Published: 25th October 2022
SC issues notice on NMC's 50% fee mandate transfer petition, case to be heard on Nov 4
A Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli is presiding over the case. The next hearing is on November 4
The petitions challenging the National Medical Commission's (NMC) decision to fix the fee of 50% of medical seats in private colleges and deemed universities on par with government medical colleges will be collectively heard by the Supreme Court next month. The apex court issued a notice in this regard on October 21.
It was the NMC that filed a transfer petition in the case, seeking that the main petition as well as similar petitions pending in various high courts be transferred to a single high court or to the Supreme Court. A Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli is presiding over the case. It was Justice Chandrachud who, in a previous hearing, suggested that Advocate Gaurav Sharma, appearing on behalf of the NMC, file the transfer petition, as per a report by LiveLaw.
The NMC then filed it and the Bench thus issued a notice to its petition. The transfer petition, main petition and all other connected matters are now listed to be heard before this SC bench on November 4. And the Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the NMC in February 2022 regarding the medical fee structure stands impugned. It may be noted that the impugned OM has been stayed by three high courts — Kerala High Court, Madras High Court and the Madhya Pradesh High Court — as pointed out by Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing on behalf of the petitioner. He further added that the Madras High Court has labelled the OM to be "bad in law" and remanded it back to the regulator, as per LiveLaw.
The main petition challenging the OM was filed by the Association of Health Sciences Institutes (AHSI). The petition states that the fixation of fees is subject to various guidelines like facilities available in the college, infrastructure, expansion plans etc, and contends that the guidelines are beyond the NMC's powers and thus are not valid before the law. The NMC, on the other hand, defends its move on the grounds that the fee structure would benefit students who have availed of Government quota seats. However, the petitioner challenges that the fixation is subject to the monitoring of the Fee Committee for ensuring that there is no profiteering and that the fee charged enables the private unaided institutions to ensure profit and expansion, as per LiveLaw.