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In a significant decision, the Madras High Court on Friday directed the National Medical Commission to reconsider an office memorandum that directed that 50% of seats in private medical colleges and universities should be charged at the rate of government seats. The court said that the structure should be amended in such a way that eligibility is not affected.
NMC has been asked to reconsider the OM and issue a fresh OM if necessary. Till such exercise is completed, the existing fee structure prescribed will continue.
The Court also upheld the validity of Section 10 of the National Medical Commission Act.A division bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N Mala passed the order on a petition by private medical colleges, challenging the directions of the National Medical Commission, that the fee to be charged by the government on 50% seats in private institutions. Is equal to. This direction was issued in the office memorandum of the NMC notified on February 3, 2022.The petitioners had also challenged the validity of Section 10 of the National Medical Commission Act 2019, which empowered the Commission to frame guidelines for fixation of fee in respect of 50% seats in private medical institutions. As per the office memorandum passed by the NMC in accordance with the powers under section 10, 50% of the seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities should be charged along with the fee in government medical colleges of that particular state and union territory. , These benefits would earlier be applicable to those candidates who have availed government quota seats and where these seats were less than 50%, the remaining candidates could avail this benefit purely on merit.
The petitioners challenged the validity of the Act on the ground that it was violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. It was also submitted that even though the section was held to be valid, it gave only powers to “draw guidelines” for the determination of duty. Through the present memorandum, however, the NMC has fixed the fees for 50% of the seats.
The petitioners had also argued that it was impossible for private institutions that were entirely dependent on income through fees to charge fees heavily subsidized by the government.
The State submitted that the NMC was within its power to fix the fees and stressed the need for private institutions to participate in the welfare mechanism. The state relied on various precedents by the Supreme Court to substantiate its argument that the state should regulate the fees charged by private institutions. It was also emphasized that the state should ensure that fees should not be collected by private colleges for profit motive.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had issued notice on a batch of petitions challenging the NMC’s condition. Last week, the Kerala High Court had held that the NMC condition would not be applicable in private medical colleges and deemed universities in Kerala as the fees for such seats are decided by a statutory committee