• Ms. Kanika Balhara

Christian Medical Vellore Association v. Union of India (2020 SCC OnLine SC 423 )

CASE

Christian Medical Vellore Association v. Union of India


CITATION

2020 SCC OnLine SC 423


CORAM

Supreme court of India

Full Bench - Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra, Hon’ble Justice Vineet Saran and Hon’ble Justice MR Shah


ALSO KNOWN AS

X-----X


POINT OF CONSIDERATION

Rights of the unaided/aided minority to administer institutions under Articles 19(1) (g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution.


FACTS

  1. The petitioners had questioned four notifications ­ two notifications dated 21.12.2010 issued by Medical Council of India (for short, ‘the MCI’) and other two notifications dated 31.5.2012, issued by Dental Council of India (for short, ‘the DCI’). The MCI by virtue of Regulations on Graduate Medical Education (Amendment) 2010, (Part II) notified by the Government of India, amended the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997.

  2. Similarly, the other notification issued by MCI called “Post­Graduate Medical Education (Amendment) Regulation, 2010 (Part­II)” to amend the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000. [The regulations came into force on their publication in the Official Gazette. The other two notifications dated 31.5.2012 issued by DCI were relating to admission in the BDS and MDS courses.]

  3. Similar notifications were issued by DCI providing procedures for the selection of candidates for MBBS Course and Postgraduate Course and also for BDS and MDS. Thus, National Eligibility ­cum ­Entrance Test (for short, ‘the NEET’) for admission to the MBBS course and the Post­graduate course and similarly for BDS and MDS came to be introduced.

  4. Initially, the matters filed in 2012­2013 were heard by a Bench of three Judges, and the matters were decided to vide judgment and order dated 18.7.2013. As per the majority opinion, the petitions were allowed. The notifications issued by MCI and DCI providing for NEET were quashed. However, the admissions, which were made, were not interfered with. Review petitions were filed, which were entertained and were ultimately allowed on 11.4.2016, and judgment dated 18.7.2013 was recalled.


ISSUES RAISED & RATIO

  • Whether by providing centralised examination system – NEET for admission to MBBS, PG, BDS and MDS by virtue of the provisions made in the Act and regulations, there is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution of India?

The Court held that rights under Articles 19(1)(g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution of India do not come in the way of securing transparency and recognition of merits in the matter of admissions. It is open to regulating the course of study, qualifications for ensuring educational standards. It is open to imposing reasonable restrictions in the national and public interest.


The rights under Article 19(1)(g) are not absolute and are subject to reasonable restriction in the interest of the student's community to promote merit, recognition of excellence, and to curb the malpractices. The Uniform Entrance Test qualifies the test of proportionality and is reasonable. The same is intended to check several maladies which crept into medical education, to prevent capitation fees by admitting students which are lower in merit and to prevent exploitation, profiteering, and commercialisation of education. The institution has to be a capable vehicle of education. The minority institutions are equally bound to comply with the conditions imposed under the relevant Acts and Regulations to enjoy affiliation and recognition, which apply to all institutions.


In case they have to impart education, they are bound to comply with the conditions which are equally applicable to all. The regulations are necessary, and they are not divisive or disintegrative. Such regulatory measures enable institutions to administer them efficiently. There is no right given to maladminister the education derogatory to the national interest. The quality of medical education is imperative to sub­serve the national interest, and the merit cannot be compromised. The Government has the right for providing regulatory measures that are in the national interest, more so in view of Article 19(6) of the Constitution of India.


The rights of the religious or linguistic minorities under Article 30 are not in conflict with other parts of the Constitution. Balancing the rights is constitutional intent in the national and more enormous public interest. Regulatory measures cannot be said to be exceeding the concept of limited governance. The regulatory measures in question are for the improvement of the public health and is a step, in furtherance of the directive principles enshrined in Articles 47 and 51(A)(j) and enable the individual by providing full opportunity in pursuance of his objective to excel in his pursuit. The rights to administer an institution under Article 30 of the Constitution are not above the law and other Constitutional provisions. Reasonable regulatory measures can be provided without violating such rights available under Article 30 of the Constitution to administer an institution. Professional educational institutions constitute a class by themselves. Specific measures to make the administration of such institutions transparent can be imposed.


The rights available under Article 30 are not violated by provisions carved out in Section 10D of the MCI Act and the Dentists Act and Regulations framed by MCI/DCI. The regulatory measures are intended for the proper functioning of institutions and to ensure that the standard of education is maintained and does not fall low under the guise of an exclusive right of management to the extent of maladministration. The regulatory measures by prescribing NEET is to bring the education within the realm of charity which character it has lost. It intends to weed out evils from the system and various malpractices which decayed the system. The regulatory measures in no way interfere with the rights to administer the institution by the religious or linguistic minorities.


The provisions of the Act and regulation cannot be said to be ultra vires or taking away the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India under Article 30(1) read with Articles 19(1)(g), 14, 25, 26 and 29(1).


Accordingly, the transferred cases, appeal, and writ petitions were disposed of.


IMPORTANT CASES REFERRED

  1. Sankalp Charitable Trust and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors., (Writ Petition (C) No.261 of 2016)

  2. Modern Dental College and Research Centre and Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors., (2016) 7 SCC 353

  3. T.M.A. Pai Foundation and Ors. v. State of Karnataka and Ors., (2002) 8 SCC 481

  4. Gobind v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Anr., (1975) 2 SCC 148

  5. Islamic Academy of Education and Ors. v. State of Karnataka and Ors., (2003) 6 SCC 697

  6. K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1

  7. P.A. Inamdar and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra and Ors., (2005) 6 SCC 537

  8. Christian Medical College Vellore v. Union of India, (2014) 2 SCC 305

  9. State of Madhya Pradesh v. Jainarayan Chouksey and Ors., (2016) 9 SCC 412

  10. St. Xavier's College Society and Anr. v. State of Gujarat and Anr., (1974) 1 SCC 717

  11. St. Stephen's College v. University of Delhi, (1992) 1 SCC 558

  12. Medical Council of India v. Christian Medical College, Vellore, (2016) 4 SCC 342

  13. Faculty Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences v. Union of India and Ors., (2013) 11 SCC 246

  14. Dr. Preeti Srivastava and Anr. v. State of M.P. and Ors. (1999) 7 SCC 120

  15. Kesavananda Bharati v. The State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225


The author is a law graduate from the University School of Law & Legal Studies, GGS IP University, New Delhi.

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