New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered status quo in admission to undergraduate medical courses in private medical institutes in Madhya Pradesh on a plea of contempt of court filed by the state government.
The state government had contended that private medical colleges were not admitting students on the basis of centralised counselling being conducted by it, and were thus acting in “wilfull and deliberate disobedience of top court’s May 2 verdict.
The constitution bench comprising Justice Anil R Dave, Justice AK Sikri, Justice RK Agrawal, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice R Banumathi issued notice to the private medical colleges, their association and deemed universities based in the state returnable before September 19 when the bench would hear the contempt plea.
The order of status quo is effective both on the counselling being conducted by the respective private medical colleges and the centralised counselling being done by the state government.
Alleging “wilfull and deliberate disobedience” of top court verdict, Additional Solicitor General PS Patwalia told the court said that the private medical colleges were repeating their defiance of the top court’s order.
He referred to an earlier judgment of the court wherein some of the private medical colleges were hauled up for their defiance of the court’s order.
Appearing for the private medical colleges, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said that it was the fundamental right of the private colleges to admit students through their own counselling.
To buttress his point, Sibal told the bench that private medical college had a different fee structure, and the state government, after counselling, send a student for admission but he may not be able to afford to pay the fee being charged by the college. Same thing may happen in the second counselling.
Before the issuance of notice, Justice Sikri told Sibal that he had a “point which needs to be considered”.
Alleging that government was destroying education, Sibal said that when everything starting from NEET to admission was being done by the state, then why would private entrepreneurs establish private institutions, adding that entire the state-led counselling was contrary to the statute and the regulations.
At this Patwalia said that private medical colleges could not challenge the provision of statute and regulations in a contempt plea.
Madhya Pradesh government, in its petition, seeking contempt proceedings against private medical colleges has said that the top court in its May 2 judgment had said that the centralised counselling by the State government does not violate any fundamental right and is in public interest.
The state government in its petition said that by September 2 communication to the state government, the Association of Privates Medical and Dental Colleges said that they would be holding their own counselling as the counselling being conducted by the State government was not in accordance with law.
The petition by the state says that the central government by its August 9 circular had directed combined centralised counselling on the basis of merit of NEET.