advocates Nideshe Gupta, P.S. Narasimha, V. Giri, Dushyant Dave, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Pradip Ghosh, T.S. Doabia, Amit Kumar, Ashish Kumar, Atul Kumar, Rekha Bakshi, Shilandra K. Panday, Rajiv Agrawal, Kunal Cheema, Dhruv Kapur, Yash Pal Dhingra, Ranjan Kr. Pandey, Kaushal P. Gautam, M.P. Vinod, Ashok K. Jain, Dillip Pillai, Neeraj Shekar, Ashutosh Thakur, Priya Ranjan Roi, Arun Monga, Gaurav Sharma, Ranjan Kumar Pandey, Rekha Pandey, Rashmi Malhotra, D.S. Mahra, Shalinder Saini appeared for the appearing parties.

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