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MBBS involves prior knowledge of senior secondary level in biology or biological sciences: SC

Kalonji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences v. Srikeerti Reddi Pingle & Ors.

Civil Appeal No. 390 of 2021.

Decided on February 16, 2021.

Counsel for appellant: Ms Madhavi Divan

Counsel for Respondent: Mr. Rana Mukherjee

A two-judge bench comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat decided the present case. The Court allowed the appeal to succeed, stating that the impugned order cannot be sustained.

The Respondent-student had applied for an MBBS course in the University (Appellant) which was declined on the grounds that the student has not provided proof of study of Biological science in the qualifying examination (10+2 or equivalent). The student, who completed the 12th grade from one Conrad High School, West Hartford, Connecticut, stated that it was equivalent to the Pre-University (Two Year Course) New Intermediate University and the 12-year Senior Secondary Board Examination Certificate of India. The student aggrieved by the notification of the University approached the High Court, providing a certificate issued by Conrad High School and another certificate issued by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education dated 23.12.2020.

Both the certificates declared that the 12th class/senior secondary examination of the West Hartford Board of Education, Connecticut USA was equivalent to the Intermediate Examination conducted by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education. The High Court, by its impugned order, relied upon the certificate of the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education, as well as the certificate of 14.12.2020 issued by the West Hartford Science Department Supervisor declared that she had completed her 12th grade with Biological Sciences as required by the concerned regulation. Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, the University filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Ms Madhavi Divan, Additional Solicitor General for India (ASG), relied upon Regulation 4(1) of the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, as amended from time to time, particularly on 23.01.2018 (hereafter “the MCI Regulations”) to submit that the University was justified in rejecting the student’s application for the admission the MBBS Course. Further, it was submitted that there was no material proof given by the student that will prove that she had gone through the complete course of Biological Science. Though she has completed an AP Biology course during her 10th grade it is required by the regulation to study Biological science in the 10+2 stage. The ASG argued that the University acted correctly and was within its rights in refusing admission on the ground of lack of equivalence in the qualification held by the student and the certificate submitted by her does not signifies as equivalent to a 10+2 qualification with Biological Sciences. Furthermore, the ASG stated that a candidate has to complete 2 years of scholastic training in Biological Sciences, which is essential.

The learned Counsel on behalf of the Respondent argued that the regulation never mentions that an eligible student has to study biological sciences every year. The Counsel relied upon the certificate issued by the Conrad High School and the equivalence certificate issued by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education. The Counsel argued that interpretation placed by the High Court on Regulation is correct and the declaration of equivalence established by the certificate of 23.12.2020 by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education could not have been discredited as was done by the University.

The Court heard the Counsels for both parties.

The Court took into consideration the MCI Regulations which contemplated six qualifications for eligibility, having regard to the nature and structure of high school education in India, and provided for equivalence in respect of other variants of similar examinations, possibly even overseas qualifications. The Court observed:

A careful reading of the said provision discloses that the MCI emphasized that the candidate should have undergone study at the 10+2 stage, (or in the intermediate course) in the specified subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology. In this case, the certificate relied upon by the student merely clarifies that she undertook a course whilst in the 10th grade. That, by no means, is sufficient to fall within the description of “equivalent” qualification under Regulation 4(2)(f). Nor, in the opinion of this court, can it be deemed adequate having regard to the letter of the Assistant Principal of Conrad High School that the AP course in Biological Sciences is of college standard. (Para 14)

The Court stated:

To be eligible, the candidate should produce clear and categorical material to show that she underwent the necessary years of study in all the stipulated subjects. This court is of the opinion that such stipulations are to be regarded as essential, given that the course in question, i.e., MBBS primarily if not predominantly, involves prior knowledge - both theoretical and practical, of senior secondary level in biology or biological sciences. (Para 22)

The Court set aside the impugned order and allowed the appeal.

Utkarsh Kumar Jayaswal



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