SC orders CMC to pay Rs 5-lakh compensation to medical student
The Supreme Court has directed the Christian Medical College (CMC), Ludhiana, to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to a student who was deprived of a chance to shift her post-graduate (PG) course stream.
The student, Bonnie Anna George, had filed a writ petition (civil) against the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the CMC. The petitioner sought permission to change her PG course stream from MD pathology to MD general medicine in the available vacant seat under the NRI quota within the college.
The petitioner claimed that she joined the PG course in MD pathology in the academic year 2013-14 on the basis of the prospectus issued by the CMC. She belonged to sponsored category ‘A’ and got the 13th rank in the entrance examination in the category.
Category ‘A’ is for Christian candidates who have completed at least two years of service obligation as part of the agreement for their MBBS sponsorship and also for those who have served in the CMC or any hospital of the church bodies of the CMC society for a period of two years or more after the completion of internship.
Though the student’s first preference was MD general medicine, as there was no seat available, she opted for MD pathology. During the third counselling, she noticed that a seat was vacant in MD general medicine in the NRI quota and she paid the fee of ` 13,000 for taking part in this counseling. In Category ‘A’, seats had already been allotted up to the 12th rank, based on the options exercised in the second counselling of MD general medicine. She was next in merit, with the 13th rank.
The petitioner claimed that on the day of the counselling, the CMC announced that the vacant seat in the NRI quota could not be shifted to sponsored category ‘A’. But in the prospectus, it was stated that vacant seats in the NRI category would be filled from the sponsored category ‘A’ and thus she was deprived of a chance to change her stream.
The CMC also filed a counter affidavit in this matter and mentioned rules and regulations and the latest judgments given by the apex court at that time.
In the ruling given by justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, the SC bench said it was convinced that depriving the petitioner of the opportunity to opt for the available NRI seat in MD general medicine during the third counselling was wholly unjustified.
Adhering to the schedule fixed by the apex court earlier, the court didn’t allow mid-term stream admission, but it held the CMC responsible for injustice caused to the petitioner, with a liability of payment of appropriate compensation for “snatching her valuable right”. The court directed the CMC to pay Rs 5 lakh and refund Rs 13,000 which the petitioner had to pay for her re-admission to the PG course of MD pathology.
The compensation was directed to be paid within two weeks.
Dr AG Thomas, director, CMC, said, “We are yet to receive a copy of the order. We will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision.” He added that there had been confusion over the counselling schedule last year as the Supreme Court order had allowed only government medical colleges to fill vacant seats.