SC wants curbs on illegal practices in medical education

SC wants curbs on illegal practices in medical education

The Supreme Court on Friday stressed on the “extreme necessity” for a central legislation in order to curb the unethical practices in medical education in the country.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri also noted with concern the growth of medical, engineering, nursing and pharmaceutical colleges, affecting the overall quality of education.

Dealing with a writ petition filed by Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital Bareilly against Medical Council of India’s (MCI) decision to revoke permission for increased intake of MBBS students, the court called upon for “serious introspection” with regard to state of affairs particularly in medical education.

“Private medical educational institutions are always demanding more number of seats in their colleges even though many of them have no sufficient infrastructural facilities, clinical materials, faculty members, etc. Reports appear every now and then that many of the private institutions which are conducting medical courses are demanding lakhs and sometimes crores of rupees for MBBS and for post-graduate admission in their respective colleges,” the bench said.

Effective steps needed

“The Central government, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, CBI or the intelligence wing have to take effective steps to undo such unethical practices or else self-financing institutions will turn to be students financing institutions,” the bench cautioned.

It noted that the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University Bill, 2010, has been introduced in both Houses of Parliament but no follow up action has been taken.

“We are confident, earnest efforts would be made to bring in proper legislation, so that unethical and unfair practices prevalent in higher technical and medical institutions can be effectively curbed in the larger public interest,” the court said.

While dismissing the petition, the bench pointed out that an investigation by the CBI had prima facie revealed that the college has used fake and forged materials to get sanction for the intake for the year 2008-09.

The MCI was justified in revoking the decision under the regulation–“Minimum Standard Requirements for the Medical College for 100 Admissions Annually Regulations, 1999”, the court said.

Commenting on the larger issue, the court said, the Central government wanted to grant autonomy to institutes of higher education but adoption of unfair practices was a serious violation of the law.

It pointed out that Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi have passed some legislation to prohibit demand/collection of capitation fee, but they have no teeth as the institutions indulging in unfair practices could get away by paying a meager fine.

The apex court referred to the pathetic situation in which the CBI had to charge sheet the then Union minister of health and family welfare A Ramadoss and arrest Ketan Desai, president MCI, in 2010 for allegedly accepting bribe to grant recognition to a medical college in Punjab.

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