CBI can’t probe medical colleges under MCI, rules HC
In a landmark judgment, the Madras High Court has ruled that the Central Bureau of Investigation has no jurisdiction to investigate the affairs of any medical institution within the purview of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The MCI Act and regulations formed a complete code by themselves, providing for every contingency in the running of a medical institution, periodical inspection and action to be taken if the MCI did not do its work properly. When a statute or the statutory body was not inclined to treat violation or lapses as an offence, no penal law could be invoked for the shortfalls in the faculty and the submission of false declaration forms, the court said.
Justice Aruna Jagadeesan said that nowhere in the Act or the regulation had it been stated that violation would result in penal consequences. Contravention of the rules and regulations might constitute an offence against the statute, but was not a crime. Thus, the judge said, there was considerable force in the submission by counsel that there was no jurisdiction for any external agency (like the CBI) to investigate the affairs of a medical institution within the purview of the MCI.
The judge dismissed the CBI’s revision petitions to quash the discharge of M.K. Rajagopalan, chairman of Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, and Chancellor of Sri Balaji Vidhyapeeth, a deemed university, and D.R. Gunasekaran, Vice-Chancellor of the Vidyapeeth, from a case registered in 2010. The prosecution case was that there was a shortage in the faculty in the college, and it amounted to cheating, as the college got permission renewed by projecting ad hoc faculties as regular staffers. CBI Special Public Prosecutor N. Chandrasekaran said the existence of specific rules and regulations would not stand in the way of launching prosecution for offences under the IPC.
The judge said no prima facie criminal case was made out against the accused. A shortfall in the faculty and submission of forged declaration forms were not considered “cheating” in so far as the MCI and its procedures were concerned. The statutory body sought to take only corrective action. After registration of an FIR, the MCI granted renewal of permission to the college for 2011-12 and 2012-13 after inspection.
Ms. Justice Aruna Jagadeesan also quashed the CBI case pending before Special Judge, Puducherry, against MCR. Vyas, Sri Lakshmi Ammal Educational Trust and six others. The allegation against them was that the accused cheated the MCI and obtained permission for the Sri Lakshmi Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences. The judge upheld the discharge of G.B. Anbalagan and nine others from a CBI case for conspiracy and cheating with regard to faculty and declaration forms for renewal of permission for the Melmaruvathur Adhi Parasakthi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.