Sunday, February 5, 2023

Fee regulation in private medical colleges: Supreme Court issues notice on NMC’s transfer plea

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The Supreme Court has issued notice on a petition filed by the National Medical Commission (NMC), seeking transfer of all petitions to either the Supreme Court or any one High Court, challenging the validity of its decision to stipulate the fee of 50 percent seats in Private Medical Colleges and Deemed Universities at par with the fee of Government Medical Colleges in the respective States and Union Territories.

The Bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli passed the order on October 21, noting that the transfer plea, the main petition and the connected matters were to be listed before the Bench on November 4.

On the last date of hearing, Justice Chandrachud had suggested Advocate Gaurav Sharma, appearing on behalf of NMC, to file a transfer petition so that the Apex Court could transfer all the matters in this regard to either itself or consolidate them and send to the Delhi High Court or any other High Court for disposal. 

The NMC then filed the transfer petition, on which the notice was issued.

As per the office memorandum (OM) issued by NMC on February 3, 2022, 50 percent seats in Private Medical Colleges were mandated to be at par with fees in Government Medical Colleges of a particular state. 

The OM said the benefit of such fee structure would be first made available to those candidates, who have availed Government quota seats, but limited to the extent of 50 percent of total sanctioned strength of the respective medical college/deemed university.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh contended on the last hearing that the OM has been stayed by three High Courts of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Madras.

In fact, the Madras High Court had found the notification to be ‘bad in law’ and remanded it back to the regulator, noted Singh.

Since the High Courts had stayed the operation of the notification in their respective states, the petitioners were constrained to approach the Supreme Court seeking pan-India implications, added the lawyer.

(Case Title: AHSI Association Of Health Sciences Institutes v. Union of India)

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