Saturday, May 22, 2021

Candidates scoring 192 out of 700 getting admissions: Bombay HC asks Centre to reconsider Medical Education Policy

Mentioning that the pandemic has been a real eye-opener, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday opined that the medical education policy requires a re-look. The Court pointed out that the current policy enables a candidate from Defence or any other category to secure a sit even after scoring 192 out of 700, whereas, candidates scoring much higher marks do not get admission. 

Further referring to the situation where many students go abroad to pursue medical education due to lack of seats in India, the High Court division bench asked the Union Government to reconsider the entire admission process for all medical courses, Free Press Journal has reported.

"There has to be a relook at medical education now. The pandemic has been a real eye-opener," added Justice Kulkarni during the hearing of a clutch of Public Interest Litigations (PIL) on issues like Remdesivir, Oxygen, frequent hospital fires, etc.

"We have to think about our future generation. They should not be in the chaos that there aren't doctors to treat," the bench observed on 19/05/2021.

The division bench of CJ Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni also praised the Mumbai Municipal Corporation's 'extraordinary vision' of establishing Medical colleges with Corporation hospitals and mentioned the Corporation has had a unique vision for ages.

Applauding the efforts by Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the bench noted that if the same pattern was used by other corporations and hospitals too, there would have been the availability of medical facilities today.

"Now if this pattern is to be employed by all hospitals like Pune Corporation has also woken up and want to have a Medical College, look at the impact it would've had, and the availability of beds and medical facilities. It's an extraordinary vision. And therefore they can bring all this in control. I don't think any other corporation in Maharashtra has had this vision. There are 5 medical colleges only in Bombay," observed the Court.

Further noting that the core work of any municipal corporation should be public health, the bench remarked, "Public health is always the back seat," adding that this aspect gets neglected always.

During the hearing, the Bench pointed out the discrepancy in the admission process and stressed the need to have a re-look into the admission policy.

"We can share our experience on this Bench. A candidate in a special category may be Defence or any other, is getting admission at 192 out of 700 NEET Score but one at 534 wasn't getting admission. We have hundreds and lakhs of students from 400-500 who wouldn't be considered worthy to pursue medical education in the system. Then now we say we don't have doctors!" Justice Kulkarni was quoted.

The High Court also pointed out the situation where students of India, go to other countries to pursue medical education as there are lack of medical seats in the country, and they need to clear a test after coming back home.

"Our students who are not getting seats here go to Russia, America, Germany etc and become really good doctors. Hardly do all of them come back. Several of them settle there. We should think on this aspect," Justice Kulkarni opined.

Although the Court mentioned that India must be proud as its students are doing so well abroad, the Court has further pointed out how this has led to a shortage of doctors in India itself.

"We need our doctors here in our country at this hour," the judge said.

"Isn't it somewhere we should really really be thinking. We are such a big country we should be proud of resources. Their requirement is here. If you can provide medical education facilities here we will have more doctors here," the Court observed.

The Additional Solicitor General agreed with the Court on the need to have a re-look at the medical education policy. However, he pointed out that it might be a sensitive area.

Replying to this, Justice Kulkarni noted, as reported by Live Law, "No no It's not sensitive. What's sensitive in this? Establishment of colleges is sensitive? Can't be. We are not bothered about any other consideration."

Further pointing out that colleges after being established should be allowed to start with 90% facilities after getting 25-30 students, rather than waiting for a large number like 50 or 100.

"Private bodies who aren't competent where infrastructure facilities are not fulfilled can take a back seat. But Corporations, have established hospitals, the government has civil hospitals but there will not be medical college," noted the Court.

Finally, stressing the need to have a re-look at the new admission policy, the High Court division bench observed, "Its high time for policy policymakers down and for govt to apply their mind. We can only echo our sentiments."

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