It is high time that courts stopped showing misplaced sympathy for ineligible candidates admitted to medical courses, the Madras High Court said on Wednesday while declaring as invalid the admission of 65 doctors in various postgraduate degree and diploma courses in May 2017.
These candidates had now almost completed the courses and even written their final examinations on the basis of interim orders passed by the court.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh said a stern message must be sent to medical institutions which admit ineligible students through dubious methods, year after year, by taking advantage of the delay in the commencement of the counselling process and the deadline fixed by the Supreme Court for completing admissions. Such an attitude would not be tolerated by the courts and such cases would not be dealt with “kid gloves,” he added.
“Every year, this court is able to see that there is a huge delay even to start the first round of counselling… It is not known as to whether such a confusion is created for any valid reasons or it is intentionally done to help the self-financing institutions to take advantage of the last minute chaos and admit candidates on their own,” the judge said.
Colleges asked to pay
He also imposed a total cost of ₹30 lakh on Arupadai Veedu Medical College, Vinayaka Mission Medical College, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Manakula Vinayakar Medical College and Hospital, Venkateswara Medical College and Hospital, and Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, all in Puducherry, for having admitted the 65 doctors in the PG courses in violation of the norms.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) itself had directed the six institutions to discharge all 65 candidates. However, they had approached the High Court and obtained an interim stay of the discharge orders in 2018. While granting the stay, the court had obtained an undertaking from the students that they would not claim any equity if the writ petitions were taken up for final disposal after they complete their studies.
“Therefore, even though the dismissal of these writ petitions is going to cause great damage to their careers, it is something which is not totally unexpected” the judge said. He added that it was nevertheless a painful exercise for him to pass such an order after they had completed their course.
He said the blame was on the students, too, since they did not evince interest in conducting the cases after obtaining the interim orders. It was only when they were prevented from writing the final examinations that the doctors wanted the cases to be resurrected. “It is seen that the institutions and the candidates had taken a calculated risk and having undertaken such a risk, they must also be prepared for the consequences,” he observed.
Authoring a 134-page judgment, Justice Venkatesh said a part of the mistake was also on the courts that grant interim orders in college admission-related cases every year and take up those cases for final hearing only after students complete their courses. He said a cue must be taken from the present case and courts must give priority to such cases and dispose them at the earliest so that students need not waste their precious time.