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Manipal University and Ors. v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (03 Jul 2017)

It is settled law that, what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly



Instant Appeal arises from a Writ Petition filed by Manipal University (formerly known as Manipal Academy of Higher Education) and Ors., wherein High Court disposed of Writ Petition giving effect to directions of this Court in PA Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra, until suitable law or Regulation is made by University Grants Commission (UGC) or Central Government. Aggrieved, Manipal University has preferred present Appeal. Principal question that, arises for consideration is regarding correctness of directions issued by second Respondent to Appellant not to fill up 103 seats in category of NRI/foreign students during years 2005 to 2008.

Appellant was granted status of a Deemed University in year 1993. There is also no controversy about directions issued by this Court regarding pegging of NRI quota in medical colleges at 15 per cent. Admittedly, Appellant has made admissions to NRI quota beyond 15 per cent. Both sides agree that, Medical Council of India does not have power to fix quotas to sub categories within total intake.

Second Respondent has a duty to ensure merit based selections. However, no direction can be issued by second Respondent interfering with Regulation or supervision of sub categories. Direction issued by second Respondent by its letter dated 08th February, 2005 is ultra vires and is liable to be declared illegal. Exercise of power by an authority has to be within contours conferred by statute and for purpose of promoting objectives of statute. There is no express power conferred on second Respondent in Medical Council of India Act, to interfere in allocation of quotas for sub categories. In facts and circumstances of present case, it is not possible to hold that, second Respondent has power to issue directions pertaining to NRI quota even by reasonable implication.

Appellant being a Deemed University is governed by provisions of UGC Act and competent authority to take any action for violation of provisions of Act regarding maintenance of standards is Commission. Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, obligate second Respondent to ensure merit based selection to admissions in medical colleges. However, second Respondent cannot issue directions interfering with quota in guise of exercising power under Regulation 5 of said Regulations. It is settled law that, what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly. Supreme Court allowed the appeal and held that, direction issued by second Respondent to Appellant not to make admissions to extent of 103 NRI seats for years 2005 to 2008 is declared ultra vires and without jurisdiction.

Relevant : PA Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra MANU/SC/2621/2005: (2005) 6 SCC 537


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