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State can revoke Essentiality Certificate of Medical College if it failed to keep minimum standards

Sukh Sagar Medical College & Hospital Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. , CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2843/2020 (arising out of SLP(C) No. 3820/2020) , 31st July 2020.

The bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Hon’ble Justice Sanjiv Khanna pronounced the judgment  on the appeal regarding the issue  whether the State Government   had   unjustly   revoked   the   Essentiality   Certificate granted   to   Gyanjeet   Sewa   Mission   Trust   for   establishing  a medical  college at Jabalpur in  the State  of Madhya  Pradesh, being contrary to the decision of a two­Judge Bench of this Court in Chintpurni Medical College and Hospital & Anr. Vs. State of Punjab & Ors. ?

In the present case, the State Government in its order dated 5.9.2019, has  adverted to  several aspects including the assessment report of the MCI and inspection report of the Committee.  The substance of the reason weighed with the State Government, as can be culled out from the stated order, is that the appellant had failed to fulfil the commitment given to the State at the relevant time ­ of providing minimum infrastructure and fulfilment of the norms of MCI and appointing the staff as per norms of MCI ­ for all this period and was incapable in doing so despite repeated opportunities given since 2016 by the MCI. Further,   even   though   the   appellant   was   granted   conditional Letter  of  Permission  (LoP)  for  academic  year  2016-­17, it  had failed to remove the deficiencies, as a result of which not even the first batch could pursue or complete the medical course in the appellant­-College.     The   concerned   students   kept   on   making earnest representation to the State authorities to rescue them from   the   hiatus   situation   in   which   they   were   trapped. Indisputably, the concerned students (admitted in the first batch of 2016-­17) were eventually reallocated to another recognised 27 college after November, 2019, as no renewal of permission to the appellant-­College was forthcoming for three successive academic sessions i.e. 2017­-18, 2018­-19 and 2019­-20.

The Court then went on to hold that the State Government is designated   by   the   1999   Regulations   only   for   the   purpose   of Essentiality Certificate to justify the establishment of a medical college within its territories and that too when approached by a person seeking to establish a medical college.  There is no direct conferral of any power of general inspection on the State and neither can such a power be read into the Regulations nor be implied as necessary to carry out an expressly conferred power which does not exist.  While rejecting the argument of the State about the inherent right of the State to withdraw the Essentiality Certificate.

The   Court   then   noted   the   argument   of   the   State   about   the existence of its power ascribable to Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897.   In that regard, the Court noted that the certificate is neither a notification nor an order or rule or bye­law as contemplated by Section 21 of the 1897 Act.  Further, the act of issuance of  Essentiality Certificate by the State is a  quasijudicial  function.     It   is   neither   a   legislative   nor   an   executive function as such, so as to attract Section 21 of the 1897 Act. Further, advisedly, there is no provision in the IMC Act or the 1999 Regulations empowering the State to revoke or cancel the Essentiality   Certificate   once   granted   by   it   in   respect   of   an established medical college.  In absence of an express provision in that regard and issuance of an Essentiality Certificate being a quasi­judicial function, Section 21 of the 1897 Act will be of no avail.

The Court hold   that  Chintpurni Medical   College case  does   not   lay   down   in   absolute   terms   that   the   State cannot   revoke   the   Essentiality   Certificate   once   granted   for opening   of   a   new   medical   college   within   the   State.

The State had no power to withdraw the Essentiality Certificate once granted in respect of an established college.  At the same time, the Court following earlier decisions of this  Court observed that even  in such a situation, the State would   be   competent   to   withdraw   the   certificate,   where   it   is obtained by fraud or in circumstances where the very substratum on which the Essentiality Certificate was granted disappears or any other reason of the like nature.

In the present case, however, the appellant-­College was at the threshold stage of only opening and starting first year course for academic year 2016­-17.  It failed and neglected to fulfil even the minimum benchmark of standards specified by the MCI allowing it to run the medical college.  Admittedly, no renewal permissions from   the   Central   Government   were   issued   for   the   successive academic years.  In that sense, it is not a case of withdrawal of the Essentiality Certificate of an “established” medical college as such.   Had it been a case of well ­established and a running medical college having basic minimum infrastructure as per the specifications of the MCI and State Government was to withdraw its Essentiality Certificate, that matter would stand on a different footing than the case at hand, where the college has miserably failed to ensure completion of medical course even of the first batch for three successive academic sessions from 2016-­17 due to non­renewal of permission by the MCI.

Therefore, the Court  uphold the order of the High Court rejecting the subject writ   petition   filed   by   the   appellant-­College and  appeal is accordingly dismissed.

View/ Download the Judgment: Sukh Sagar Medical College & Hospital Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

Civil Appeal 2843 of 2020
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