Supreme Court Imposes Rs 2.5 Cr Penalty on Maharashtra Medical College for Enrolling Students Despite Stay Order

The Supreme Court on Friday directed a Maharashtra medical college to deposit Rs 2.5 crore as penalty with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for “overreaching” its order and admitting 100 MBBS students despite a stay order.

The top court said this amount, which will be deposited in four weeks, will be used as per the discretion of the AIIMS director for the treatment of poor patients.

In a hearing last year, the court had likened Annasaheb Chudaman Patil Memorial Medical College to the movie ‘Munna Bhai M.B.B.S’ and noted that a surprise inspection by a National Medical Commission (NMC) team had found that all “hale and hearty” children were lying in the paediatric ward.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala recalled that the NMC inspection team had found that the hospital logbook had medical records, including the blood pressure of patients, of a future date.

“The court has due regard to the situation of 100 of the students if admission is to be disturbed but at the same time, sanctity of the orders of this court has to be maintained. The respondent (medical college) shall deposit Rs 2.5 crore with AIIMS and as a proof, (a) receipt be furnished to the petitioner, National Medical Commission, and the registry of this court,” the bench said in its order.

“The amount (will) be used by the AIIMS director at his discretion for treatment of poor patients,” it said.

The top court warned the college that it should not recover the penalty amount from the students.

Advocate Gaurav Sharma, appearing for the NMC, said that for the academic year 2022-23, permission has been granted to the college for 100 MBBS seats after the inspection team found that it has rectified its deficiencies. However, in 2021-22, when the college was directed by this court not to enrol students, the institution continued with the process.

Senior advocate Nidesh Gupta, appearing for the medical college said that admission for 2021-22 had already been done by March and this court had passed the stay order on April 8.

The bench said that then the college should have brought this fact to the notice of this court by moving an application.

“This appears to be a clear overreach of our orders and hence a penalty needs to be imposed on the college. We will not disturb the admission of the students as it has an effect on their education,” the bench said.

On April 8 last year, the top court had taken serious note of the NMC inspection report and stayed the admission of 100 MBBS students till further orders.

The top court had directed the NMC to get a fresh inspection of the college conducted by professor-rank officers within two months to see whether it complied with the norms or not.

It had said that the college has been directed to stop admission with immediate effect in pursuance of the deficiencies which were noticed during the course of inspections conducted on January 14 and 15, 2022.

Annasaheb Chudaman Patil Memorial Medical College, which is situated in Maharashtra’s Dhule district, had earlier said that the inspection was carried out on the day of ‘Makar Sankranti’ and the officials who came to inspect were not from a random pool of the NMC.

The top court had then said, “Just understand where the medical education is going to go. You had healthy children in the paediatric ward, who were brought in without any ailments and by the evening they all went back to their homes. The nurses on January 14, had records from January 16 onwards what the blood pressure would be of patients and what other blood parameters would be. This is completely doctored data which was produced by the college.”

It had noted that there were so-called patients who had registration numbers like 11111 and 66666 and all the patients were healthy.

The NMC had told the top court that permission for admission of additional students was cancelled as there were no operation theatre or X-RAY machines in the college besides other deficiencies.

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