June 20, 2009

Medical colleges offer PG degree with no hospital

The state of affairs pertaining to private medical and dental colleges is getting murkier.

Close on the heels of the capitation fee scam in medical colleges of Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Friday stumbled upon another blatant violation of rules in permitting private dental colleges to be attached to government hospitals for practicals of PG students.

Counsel for Dental Council of India (DCI) Gaurav Sharma opposed grant of permission to Surendra Dental College and Research Institute to admit students for post-graduation courses on the ground that it had no valid tie-up with a hospital. Since PG courses were more practical-oriented than classroom based, non-attachment to a hospital would jeopardise the standard of education, he said.

To counter this, the college at Sri Ganganagar produced a letter dated May 26, 2009, from the health department of Rajasthan allowing it to be attached to the government hospital in the town "till 2012-13 academic session or till construction of its own hospital".

Sharma pointed out that another private college -- Maharaja Ganga Singh Dental College, Sri Ganganagar -- was permitted by the state government to be attached to the same government hospital. "In the larger public interest, it is not appropriate to attach two dental colleges for the purpose of clinical training with a government hospital as the same would definitely deteriorate the standards of dental education," DCI said.

The Bench, returning the letter to the college's counsel, senior advocate P S Narasimha, said, "Mr Narasimha, we won't pass any order. You see the worth of this letter. It appears as if it is just taken out of the minister's pocket."

The letter, in possession of TOI, was written by a deputy secretary to the Rajasthan government and starts with "I am directed to write..." and ends by forwarding a copy of it to the private secretary of the health minister.

The college, through counsel Bina Madhavan, pointed out to the court that the college satisfied the regulations by being attached to a hospital. It also assailed the decision of DCI not to grant permission to it to admit students for the academic year 2009-10, for which it had already appointed teaching staff.

The Bench refused to accede to the college's request for an immediate inspection of the institute by DCI for infrastructure facilities, including the strength of faculty, and give its report to the Centre for permission to start post-graduate courses.

The court issued notice to the Centre, which sought four weeks time to file a reply. It ordered the matter to be listed two weeks after the Centre has filed its reply so as to allow others to respond to the Union government's stand.

Link: Original Article

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