On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered a Medical College in Telangana to pay Rs. 10 Lakh compensation to an MS Surgery course aspirant for illegally denying her admission to the college.
A division bench comprising of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta was hearing an appeal filed by the National Medical Commission (earlier Medical Council of India) against a judgment of the Telangana High Court which had ordered the NMC to create or sanction one seat to enable the Respondent no. 1 to get admission.
After hearing the contentions of both the parties, the SC bench ordered the college to grant admission to the candidate for the next academic year since the last date of admission for the current academic year had expired.
“Respondent No.1 has lost one precious academic year for no fault of hers for which she has to be compensated by way of an amount of Rs.10 Lakhs to be paid by Respondent No.2 College within a period of four weeks from today,” ordered the court.
Background of the case
Mothukuru Sriyah Koumudi, Respondent No. 1 in the present appeal had applied for a postgraduate course in surgery at the Kamineni Academy of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Hyderabad (Respondent no. 2) after securing the All-India Rank of 93563 with 327 marks rank in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), 2020.
After being granted provisional admission, she was asked to report before the college on July 29 or 30, by 4 PM, the latter being the last date for admission.
Even though Koumudi visited the college with her parent for admission, her admission process was not completed. However, another candidate, who was below her on the merit list was granted admission. Therefore, Koumudi challenged the refusal to grant admission before the High Court.
A Division Bench of the High Court had then directed the medical college to create an additional seat and accommodate Koumudi. However, the National Medical Commission challenged this order before the apex court while contending that additional seats cannot be created in this fashion.
Supreme Court Observations
The Supreme court while referring to the judgment of S. Krishna Sradha vs. the State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. stated that in a case where candidate/student has approached the court at the earliest and without any delay and that the question is with respect to the admission in the medical course, all the efforts shall be made by the concerned court to dispose of the proceedings by giving priority and at the earliest.
Further, the top court bench agreed with the observations of the Telangana High Court which held that the college was indeed at fault for not having completed the admission formalities.
“The manner in which Respondent No.2 – (College) acted in depriving admission to Respondent No.1 and giving admission to Respondent No.5 s deplorable. The management of the medical colleges are not expected to indulge in such illegalities in making admissions to medical courses,” stated the division bench of SC.
The Court, however, added that additional seats cannot be created in the manner done by the High Court. “The annual intake capacity is fixed by the MCI (now National Medical Commission) which has to strictly adhere, the apex court said. Admissions to medical colleges cannot be permitted to be made beyond the sanctioned annual intake capacity of a medical college,” it added.
“In case the Court is of the opinion that no relief of admission can be granted to such a candidate in the very academic year and wherever it finds that the action of the authorities has been arbitrary and in breach of the rules and regulations or the prospectus affecting the rights of the students and that a candidate is found to be meritorious and such candidate/student has approached the court at the earliest and without any delay, the court can mould the relief and direct the admission to be granted to such a candidate in the next academic year by issuing appropriate directions by directing to increase in the number of seats as may be considered appropriate in the case and in case of such an eventuality and if it is found that the management was at fault and wrongly denied the admission to the meritorious candidate, in that case, the Court may direct to reduce the number of seats in the management quota of that year, meaning thereby the student/students who was/were denied admission illegally to be accommodated in the next academic year out of the seats allotted in the management quota,” observed the top court while citing the case of S. Krishna Sradha v. the State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors.
Therefore, the top court ordered that Koumudi be granted admission next academic year.
“One seat in MS (General Surgery) course from the Management Quota of the concerned Medical College for the next academic year (2021-22) shall be granted to the appellant,” read the judgment.
Further, while asserting that the grant of compensation could be an additional remedy but not a substitute for restitution remedies, the court observed that in an appropriate case the Court may award the compensation to such a meritorious candidate who for no fault of his/her has to lose one full academic year and who could not be granted any relief of admission in the same academic year.
Subsequently, the court ordered the Medical College in Telangana to pay Rs. 10 Lakh compensation to Mothukuru Sriyah Koumudi.