Munna Bhai MBBS: SC on allegations against Maha college having fake patients

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday made strong observations against a Maharashtra-based private medical college, facing allegations of falsely representing patient admission records.

A Bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the medical college, “This is a case where in a paediatric ward, all children were admitted without any problems. Have you seen the Munna Bhai MBBS movie?” The bench also comprising Justice Surya Kant further queried, how did the hospital have fake patients and pointed out this is a case of falsifying records.

At this juncture, senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, also appearing for the medical college, contended that the college was established in 1992 and allegations have been made against it following an anonymous complaint claiming that it belongs to a Congress MLA. The college had an annual intake of 100 MBBS students.

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On allegations of no hostel rooms and nurse rooms, Gupta added that the authorities concerned have carried out inspections on the college premises for several years and no such issue was raised earlier. It was argued that the Medical Assessment and Ratings Board (MARB) of National Medical Commission (NMC), issued an order in November last year to increase admission capacity for 50 additional MBBS seats with effect from session 2021-2022. However, the MARB on January 19, this year, withdrew its previous order and also recommended stoppage of admission for session 2021-2022 of 100 recognised seats.

Justice Chandrachud said it is shocking what the authorities found in the inspection, which was carried out on January 14, where the nurses’ charts had pre-recorded vitals of the patients and also treatment instructions as administered in advance till January 16.

MARB, in its order, said the patients ‘admitted’ on January 14, were not genuine and they were looking healthy and gave evasive replies. Gupta pressed that the inspection conducted on January 14, was mala fide, contrary to the provisions of the NMC Act, 2019 and the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 adopted under Section 61 of the NMC Act, 2019 and in violation of the guidelines of assessment prescribed by the NMC.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that no X-ray machines were present and students from this college will be accommodated elsewhere.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by NMC against a Bombay High Court order, which allowed re-inspection of Annasaheb Chudaman Patil Memorial Medical College after the increased intake of medical students was cancelled by the Centre.

The MARB order was challenged before the high court, which gave an option to the college to either go for re-inspection or avail appellate remedy, where college opted for the former. The NMC moved the top court challenging the high court order stating that it was passed without noticing the provisions of the NMC Act. After detailed hearing, the top court set aside the high court orders in the matter and asked it to decide the matter afresh.

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