The Gwalior High Court on Thursday gave two-weeks' time to the Medical Council of India (MCI) to reply in the ongoing matter of 25 "wrongfully" expelled student of Sakshi Medical College in Madhya Pradesh's Guna district. The students told Indiatvnews.com that they have been fighting for the last three years, knocking courts but to no success. The students said the college administration, the Directorate of Medical Education (DME), and MCI have "ruined" their careers.
"We have exhausted our parent's savings in court cases. College fees and university enrollment fees also got wasted. It was our parents' dream to see us become doctors one day but it's shattered now. MCI officials say they know it's their fault but since the matter is in court they will do whatever the court says. But they don't respond to the court and the hearing dates keep on extending. DME is also saying they had received the list. They have ruined our lives in such a manner that now we have exceeded the age limit to appear for NEET again. We cannot even switch our careers and apply for other courses at this point. Even after qualifying and fulfilling all the eligibility criteria, we are being mentally tortured for the last 3-4 years," a student said.
"Our family never left us alone fearing harm we could to do to ourselves. We approached CM, governor, and so many officials but no one helped us," the student said.
The students told indiatvnews.com that they were not responsible to manage the enrollment list and it was the job of the college to forward the list to MCI and DME. According to the students, an RTI has revealed that DME had accepted that they had received the list much before the deadline.
"Because of the miscommunication between the college, MCI, and DME, we are left to suffer. We would have completed our pre-final until now. They have wasted 4 years of our lives," a student said.
In January 2017, a similar thing happened to the students of Saraswati Medical College. However, the Allahabad High Court gave the verdict in favour of the student and stated that since the DME had received the list of students, MCI cannot dismiss their admission. The MCI then approached the Supreme Court and challenged the Allahabad High Court but it was dismissed.
"They should have at least let us study as the case is going on in the court. After the college was shut down, 125 students were transferred to other medical colleges. We don't even have a college now. What is our fault if there were clerical errors between MCI, college, and DME?" another student asked.
"The students are in a legal battle since 2017. The MCI is the main culprit here. On one hand, it is saying in our RTI's reply that it cannot discharge the admission of the students just on the basis of the list, and on the other hand they have done it. The DME already had received the list. These RTIs show that the students are innocent. What is the fault of the students here who took admission here? There is not a single student who hasn't qualified NEET," said Samresh Kattare, counsel for the students.
"The court is taking a lot of time but it can take away the right of replying from the MCI if it doesn't appear in the next hearing. However, we can't say that the court will give a verdict on that day. I still believe there is a ray of hope for these students. But a lot of time has been lost and it cannot be compensated. We have prayed that the admission cancellation order should be quashed. If the order comes in the favour of the students, then their admissions will be regularised and they might be allowed to continue their course. I will also be praying for some form of monetary compensation for these students who faced so much trauma in the past few years," the advocate said.
The Case so far
- On 29 September 2016, the students took admission in the newly established Sakshi Medical College, Guna. After the admission, the college was supposed to submit the list of enrolled students to the Directorate of Medical Education (DME) and Medical Council of India (MCI) till October 7, 2016.
- Sakshi Medical College submitted the list of enrolled students on October 4, 2016, i.e three days before the deadline.
- After a few months, one of the parents due to some doubts, filed an RTI at MCI to know the total number of students studying in the college.
- The RTI revealed that there are only 143 students in the college (126 govt quota + 17 NRI quota) for the academic year 2016-17.
- Students and parents whose name was not on the list approached the college. The authorities said that there is some miscommunication and asked them not to worry.
- Till then all 150 students were enrolled in the University and they filled up examination forms and sat for their first-year examination in September 2017.
- In October 2017, the students came across some newspaper articles that 25 students of NRI quota in Sakshi Medical College have been discharged. The students contacted the college authorities. The administration said that they are not aware of this.
- When the university declared the results, these students found that their results were suspended as they couldn't find their names and 'discharged by MCI' was written instead.
- The college filed a petition in the Gwalior High Court and they maintained that they submitted the list on time and the students' were not at fault. The case was dismissed due to a lack of merit. The college then approached the Supreme Court but it was dismissed again.
- In 2018, the college was debarred for flouting MCI guidelines.
- The students filed another RTI which revealed that DME had the list with their names on it and the MCI can only discharge students if they are not NEET qualified or if the college admits students more than its intake capacity.
- The students filed a writ petition in Gwalior High Court but it got dismissed again. The students along with their petitioner Abhishek Manu Singhvi approached the Supreme Court and it gave liberty to file a review petition in Gwalior High Court.
- The MCI hasn't filed a reply in the Court yet and the next hearing is on September 14.
"We know we are right and we will keep on fighting," said another student.