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Dental Council of India v. Dr. Hedgewar Smruti Rugna Seva Mandal, Hingoli and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (11 Apr 2017)

High Courts should not allow admissions in medical/ dental colleges lacking approval



In instant case, Respondent, a dental college, submitted its scheme for grant of permission to start post-graduate course of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics along with four other specialties. A team of Dental Council of India, Appellant conducted a pre-PG assessment of Respondent-college and submitted its report to Council. Assessment report was considered by Executive Committee observed that, there were deficiencies and college was required to submit compliance. Government of India after considering recommendation of Council, disapproved scheme of Respondent-college for starting MDS course in specialty of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics for academic session 2016-2017.

Being dissatisfied with decision of Government of India which is based on recommendation of Council, Respondent-college knocked at doors of High Court by filing a writ petition. High Court held that, controversy or issue involved in matter requires consideration and due to paucity of time, this Court is unable to decide this matter finally. In such circumstances, impugned communication dated 31st March, 2016 was stayed until next date. Further, Admission process undertaken by Petitioner is at risk of Petitioner. Petitioner shall intimate order passed by this Court to students who are intending to take admission. Assailing order, it is submitted that, High Court could not have, in absence of approval of scheme submitted by college, passed an order of present nature by staying the order and observing that, admission process undertaken by institution would be at its own risk.

Court should not pass such interim orders in matters of admission, more so, when institution had not been accorded approval. Such kind of interim orders are likely to cause chaos, anarchy and uncertainty. And, there is no reason for creating such situations. There is no justification or requirement. High Court may feel that, while exercising power under Article 226 of Constitution, it can pass such orders with certain qualifiers as has been done by impugned order, but it really does not save the situation. It is because an institution which has not been given approval for course, gets a premium. That apart, by virtue of interim order, Court grants approval in a way which is subject matter of final adjudication before it. Anxiety of students to get admission reigns supreme as they feel that, institution is granting admission on basis of an order passed by High Court.

High Court has to realize nature of lis or controversy. It is quite different. It is not a construction which is built at risk of a Plaintiff or the Defendant which can be demolished or redeemed by grant of compensation. It is a situation where order has potentiality to play with career and life of young. There is no reason to invite a disaster by way of an interim order. A Judge has to constantly remind himself about precedents in field and not to be swayed away by his own convictions.

In the instant case, precedents are clear and luculent. It does not allow any space for any kind of equivocation. In Priya Gupta, Court had requested High Courts to ensure strict adherence to prescribed time schedule, process of selection and role of merit and except in very exceptional cases, to decline interim orders. Adjudication in accordance with precedents is cultivation of humility. As long as a precedent is binding under the constitutional scheme, it has to be respected by all.

Supreme Court held that, impugned order passed by Single Judge of High Court is unsustainable. Respondent-college has been granted approval for academic session 2017-2018. By virtue of interim order passed by High Court, three students had been admitted and they are prosecuting their studies. Students who have been admitted shall be allowed to continue their courses, but their seats shall be adjusted from academic session 2017-2018. Respondent-college cannot be allowed to get a premium. The grant of bounty is likely to allow such institutions to develop an attitude of serendipity. Such a culture is inconceivable. Therefore, apart from adjustment of seats for the next academic session, Respondent-college is directed to deposit a sum of Rs. 30 Lakhs before Registry of this Court.

Relevant : Priya Gupta v. State of Chhattisgarh and Ors. MANU/SC/0437/2012


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