Lack Of Adequate Medical Institutions Compels Students To Go Abroad: Delhi HC

The high court’s observation came while granting permission to increase seats in post graduate and undergraduate courses in Santosh Medical College

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New Delhi:

Due to lack of adequate medical institutions providing quality affordable education to aspiring students, they are compelled to leave home country and pursue studies abroad and this reality has become a cause of concern when due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, thousands of Indian medical students have been brought back and have lost their seats in colleges, the Delhi High Court has said.

The high court’s observation came while granting permission to increase seats in post graduate and undergraduate courses in Santosh Medical College, an institute being run and managed by Santosh Trust which was formally known as the Maharaji Educational Trust.

“I cannot also lose sight of the fact that on account of the lack of adequate number of medical institutions providing quality affordable education to cater to the needs of the aspiring students, they are often compelled to make the choice of leaving behind their home country and pursuing their studies abroad.”

“This reality has especially become a cause of concern at a time when due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, several thousand Indian medical students, who had gone to pursue their medical education in the now war-hit Ukraine have been rescued and brought home, have also lost their seats in medical colleges,” Justice Rekha Palli said in a 41-page judgement passed on Tuesday.

The court said that no doubt the authorities cannot be asked to lower the standards prescribed under the regulations however, simultaneously, in a situation like the present one, when it is found that an institute like the petitioner which has been running for the last over 20 years, not lacking in any infrastructure and has also rectified the deficiencies found at the time of initial inspections on account of COVID-19 pandemic, it would also be against public interest to deny permission to the petitioner to increase the seats.

“At a time when the ratio of medical profession vis-a-vis the population of the country is abysmally low, an increase in the number of PG and UG seats would certainly contribute to the bigger goal of strengthening the medical infrastructure of the country,” the court said.

The court quashed two orders of National Medical Commission (NMC), represented through advocate T Singhdev, and directed it and other authorities to grant permission to the institute to increase the seats from 4 to 7 in MS (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), from 3 to 7 in MS (Orthopaedics), and from 100-150 in the MBBS course.

The court was dealing with a petition by the trust, which runs and manages a group of medical, dental, paramedical, and para-dental colleges/institutions in the National Capital Region, including the petitioner which is a medical educational institute, offering MBBS course and post-graduate courses.

The petition challenged the disapproval letters issued by NMC rejecting the petitioners’ request for grant of permission for increase of seats in the institute in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course and post-graduate courses of MS (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and MS (Orthopaedics). It also challenged the authorities’ another order directing an interim inspection of the college for continuation of its existing recognition for 100 MBBS seats.

The court, while setting aside the two orders, said these directions are being issued only in the light of these peculiar facts and by taking into account the fact that the petitioner institute has already missed the first two rounds of counselling and any further delay at this stage would prevent it from participating even in the upcoming Mop-Up and Online Stray Vacancy rounds of counselling. It granted permission to the college to participate in the remaining rounds of counselling with the increased seats without any further inspections.

“The fact remains that the petitioner institute is an institution running for the last 28 years having produced a considerable number of doctors for the country, which is still unable to meet the aspirations of the younger generation to pursue medical studies. It is the respondents’ own case that the petitioner institute has a valid permission for admitting students not only against 100 seats in MBBS but also in different PG courses,” the court noted.

The court found merit in the petitioners’ submission that the complaints made against it were yet to be verified by the authorities and this cannot be a ground to either presume that any illegalities were being committed by the college or the Trust or to refuse permission for enhancement of seats despite availability of necessary infrastructure.

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