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Supreme Court Orders Kannur Medical College To Pay ₹15.72 crore To Students Before Claiming Affiliation

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The Supreme Court in the judgment delivered on 18 February 2021, directed the Kannur Medical college to pay the amount of Rs.15.72 Crores as a refund to the students whose admissions were cancelled in the MBBS course of the year 2016-17 owing to irregularities in the college. It also directed the Admission Supervisory Committee (ASC) to pay an amount of RS. 25 Crore for claiming affiliation.

Facts of the case

In the present case, the Respondent medical college was established in the year 2006 with the intake of 100 students which was, later on, increased to 150 students per year. In the Supreme Court judgment of Sankalp Charitable Trust and Another v. Union of India and Others, it was directed that all the admissions for MBBS courses should take place through National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and later, the Union Government directed the states to take combined or centralised counselling of students for the admission in the year 2016-17. In consonance with these directions, the Government of Kerela directed medical colleges to take admissions of students selected by the Commissioner for Entrance Examination(CEE), which was challenged by the Respondent college before the High Court.

The ASC cancelled all the admissions made by KMC because the college had not called for online applications that complied with the requirements of the revised prospectus. The cancellation of admissions was confirmed by the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court. Aggrieved by this, a writ petition was filed by students in Kerela High Court which was dismissed and finally an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Pleadings in the Court

It was submitted by the learned counsel on behalf of the Appellant students that the relief should not have been granted by the Division Bench of the High Court, because the two Orders of this Court ordered the ASC to review the contested factual matrix relating to the actual sum charged by the students and to reimburse the duplicate amount decided and approved by KMC for direction and mandate. It was further contended that the Division Bench had passed the Order in November 2019 without hearing the adversely affected parties.

On the other hand, the learned Counsel on behalf of the Respondent contended that the Respondent college was working from the year 2006 with the compliance of all the statutory and regulatory requirements of a medical college. It was argued that they had already been penalised for not allowing them to take admissions for three academic years, i.e., 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2019-2020. It was further contended that KMC had already offered to deposit, if necessary, Rs.15.71 crores to be charged to double the amount of fee paid by the students. KMC and 134 guardians/students had entered into settlements. Also, students/guardians had also received payments of Rs.39 crores.

Court’s observation

The Supreme Court after taking into considerations the Orders passed by this Court on 29 August 2018 and 4 October 2018 observed that the Orders were passed with the intention that the payment should be made to the students or their parents as directed by the Orders. It further observed that the letter dated 29 August, in which KUHS rejected the application of the KMS for the continuation of the affiliation, was not wrong in any way as it was necessary regarding two Orders made by this Court.

Court’s judgment

It was held by the bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, and Sanjeev Khanna that Rs 15.73 crore should be returned by Kannur Medical College to the 55 students whose admissions were cancelled following an irregular procedure. The Court also ruled that a decision should be made by the fees control committee on the fees that should be returned to the 90 students over the next 9 months.

The Court directed the Kannur Medical College to deposit the amount of Rs.25 Lakh with the ASC to claim affiliation. The affiliation would be granted by KUHS and ASC only when the determination, settlement and refund of money were done by the college. 

Case: Lalitha R. Nath vs. Kannur Medical College [Civil Appeal No. 596 of 2021]

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