SC refuses to entertain plea seeking transfer of petitions against NMC's four attempts rule

Writ petitions against the NMC rule have been filed in the High Courts of Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)

Petitions challenging the National Medical Commission's (NMC) rule limiting the number of attempts to successfully complete the first year of MBBS to four years have been filed in various High Courts. Today, November 22, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a petition seeking to transfer all these petitions to a single court.

Writ petitions against the NMC rule have been filed in the High Courts of Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana. A Bench comprising CJI Chnadrachud and Justice Hima Kohli declined the petition seeking transfer, observing that the Delhi High Court has already given its judgement on November 17 and upheld the rule, as mentioned in a report by LiveLaw. It is Regulation 7.7 of Regulations on Graduate Medical Education (Amendment), 2019 of the NMC Act that mandates, "No more than four attempts shall be allowed for a candidate to pass the first Professional examination," and adds that "the total period for successful completion of first Professional course shall not exceed four (4) years."

The counsel appearing for the petitioners observed that the rule affects a large number of students, especially from the COVID-19 batches, as their classes were disrupted. He also stated that the transfer was being sought as the various High Courts were taking contrary views on the matter. While the Delhi High Court has ordered that the NMC rule must be followed in letter and spirit, the Karnataka High Court has allowed the students more than four attempts. Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court has passed an interim order protecting students from coercive action under the impugned regulation. And the Rajasthan High Court has adjourned the hearing without passing any order.

The Bench headed by the CJI, however, countered that transferring all the petitions to a single High Court would create more problems for the students. The CJI said that if they did transfer the petitions to the Kerala High Court, for example, a student from Rajasthan would face issues in pursuing the matter and vice-versa, as per LiveLaw. Nonetheless, the Bench added that the Supreme Court would be able to decide on the matter if a special leave repetition is filed against the Delhi High Court's judgement. Then the counsel for the petitioners sought to withdraw the petition and the Bench dismissed it.

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