Chennai: The Madras High Court has lamented that rules and deadlines pertaining to admission to MBBS courses in the country have been changing so rapidly that no one knows "what the law is and where we stand".
"Our education in law appears to be inadequate to understand the law of education," Justice V Ramasubramanian said while passing order on a batch of writ petitions filed by MBBS aspirants on Tuesday.
The judge asked the students and management of two colleges to approach the Supreme Court for remedy.
"It appears that the Supreme Court repeatedly fixed time schedules and repeatedly warned statutory authorities not to violate the time schedule.... But, quite a few orders passed by various courts beyond the time schedule fixed by the Supreme Court were also upheld by the Supreme Court...," the judge said.
Justice Ramasubramanian, empathising with the plight of meritorious students, however, said he did not propose to violate the Supreme Court-set schedule for MBBS admissions.
The judge said asking the government to redo the entire list for these two colleges, or throwing out students with low scores admitted in these colleges, or giving relief only to 28 students before the court would open a Pandora`s Box, adding that it would not be possible as the apex court's deadline was long over.
The judge, as a way out, then asked the students and management of these two colleges to approach the Supreme Court for remedy.
The case relates to 84 MBBS seats in two private unaided medical institutions ? 32 seats in Chennai Medical College and Research Centre in Tiruchirappalli and 52 seats in Tagore Medical College and Hospital in Chennai.
The supreme court had in 2005, for the first time, set a schedule for the conduct of exams and three rounds of counselling. It also set September 30 as the last date for admission of students every year.
The apex court reiterated the schedule in April this year, complete with possible dates, and warned authorities that if they did not comply with the time schedule, they would suffer the risk of contempt.Trouble erupted this year when the Medical Council of India refused renewal for five existing colleges. They failed to earn any reprieve before single judges, who said they would not violate the time schedule fixed by the apex court and "become a party to making the high court guilty of contempt of the Supreme Court."
However, a division bench reversed the decisions and directed the Centre to consider renewal. The Centre found itself in a piquant situation, as following the order would mean contempt of the apex court, while not following it would amount to contempt of the high court.
The apex court, on September 18, passing orders on a different batch of cases filed by medical colleges in the country, sought to bend its own schedule saying the country needed more doctors and hence MBBS seats could not be allowed to go waste.
Its permission to these colleges to admit students this year, however, came with conditions -- it asked them to admit only students sponsored by governments as per merit list, and charge only government fee, which works out to just Rs 12,000 as against Rs three lakh upwards charged by private colleges. If they deviate from the undertaking they would forfeit their deposit with the MCI and face contempt too.
Of the five colleges from the state, only two chose the option, and government forwarded 150 students each for admission. It is in these lists that 84 seats remain vacant, and some students approached the court alleging goof-up by authorities whose lists overlooked more meritorious students who had turned down admission in private colleges saying the fee was too high.
Empathising with the plight of these meritorious students, the judge, however, said he did not propose to violate the Supreme Court-set schedule for MBBS admissions.