Private medical colleges without MCI clearance can't charge high fees: SC

Private medical colleges, which claimed to have the required infrastructure in place but were not eligible to admit students as they did not have mandatory Medical Council of India clearance, had got a bonanza on September 18 when the Supreme Court permitted admissions for the 2014-15 academic year. 

However, just a week later, the court issued an important clarification, saying these institutes could collect admission fees only at par with that charged by government medical colleges. 

Not only that, a bench of Justices A R Dave, Vikramjit Sen and U U Lalit said students admitted this academic year would pay fees at the rate applicable in government medical colleges till they pass out from the private medical college. 

"Fees chargeable from students admitted pursuant to our September 18 order shall be at the same rate as applicable to students in government medical colleges in respective states and such fees shall be at the same levels as that of the government medical colleges till the students so admitted pass out from the private medical colleges or institutions," the bench said. 

It also clarified that for the current academic year, students would be admitted only from the state quota list. "There shall not be any management quota list to be sent to the private colleges or institutions taking the benefit under our September 18 order. The management quota shall also be filled through the state list and the fees chargeable for the management quota shall also be charged at the same levels and rates as applicable to state quota list," the bench said. 

Colleges had pleaded that though they had rectified the deficiencies pointed out by MCI in its last inspection report, the time was short for the regulator to conduct a fresh inspection and clear them for admitting students, the deadline for which was set at September 30. 

The bench had on September 18 agreed to allow them to admit students on an undertaking that they had complied with MCI's conditions for admitting students. 

While seeking the undertaking in 10 days, the court had said, "Private medical colleges would also state that their deposit with MCI, which is around Rs 10 crore, be forfeited by way of penalty if the statement made in the undertaking is found to be incorrect at the time of next inspection." 

On September 25, the court extended the benefit on identical conditions to those private medical colleges which were seeking increase in intake capacity but were denied permission by MCI on the ground that they were deficient in infrastructure. These institutions too claimed that they had removed the deficiencies. 

"Our order shall also apply to all similarly situated institutions irrespective of the fact whether any petitions were or are pending in this court or in any of the high courts or even if they had not approached any court at all. This order shall also apply even in cases where there were orders of stay in favour of MCI restraining colleges from admitting students for the current academic year," the bench said.

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