[updated: 18th July 2013 6:55 p.m. IST]

Thank you ADrPlexus and PGBlazers for the continuous updates on this abysmal case that is going on nowadays in Supreme Court, India. I thought of consolidating all of the updates by ADrPlexus on facebook in one place.. I will keep updating this post.. I’ll be also using PGBlazers as a source [update: 12th March 2013].

I have just copy pasted the updates.. Readers may briefly go through them to see the situation of the legal system in India! :-\

Supreme Court was to hear the case from 15th to 17th January 2013 and give a verdict by 17th and the results were to be out by the end of Jan.. FYI look at the last update to see what date the last update was for this case..

So here it is:

JAN 15,2013 : Supreme Court Proceedings — > Argument of all cases started and it is still continuing. Argument will continue tmrow also

NOTIFICATION: Doctors are gathering for a rally/dharna on 16th JANUARY 2013 at 4.00 PM OUTSIDE SUPREME COURT @ THE ENTRANCE.. To show support For NEET PG IN ORDER TO GET THE ATTENTION OF MEDIA FOR THE CAUSE!!

JAN 16,2013 : Supreme Court Proceedings – Argument is still going on in respect of MINORITY INSTITUTIONS… Argument will be continued by the senior most lawyers of other minority institutions tomorrow…Hearing ,likely to be continued next week also, pertaining to institutions governed by other private universities and state governments…..SO DO NOT EXPECT FINAL VERDICT ON JAN 17,2013

Jan 17,2013 – NEET-PG : Supreme Court Proceedings : Minority Institutions requested for interim orders for starting admission process . MCI lawyer started arguments on the points raised by the lawyers of Minority Institutions. However the supreme court has postponed the case for tmrow 2 PM.

JAN 18,2013- NEET-PG PROCEEDINGS — Case Hearing postponed to Tuesday January 22,2013. Still hearing from minority institutions is going on & on & on . Meanwhile MCI Lawyer requested Honourable Judge to grant permission for releasing NEET-PG results on Jan 31 since there are only four working days. But Judge refused to give permission to MCI to release results on JAN 31,2013 and said decision will be taken on Jan 22,2013. Hearing from State GOvt and other private universities not yet started…

JAN 22,2013 -NEET-PG Suprem Court : Case hearing will be taken only tomorrow.

Jan 23,2013 : Supreme Court Proceeding : Additional Govt Pleader started to reply for the counters filed by the minority institutions but the Supreme Court Judge postponed the case to next week Jan 30,2013 for final hearing. Stay on release of NEET-PG results continues.

JAN 28 , 2013 : NEET-PG : Doctors protest for common entrance examnation at jantar mantar from 4pm-7pm

Jan 30,2013 : Supreme Court Proceedings : NEET-PG case was not taken up for hearing in morning session. Will have to wait whether the case will be listed after 2:30 pm

JAN 30,2013 : Case was not taken up for hearing today also. MCI Lawyer pleaded for taking up the case as they have to publish NEET-PG results on Jan 31,2013 . However the Supreme court Judge posted the case for tomorrow.

JANUARY 31,2013 : NEET -PG Proceedings :Heated Arguments continued in supreme court and senior most lawyers on behalf of Minority and private institutions insisted that MCI has no power to conduct National Level entrance exams. After hearing the arguments Judge postponed the case to February 5,2013. Stay on NEET-PG results continues. Results of NEET-PG will not declared till February 5,2013. Stay for release of TNPG 2013 results also exists. So do not expect the release of TNPGMEE 2013 results till February 5,2013.

FEB 3, 2013: NEET-PG Proceedings Summary

1. Totally 13 hearings have occurred with respect to NEET-PG.

2. First Four days Mr. KK Venugopal (KKV) appeared on behalf of four minority institutions -> one among them is Meenakshi University and two institutions from Andhra Pradesh

3. Rest of the hearings was dominated by Mr Harish Salve on behalf of CMC, Vellore.

Around 160 points from the two cases was dictated line by line

(i) TMA Pai Foundation v.State of Karnataka.

(ii) PA Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra reported in (2005) 6 SCC

537.

Mr Harish Salve has requested for two more days of hearing . After this hearing , TN Govt and AP Govt and rest of the private and deemed institutions cases will be taken up for hearing.

Since All the points regarding NEET-PG was summed up by Mr Harish Salve , rest of the hearing will take less than 7 days. If the case is listed everyday , you can expect the final verdict on or after FEB 15,2013. Though MCI lawyer was requesting for interim orders to release results of NEET-PG , permission was not given so far…….

FeB 5,2013: Mr Harish Salve continued with his arguments quoting T.M pai case and inamadar case right from 10:30 am. Case is again listed for afternoon session 3 am. He wil continue for evening session also.Shall update in the evening

NEET PG 2013 : February 5,2013 : 3PM Session : Mr Harish Salve finished his arguments for today. But Later said that he needs one more day of hearing for summing up his arguments. Supreme Court judge has posted the case for next hearing on FEB 7,2013

NEET-PG Feb 7,2013 : Case hearing still going on and will continue in afternoon session till 4 PM. Mr Harish Salve will place his final arguments today in the court. Shall Update about the hearing at 4:45 pm.

One thing for sure , NEET-PG verdict will be one of the landmark verdicts which will regularize Medical Admissions in INDIA.

For the first 12 hearings , The Bench consisted of following Judges

1. Honble Chief Justice of India

2. Honble Justice Mr Chelameswar

3. Honble Justice Mr Vikramjit Sen

The last two hearings was taken up by a bench of following judges

1. Honble Chief Justice of India

2. Honble Justice Mr Anil R. Dave

3. Honble Justice Mr Vikramjit Sen

The point to be noted is that Mr Anil R.Dave , is one of the best Judges respected in INDIA known for his land Mark Judgements in most sensitive cases involving the nation. We are very sure that the verdict will be a landmark judgement which will regularize medical admissions in INDIA. Do Not lose your patience. All Landmark judgements needs hearing from both sides so that equal opportunity is given for everyone to place their arguments. As far as our source still hearing from state governments and other deemed private universities are pending. Verdict cannot be given in bit and pieces. It can be given only after all hearings. If there is any interim orders for release of NEET-PG 2013 results , we will get back to you @ 4:45 PM.

NEET PG : FEB 7,2013 » Case hearing has been postponed to FEB 12,2013. Mr Harish Salve will speak for one more day. Shall update after 5 pm today

NEET -PG 2013 supreme court proceedings : Feb 7,2013 Mr Harish Salve proceeded with his arguments for 20 minutes in morning session n 15 more minutes in evening session . He requested for two more days of hearing. Judge has postponed the case to Feb 12,2013 tuesday . According to our source, there will be continuous hearing from Feb 12,2013 to Feb 14,2013. And the good news is that final verdict most likely on Feb 15,2013 in order to start the all india counselling as announced in mohfw.nic.in

NEET PG 2013 : Feb 12,2013 Mr Harish Salve will be continuing with his agreeements till 2:55 pm.Today Mohfw notification about all india counselling was informed but judge refused to give any interim orders for release of results and verdict will be given only after hearing all cases. Shall update more about today’s hearing after 3:30pm

FEB 12,2013 : NEET-PG Supreme Court Proceedings . Mr Harish Salve will be speaking for one more day. Meanwhile Mohfw Notification about proposed All India Counselling 2013 was informed to Judge But SUpreme Court judge refused to hear any prayers regarding interim orders until the full argument is over. Next case that will be taken for hearing is deemed universities and other private medical colleges. Only after this hearing Tamil Nadu and AP state govt case will be taken up for hearing. Case hearing has been postponed to Tmrow FEB 13,2013. Shall Update more about today’s hearing after 5PM

FEB 13,2013 : Finally Today Mr Harish Salve completed his arguments with regards to Aided Minority Institutions at 11:15 am. From 11: 30 onwards Mr KK Venugopal ( KKV ) started his arguments on behalf of Unaided Medical Institutions ( Tagore Medical College) Argument is still going on. Shall update about the hearing @ 4:00 pm . Most likely KKV will finish his argument today and most likely TN State Govt hearing will take place tomorrow

FEB 13,2013 : NEET PG SUPREME COURT PROCEEDINGS – Mr KKV spoke on behalf of UNAIDED MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS ( Meenakshi Medical College , Tagore Medical College and two other colleges from Andhra Pradesh ). At the end of the day Mr KKV requested for two more days of hearing . He will be continuing tomorrow FEB 14,2013. We are extremely sorry to say that Tamil Nadu Case Hearing will happen only on Feb 19,2013 . Please Do Not expect any final verdict or any orders for release of NEET-PG results till FEB 19,2013. Now the Chance for starting counselling as per MOHFW website is very less.

FEB 14,2013 : NEET PG SUPREME COURT PROCEEDINGS – Today Mr Mohan Parasaran spoke on behalf of UNAIDED MINORITY INSTITUTIONS for the full day. Mr Rajeev Dhawan will be speaking for next two days from FEB 19,2013 on behalf of unaided minority institutions. As per our information source , MCI lawyer (Mr Amit Kumar ) will give his counters only from FEB 26,2013. He might take 3 days for completing his arguments. So Now its 100 % sure that final verdict can be expected only in the month of MARCH , 2013 .

NEET-PG 2013 : Supreme Court Hearing Updates –> Mr Dhawan will be speaking on FEB 26,2013 . MCI lawyers will be arguing on FEB 26 , 2013 , FEB 27 , 2013 and most likely there is a possibility for interim orders for release of NEET-PG result . Tamil Nadu Hearing will take place only after MCI arguments are over. Hopefully we can expect the NEET-PG in 1st week of MARCH – Source of information is authentic

FEB 26 , 2013 : NEET-PG Supreme Court Proceedings : Mr Dhawan continued his arguments upto 1:30 pm today. He will continue in the afternoon session from 2:30 P.M onwards. Shall Update after 4:30 PM

FEB 26 ,NEET PG 2013 : Mr Dhawan will be continuing tmrow also. The Judges ordered Mr Dhawan to file the written statement of the arguments made by him . It will be followed by Mr KKV representing some of the private medical institutions from North INDIA. It will be followed by MCI lawyer . Hopefully if the hearing continues for the next two days , we can expect interim orders for releasing results in march 1st week.

FEB 27,2013 NEET-PG Hearing . Mr Dhawan continued his arguments upto lunch session . He will continue in afternoon session . CJI has granted only 20 minutes in afternoon session as he has to take other cases.. MCI lawyers are just hearing the arguments made by senior counsel Shall Update after 5 PM.

NEET-PG 2013 Supreme Court Proceedings FEB 27,2013 : MR Dhawan will continue tomorrow for another 30 Minutes . Most probably from tomorrow onwards Tamil Nadu case will start. Senior Most Lawyer Mr L Nageshwara Rao will start his arguments on behalf of Tamil Nadu……MCI lawyers Amit Kumar and Nilesh Gupta are yet to start their arguments

Sr. Counsel Dr. Rajiv Dhawan was requested to file the written statements of the arguments made by him .

Do Not expect any kind of mercy in legal arguments. The Supreme court has heard only one side of arguments. MCI lawyers are yet to begin their arguments. Their arguments will most probably start in March 1st week.

We cannot predict judgments. It is completely in the hands of CJI . Everyday hearing is a surprise.

But These are the legal possibilities.

1. NEET-PG 2012 exams (Nov 23 –Dec 6 ) can never be declared as null and void since 90K doctors have already taken the exam.

2. The only possibility if MCI loses the case is that NEET-PG 2012 will be considered as ALL INDIA EXAM.

Shall Update today after 5:30 PM.

FEB 28,2013 : NEET -PG Supreme Court Proceedings Listed as Item No : 3

1. Mr Harish Salve will speak on behalf of Ramachandra University

2. Mr KKV will speak for Meenakshi & few private universities from Karnataka

3. After that Tamil Nadu hearing will take place.

Morning Session : Mr Harish salve Completed his arguments on behalf of SRMC , Chennai . Tamil Nadu Case hearing started . Mr L N Rao started with strong points against NEET-UG . He will continue in afternoon session also.

Mr Ajay completed his arguements on behalf of SRMC. Mr L N Rao completed his arguments on behalf of Tamil Nadu. It was followed by Mr P P Rao on behalf of Andhra Pradesh and case hearing for Andhra Pradesh was also completed today. Mr KKV will continue on March 5,2013 on behalf of meenakshi university.

NEET-PG 2013 : Supreme Court Update : Mr KKV started his arguments at 11:15 am and will continue in the afternoon session also. He is expected to speak for two days. MCI Lawyers will speak on March 12,13 & 14. As of now, there is no chance for interim orders for release of results. Shall try to update about today’s discussion after 7 PM

MARCH 6,2013 ->NEET – PG 2013 > Mr KKV continued in the morning session . Today ,For the 20th time , MCI lawyers has requested for the release of NEET-PG results through interim orders. We have to wait for afternoon session regarding the decision for interim orders …If we get any authentic confirmation , we shall update you guys…..As of Now chances for giving interim orders is very bleak

March 6, 2013 : NEET-PG Supreme Court Proceedings : Case has been postponed tomorrow . Tomorrow , Mr KKV will speak for another 30 minutes .Most probably MCI lawyers will get a chance to speak on March 7,2013 afternoon session.

March 7, 2013 : Supreme court Proceedings : Mr Giri Spoke on behalf of Private Medical Colleges from Kerala . Mr Guru Krishna Kumar Spoke on Behalf of private colleges from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh . Case has been postponed to March 12,2013. Discussion for interim orders was again rejected.

March 12, 2013: ADrPlexus didn’t post any update. The NEET case wasn’t taken up today. Maybe postponed to tomorrow. Apart from that, an article titled “Applicability of NEET in Andhra Pradesh : Official statement by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for Health & Family Welfare” can be read here.

March 13, 2013: As the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India is not available today, the NEET case wont be taken up today. Expected date 19th March.

March 19, 2013: Case wasn’t taken up today. Expected date of next hearing is April 2, 2013.

April 2, 2013: Case wasn’t taken up today. Next hearing on 3rd April.

April 3, 2013 : NEET-PG Supreme Court Proceedings –>Senior Counsel Mr KKV argued the case and prayed for interim orders in NEET-PG 2013 by today itself.. He stressed that Almost All doctors are waiting for the results of NEET-PG. So Finally the bench , promised to give an interim order for release of NEET-PG and deemed university results by tomorrow. We shall closely watch the proceeding tomorrow and shall update you regarding case hearing. Hopefully the long wait for results ends by tomorrow.

April 4, 2013 : Today All Lawyers argued regarding Interim Orders for publishing results for the exams conducted by NBE and all other deemed universities. MCI requested strongly opposed the declaration of results of all other universities and state governments and requested court to give interim orders only for declaration of NEET-PG 2013 results to facilitate 1st Phase of ALL India Counselling. MCI lawyers insisted the delay of counselling process due to the delay of declaration of results . They also brought in the issue of cut-off date ( MAY 31,2013 ) fixed by MCI for admission in PG courses.
Upon hearing all the arguments the bench decided that NO INTERIMS ORDERS for declaration of results for both the sides will be given until completion of all arguments and also said that if arguments are not over within the stipulated time interval (i.e.) before May 2013, the cut-off date fixed by MCI should be relaxed . MCI Arguments is likely to continue from NEXT Tuesday and they will continue till next Thursday April 11,2013.

April 9,2013 : NEET-PG 2013 : Three senior most counsels appeared on behalf of MCI . Mr Gupta replied on the averments put forth by the Private universities and other minority institutions . Case hearing will be continued tomorrow April 10,2013

APR 11, 2013 –> Case Hearing has been postponed to APR 16,2013 .Today there was no hearing. MCI lawyers quoted judgements from T.M Pai and Inamadar case and stated that all minority institutions and private deemed universities have indulged in widespread irregularities pertaining to medical college admissions for the past 10 years.

1. According to T.M Pai case , All Medical College admissions in Private/Deemed/ Minority institutions should be monitored by TWO state committee’s headed by retired judges to prevent malpractices in admission processes

2. These state committees are absent in most of the INDIAN states except for few states like Tamil nadu , Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh

3. Most of the functioning state committees never prevented the alleged irregularities in medical education.

4. MCI had to opt for NEET-PG/UG as the only alternative to regulate the malpractices of Private/Deemed/ Minority institutions

5. Since this is a centralized exam for gaining entry into UG/PG courses gross malpractices can be prevented and also added that only NEET-PG/UG score will taken as criteria for gaining entry into merit list. All private colleges and deemed universities should admit only on the basis of NEET-PG /UG scores and there shall not be any additional interviews or additional exams for determining merit. Shall post the complete arguments on APRIL 15,2013

April 15th: An update from a different source, (could possibly be a rumour):

A senior officer from Medical Education Department said, “As per the SC order, admissions for post graduate seats must be completed by May 30. But due to the case hearing on NEET, there is a possibility of extending the last date to June 30. There will be no compromise on ensuring that students get maximum time for seat selection process.” “The judgment on NEET will be heard on Thursday and soon, counselling will begin. If there is a paucity of time, the government may decide to conduct just one round of counselling to complete the admissions,” the official said.

April 16th, 2013: Case wasn’t taken up today. Next hearing is on 23rd April 2013.

April 23rd, 2013:  Supreme Court Bench asked the senior counsel to summarize the arguments of NEET-PG proceedings.. Mr HARISH SALVE argued from 11 am – 12 noon , followed by Mr KKV from 12 Noon. MCI lawyer will be summarizing their arguments after LUNCH. Further as Justice Verma’s funeral is also to take place today at 4.30 pm and the bench is till 3pm itself we don’t anticipate an order today
however the order NOW LOOKS A possibility on Thursday 25th. MCI written submission can be found here ..

April 25th, 2013:  NEET-PG, Supreme Court final day of hearing started around 11:30.

( 11: 30 am – 1 pm ) : NEET -PG Supreme Court Proceedings :

1. MCI Lawyer finished his arguments .

2. It was followed Mr. Siddharth ( addl Solicitor General ) on Behalf of central Govt

3. Bench had given last and final 25 minutes of hearing from ( 2:25 to 2:55 pm ) for another senior lawyer on behalf of CBSE for NEET-UG Case

NEET -PG case hearing was not taken up in afternoon session. Most Probably Case has been postponed to next Tuesday APR 30,2013 & CBSE Lawyer will be given chance to speak about NEET-UG . Since the verdict will be for both NEET-PG and NEET-UG , hearing from CBSE lawyer has to take place before final verdict.

April 30th, 2013: Finally A Big Day for NEET-PG aspirants . All arguments came to an end . After CBSE Lawyer arguments , All senior counsels filed rejoinder to the MCI arguments. Every senior counsel was given 2 -3 minutes to consolidate their points.

After Hearing all arguments, the bench reserved judgment. As such the bench didn’t give any specific date for judgment.

Most probable date for FINAL VERDICT is MAY 9 , 2013 ( News Yet to be Confirmed ). NEET-PG results will be released only after final Verdict (rumoured 10th May). So Wait for NEET-PG results continues.

May 9th, 2013: Case wasn’t taken up today. Supreme court goes for Summer Vacation from 13th May. Hopes for verdict on 10th May are not much.

May 10th, 2013: NEET -PG 2012 : SUPREME COURT PROCEEDINGS : – Today Senior Counsels Mr KKV , Mr LN Rao and Mr Parasaran met Hon CJI and represented for passing atleast interim orders before vacation of supreme court. Hon CJI , refused to give interim orders on NEET-PG and the plea was rejected and announced that NEET-PG/UG final verdict will be delivered only on JULY 2,2013 ( 1st working day after Vacations )

The May 10th post by ADrPlexus has been questioned now. Even “The Hindu” said that verdict was postponed till 2nd of July 2013. But according to some new developments, the case has been listed in the Supplementary causelist of the Supreme Court for 13th May 2013. The causelist can be viewed here.

13th May 2013: INTERIM ORDERS :
1. NEET-PG 2012 results can be declared
2. Entrances conducted by all private colleges , deemed universities can be declared
3. Final Verdict of NEET-PG 2012 will be given only on JULY 4 , 2013

4th July 2013: case not taken up

17th July 2013: Final Verdict will be delivered by Hon’ble CJI tomorrow JULY 18,2013 .

18th July 2013: Final Verdict: Supreme Court cancels NEET-PG. State and Private colleges can conduct their own exam

The reportable Judgment is as follows (copied from here)

                                                                  REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

T.C.(C) NO.98 OF 2012

CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE VELLORE & ORS                           …Petitioners

VERSUS

UNION OF INDIA AND ORS.                 …Respondents

WITH T.C.(C) NO.99/2012 T.C.(C) NO.101/2012 T.C.(C) NO.100/2012 T.C.(C) NO.102/2012 T.C.(C) NO.103/2012 W.P.(C) NO.480/2012 T.C.(C) NO.104/2012 T.C.(C) NO.105/2012 W.P.(C) NO.468/2012 W.P.(C) NO.467/2012 W.P.(C) NO.478/2012 T.C.(C) NO.107/2012 T.C.(C) NO.108/2012 W.P.(C) NO.481/2012 W.P.(C) NO.464/2012 T.C.(C) NO.110/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.132-134/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.117-118/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.115-116/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.125-127/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.113-114/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.128-130/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.121-122/2012 T.C.(C) NO.112/2012 T.C.(C) NO.131/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.123-124/2012 T.C.(C) NO.111/2012 T.C.(C) NO.120/2012 T.C.(C) NO.119/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.135-137/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.138-139/2012 W.P.(C) NO.495/2012 W.P.(C) NO.511/2012 W.P.(C) NO.512/2012 W.P.(C) NO.514/2012 W.P.(C) NO.516/2012 W.P.(C) NO.519/2012 W.P.(C) NO.535/2012 T.C.(C) NO.142/2012 @ T.P.(C) NO.364/2012 W.P.(C) NO.544/2012 W.P.(C) NO.546/2012 W.P.(C) NO.547/2012 T.C.(C) NO.144/2012 @ T.P.(C) NO.1524/2012 & 1447/2012 T.C.(C) NO.145/2012 T.C.(C) NO.1/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1527/2012 T.C.(C) NOS.14-15/2013 @ T.P.(C) NOS.1672-1673/2012 T.C.(C) NO.76/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1702/2012 T.C.(C) NO.12-13/2013 T.C.(C) NO.4/2013 T.C.(C) NO.11/2013 T.C.(C) NOS.21-22/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1714-1715/2012 T.C.(C) NO.5/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1718/2012 W.P.(C) NO.2/2013 W.P.(C) NO.1/2013 T.C.(C) NO.60/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.12/2013 W.P.(C) NO.13/2013 W.P.(C) NO.15/2013 W.P.(C) NO.16/2013 W.P.(C) NO.20/2013 T.C.(C) NO……/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.31/2013 T.C.(C) NO.2/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1532/2012 T.C.(C) NO.8/2013 T.C.(C) NO.3/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1533/2012 W.P.(C) NO.24/2013 T.C.(C) NO.9/2013 T.C.(C) NO.17/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1588/2012 W.P.(C) NO.483/2012 W.P.(C) NO.501/2012 W.P.(C) NO.502/2012 W.P.(C) NO.504/2012 W.P.(C) NO.507/2012 T.C.(C) NO.10/2013 T.C.(C) NO.7/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1644/2012 T.C.(C) NO.18/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1645/2012 T.C.(C) NO.75/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1647/2012 T.C.(C) NO.19/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1653/2012 T.C.(C) NO.20/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1654/2012 T.C.(C) NO.59/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1656/2012 T.C.(C) NO.53/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1658/2012 T.C.(C) NO.25/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1671/2012 T.C.(C) NO.23-24/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1697-1698/2012 T.C.(C) NO.58/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.1/2013 W.P.(C) NO.27/2013 T.C.(C) NO.72/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.58/2013 T.C.(C) NO.16/2013 T.C.(C) NO.61/2013 T.C.(C) NO.73/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.75/2013 T.C.(C) NO……/2013 @ T.P.(C) NO.79/2013 T.C.(C) NO.62/2013 W.P.(C) NO.47/2013 T.C.(C) NO.28-29/2013 T.C.(C) NO.30/2013 T.C.(C) NO.31-32/2013 T.C.(C) NO.33-36/2013 T.C.(C) NO.37-38/2013 T.C.(C) NO.39/2013 T.C.(C) NO.40/2013 T.C.(C) NO.41/2013 T.C.(C) NO.42/2013 T.C.(C) NO.43/2013 T.C.(C) NO.44/2013 T.C.(C) NO.45/2013 T.C.(C) NO.46/2013 T.C.(C) NO.47/2013 T.C.(C) NO.48/2013 T.C.(C) NO.49/2013 W.P.(C) NO.66/2013 W.P.(C) NO.76/2013 W.P.(C) NO.74/2013 T.C.(C) NOS.63-65/2013 T.C.(C) NOS.66-69/2013 T.C.(C) NOS.70-71/2013 W.P.(C) NO.41/2013 W.P.(C) NO.228/2013

J U D G M E N T

ALTAMAS KABIR, CJI.

1.      Four notifications, two dated 21.12.2010 and  the  other  two  dated 31.5.2012, issued by the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council  of India, are the subject matter of challenge in all these matters  which  have been  heard  together  by  us.   Notification  No.  MCI-31(1)/2010-MED/49068 described as “Regulations  on Graduate Medical Education  (Amendment)  2010, (Part II)” has been published by the Medical Council of India to  amend  the “Regulations   on   Graduate   Medical   Education,   1997″.    Notification No.MCI.18(1)/2010-MED/49070 described as  “Post-graduate  Medical  Education (Amendment) Regulation, 2010 (Part II)” has been issued by the said  Council to amend the “Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000″.  Both  the Regulations came into force  simultaneously  on  their  publication  in  the Official Gazette.  The third and fourth Notifications both bearing  No.  DE- 22-2012 dated 31.5.2012, relating to admission in the BDS  and  MDS  courses published by the Dental Council of India, are similar to  the  notifications published by the MCI.

2.      The four aforesaid Notifications have  been  challenged  on  several grounds.  The major areas of challenge to the aforesaid Notifications are:

(i)     The powers of the Medical Council of India and  the  Dental  Council        of India to regulate the process of admissions into medical  colleges        and institutions run by the State  Governments,  private  individuals        (aided and unaided), educational institutions run  by  religious  and        linguistic minorities, in the guise of laying down minimum  standards        of medical education, as provided for in Section 19A of  the   Indian        Medical Council Act, 1956, and under  Entry  66  of  List  I  of  the        Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

(ii)    Whether the introduction of  one  National  Eligibility-cum-Entrance        Test (NEET) offends the fundamental right guaranteed to  any  citizen        under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution to practise any profession        or to carry on any occupation, trade or business?

(iii)   Whether  NEET  violates  the  rights  of  religious  and  linguistic        minorities to establish and administer  educational  institutions  of        their choice, as guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution?

(iv)     Whether  subordinate  legislation,  such  as  the  right  to  frame        Regulations, flowing from a power given under a statute, can have  an        overriding  effect  over  the  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  under        Articles 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution?

(v)     Whether the exclusion of Entry  11  from  the  State  List  and  the        introduction of Entry 25 in the Concurrent List by  the  Constitution        Forty Second (Amendment) Act, 1976, makes any difference  as  far  as        the Regulations framed by the Medical Council of India under  Section        33 of the 1956 Act and those framed by the Dental  Council  of  India        under Section 20 of  the  Dentists  Act,  1948,  are  concerned,  and        whether such Regulations would have primacy over State legislation on        the same subject?

(vi)    Whether the aforesaid questions have  been  adequately  answered  in        T.M.A. Pai Foundation Vs. State of Karnataka [(2002) 8 SCC 481],  and        in the subsequent decisions in Islamic Academy of Education Vs. State        of  Karnataka  [(2003)  6  SCC  697],  P.A.  Inamdar  Vs.  State   of        Maharashtra [(2005) 6 SCC 537] and  Indian  Medical  Association  Vs.        Union of India [(2011) 7 SCC 179]? and

(vii)   Whether the views expressed by the Constitution Bench  comprised  of        Five Judges in Dr. Preeti Srivastava Vs. State of M.P. [(1999) 7  SCC        120] have any impact on the issues raised in this batch of matters?

3.       In  order  to  appreciate  the  challenge  thrown   to   the   four notifications, it is necessary to understand the  functions  and  duties  of the Medical Council of India under the Indian  Medical  Council  Act,  1956, and the Dental Council of India  constituted under the Dentists  Act,  1948. The submissions advanced in regard to the  MBBS  and  Post-graduate  courses will apply to the BDS and MDS courses also.

4.      The Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, was  replaced  by  the  Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, hereinafter referred to as “the 1956 Act”,  inter alia, with the following objects in mind :-

“(a) to give representation to licentiate members of the medical            profession, a large number of whom are still practicing  in  the            country;

(b)  to provide for the registration of the names of citizens of            India who have obtained foreign     medical qualifications which            are not at present recognized under the existing Act;

(c)  to provide for  the  temporary  recognition  of     medical            qualifi-cations granted by  medical  institutions  in  countries            outside India with which no  scheme  of  reciprocity  exists  in            cases   where   the   medical   practitioners   concerned    are            attached for the time being to any medical  institution in India            for the purpose of   teaching or research or for any  charitable            objects;

(d)  to provide for the formation of a Committee of         Post-            graduate Medical Education for  the  purpose  of  assisting  the            Medical Council of India to prescribe standards of post-graduate            medical education for the guidance of universities  and       to            advise universities in the matter of securing uniform  standards            for post-graduate medical education throughout India;

(e)   To  provide  for   the   maintenance   of   an   all-India            register by the Medical Council of India, which will contain the            names of all the medical     practitioners possessing recognized            medical qualifications.”

5.      The Medical Council of India, hereinafter referred to as “MCI”,  has been defined in Section 2(b) of the 1956 Act to mean the Medical Council  of India constituted under the said Act.   The Council  was  constituted  under Section 3 of the Indian Medical  Council  Act,  1956.    Section  6  of  the aforesaid Act provides for the  incorporation  of  the  Council  as  a  body corporate by  the  name  of  Medical  Council  of  India,  having  perpetual succession and a common seal, with power to acquire and hold property,  both movable and immovable, and to contract, and to sue and be sued by  the  said name.

6.      The powers vested in  the  MCI  are  essentially  recommendatory  in nature. Section 10A, which was introduced in the 1956 Act  by  Amending  Act 31 of 1993, with effect from 27th August, 1992, inter alia,   provides  that notwithstanding anything contained in the Act or any other law for the  time being in force:-

(a)     no person shall establish a medical college; or

(b)     no medical college shall :-

(i)     open a new or higher  course  of  study  or         training (including a postgraduate course  of      study  or  training)  which  would enable a student        of such course or training to qualify  himself   for the award of any recognised medical     qualification; or

(ii)      increase its admission capacity  in  any        course  of study or training (including a  postgraduate course of study or training),

except with the previous permission of the Central  Government  obtained  in accordance with the provisions of this section.

Under Section 10A the function of the MCI is  purely  recommendatory for the purpose  of  grant  of  permission  by  the  Central  Government  to establish a new medical college or to introduce a new course of study.

7.      Section 19A which was introduced into the 1956  Act  by  Act  24  of 1964 with  effect  from  16th  June,  1964,  provides  for  the  Council  to prescribe “minimum standards of medical education”.  Since Section 19A  will have some bearing on the judgment itself, the same is extracted  hereinbelow in full :-            “19A. Minimum standards of medical education – (1)  The  Council            may  prescribe  the  minimum  standards  of  medical   education            required for granting recognised medical  qualifications  (other            than postgraduate medical  qualifications)  by  universities  or            medical institutions in India.

(ii) Copies of the  draft  regulations  and  of  all  subsequent            amendments thereof shall be furnished  by  the  Council  to  all            State Governments and the Council shall  before  submitting  the            regulations or any amendment thereof, as the case may be, to the            Central Government for sanction,  take  into  consideration  the            comments of any State Government received  within  three  months            from the furnishing of the copies as aforesaid.

(3)  The Committee shall from time to time report to the Council            on the efficacy of the regulations  and  may  recommend  to  the            Council such amendments thereof as it may think fit.”

8.      Section 20 of the 1956 Act, provides  for  a  Post-graduate  Medical Education Committee to assist  the Medical Council  of  India  to  prescribe standards of  post-graduate  medical  education  for  the  guidance  of  the Universities.  For the sake of reference, the relevant portions  of  Section 20 of the  1956  Act  with  which  we  are  concerned,  are  also  extracted hereinbelow :-

“20. Post-graduate Medical  Education  Committee  for  assisting            Council in matters relating to post-graduate medical education –            (1) The Council may prescribe standards of Postgraduate  Medical            Education for the  guidance  of  Universities,  and  may  advise            Universities in the matter of  securing  uniform  standards  for            Postgraduate Medical Education through out India, and  for  this            purpose the Central Govt. may constitute from among the  members            of  the  Council  a  Postgraduate  Medical  Education  Committee            (hereinafter referred to as the Post-graduate Committee).

9.      By the first of the two Notifications  dated  21st  December,  2010, being MCI-31(1)/2010-Med./49068, the Medical Council of India, in  purported exercise of the powers conferred  by  Section  33  of  the  1956  Act,  made various amendments to the 1997 Regulations on  Graduate  Medical  Education. The most  significant  amendment,  which  is  also  the  subject  matter  of challenge in some of these writ petitions and transferred cases,  is  clause 5 in  Chapter  II  of  the  Regulations.   The  relevant  paragraph  in  the Amendment Notification reads as follows:

“6.  In Chapter II, Clause 5 under the  heading  “Procedure  for            selection  to  MBBS  Course  shall  be  as  follows”  shall   be            substituted as under:-

I.    There  shall  be  a  single   eligibility   cum   entrance            examination namely ‘National Eligibility-cum-Entrance  Test  for            admission to MBBS course’ in each academic  year.   The  overall            superintendence, direction and control of National  Eligibility-            cum-Entrance Test shall vest  with  Medical  Council  of  India.            However, Medical Council of India with the previous approval  of            the Central Government shall select  organization/s  to  conduct            ‘National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for  admission  to  MBBS            course.

II.  In order to be eligible for admission to MBBS course for  a            particular academic year, it shall be necessary for a  candidate            to obtain minimum of 50% (Fifty Percent) marks in each paper  of            National  Eligibility-cum-Entrance  Test  held  for   the   said            academic year.  However, in respect of candidates  belonging  to            Scheduled Casts, Scheduled Tribes and  Other  Backward  Classes,            the minimum percentage shall be  40%  (Forty  Percent)  in  each            paper and in respect of candidates with locomotory disability of            lower limbs, the minimum percentage marks shall  be  45%  (Forty            Five Percent) in each paper of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance            Test:

Provided when  sufficient  number  of  candidates  belonging  to            respective categories fail to secure minimum marks as prescribed            in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test in any  academic  year            for  admission  to  MBBS  Course,  the  Central  Government   in            consultation with Medical Council of India may at its discretion            lower the minimum marks required for admission  to  MBBS  Course            for candidates belonging to respective categories and  marks  so            lowered by the Central Government shall be  applicable  for  the            said year only.

III. The reservation of seats in medical colleges for respective            categories shall be as per applicable laws prevailing in States/            Union Territories.  An all India merit list as  well  as  State-            wise merit list of the eligible candidates shall be prepared  on            the basis of the marks  obtained  in  National  Eligibility-cum-            Entrance Test and candidates shall be admitted  to  MBBS  course            from the said lists only.

IV.   No  candidate  who  has  failed  to  obtain  the   minimum            eligibility marks as prescribed in Sub Clause(ii) above shall be            admitted to MBBS Course in the said academic year.

V.    All  admissions  to  MBBS  course  within  the  respective            categories shall be  based  solely  on  marks  obtained  in  the            National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test.

(Dr. P. Prasannaraj)                                                         Additional Secretary                                                    Medical Council of India”

10.     Similarly, by virtue of Notification No.  MCI.18(1)/2010-Med./49070, in purported exercise of the powers conferred by  Section  33  of  the  1956 Act, the Medical Council  of  India,  with  the  previous  approval  of  the Central Government, made similar  amendments  to  the  Postgraduate  Medical Education   Regulations,  2000,  providing  for  a  single  eligibility  cum entrance examination.  For  the  sake  of  reference,  the  portion  of  the notification which is relevant for our purpose is extracted hereinbelow:            “No. MCI.18(1)/2010-Med./49070. –  In  exercise  of  the  powers            conferred by Section 33  of  the  Indian  Medical  Council  Act,            1956(102 of  1956),  the  Medical  Council  of  India  with  the            previous approval of the Central  Government  hereby  makes  the            following regulations to further amend the “Postgraduate Medical            Education Regulations, 2000”, namely:-

1. (i) These Regulations may be called the Postgraduate  Medical            Education (Amendment) Regulations, 2010 (Part-II)”.

(ii)  They  shall  come  into  force  from  the  date  of  their            publication in the Official Gazette.

2. In the “Postgraduate Medical  Education  Regulations,  2000”,            the   following   additions   /modifications   /   deletions   /            substitutions, shall be as indicated therein:-

3.  Clause  9  under  the  heading  ‘SELECTION  OF  POSTGRADUATE            STUDENTS’ shall be substituted as under:-

“9.  Procedure  for  selection  of  candidate  for  Postgraduate            courses shall be as follows:

I.    There  shall  be  a  single   eligibility   cum   entrance            examination namely ‘National Eligibility-cum-Entrance  Test  for            admission to Postgraduate  Medical  Courses’  in  each  academic            year. The overall  superintendence,  direction  and  control  of            National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test shall vest  with  Medical            Council of India.  However, Medical Council of  India  with  the            previous  approval  of  the  Central  Government  shall   select            organization/s  to  conduct  ‘National  Eligibility-cum-Entrance            Test for admission to Postgraduate courses’.”

Two  similar  Notifications  both   bearing   No.DE-22-2012   dated 31.5.2012, were published by the  Dental  Council  of  India  for  the  same purpose.

11.     The challenge to these Notifications has thrown up  various  issues, which include the powers  of  the  Central  and  the  State  Governments  to legislate on matters relating to education under Entry 66 of List I  of  the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and Entry 25  of  List  III  which  was introduced by way of the Constitution (Forty-second  Amendment)  Act,  1976, having particular regard to the fact that the previous Entry No. 11  in  the State List, was omitted by the said amendment, doing away with education  as a State subject and denuding  the  State  of  its  powers  to  legislate  on matters relating to education except in accordance  with  Entry  25  of  the Concurrent List.  In fact, what has been pointed out on behalf  of  some  of the parties is that by omitting Entry 11 from the State List  and  including Entry 25  in  the  Concurrent  List  of  the  Seventh  Schedule,  the  Union Government acquired the authority to also legislate on matters  relating  to education, which it did not have previously.

12.     Another common submission, which is of great significance as far  as these matters are concerned, was with regard to the adverse  impact  of  the single entrance examination on the   fundamental  right  guaranteed  to  all citizens  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution  to  practise  any profession,  or  to  carry  on  any  occupation,  trade  or  business.   The provisions of Article  30,  preserving  the  right  of  both  religious  and linguistic minorities, to establish and administer educational  institutions of their choice, were also highlighted by learned counsel for  some  of  the Petitioners.

13.     The major challenge, however, was with regard to the  MCI’s  attempt to regulate admissions to the M.B.B.S.  and  Post-graduate  Courses  in  all medical colleges  and  medical  institutions  in  the  country  run  by  the different State Governments and  by  private  agencies  falling  within  the ambit of Article 19(1)(g) and in some cases Article 30 of  the  Constitution as well by introducing NEET. One of the facets of  such  challenge  was  the inter-play of Article 29(2) and Article 30(1), as also Article 30(2) of  the Constitution.   Various  authorities  have  been  cited  on  behalf  of  the different parties, harking back to the Presidential Reference in the  Kerala Education Bill case [(1959] S.C.R. 995], and  the  subsequent  views,  which have been expressed on most of the aforesaid issues by various  combinations of Judges, which include combinations of Eleven-Judges, Nine-Judges,  Seven- Judges, Five-Judges and Three-Judges, of this  Court.   While  most  of  the decisions touch upon the main theme in these matters regarding the right  of either the Central  Government  or  the  State  Government  or  the  MCI  to regulate admissions into  medical  colleges,  the  issue  raised  before  us concerning the authority of the MCI and the DCI  to  conduct  an  All  India Entrance Examination, which will form  the  basis  of  admissions  into  the M.B.B.S. as well as  Post-graduate  Courses  in  all  medical  colleges  and institutions all over the country, could not be considered  in  the  earlier judgments.  As a result, after the introduction of NEET, admissions  to  the M.B.B.S. and Post-graduate courses and the BDS and MDS courses can  be  made only on the basis of  the  Select  List  prepared  in  accordance  with  the results of the All India Entrance Test, which would  not  only  eliminate  a large number of applicants from  admission  to  the  medical  colleges,  but would also destroy the very essence of Articles 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of  the Constitution, since admission is one of the more important functions  of  an institution.

14.     The submissions in these cases were commenced by Mr.  Harish  Salve, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the  Christian  Medical   College, Vellore, and the Christian Medical College,  Ludhiana,  the  Petitioners  in Transferred Cases (C) Nos. 98-99 of  2012.   Mr.  Salve’s  submissions  were supplemented by Mr. K. Parasaran, Dr. Rajiv Dhawan, Mr. K.K.  Venugopal  and Mr. R. Venkataramani, learned senior counsel, and several  others  appearing for some of the religious and linguistic minorities referred to  in  Article 30 of the Constitution.

15.     Mr. Salve submitted that  the  two  Notifications  both  dated  21st December, 2010, incorporating amendments  in  the  Regulations  on  Graduate Medical  Education,   1997   and   the   Post-Graduate   Medical   Education Regulations,  2000,  and  introducing  a  single  National  Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to the MBBS course and the  Post-graduate course in each academic year throughout the country, had been challenged  by the Petitioners before the Madras High Court, in Writ Petition Nos.24109  of 2011 and 24110 of 2011.  Mr. Salve urged that the  said  amendments  stifled and stultified the fundamental rights  guaranteed  to  religious  minorities under Articles 25, 26, 29(1) and 30  of  the  Constitution  of  India.   Mr. Salve submitted that Article 25 secures to every person, subject  to  public order, health and morality and to the other provisions of  Part-III  of  the Constitution, freedom  of  conscience  and  the  right  freely  to  profess, practise and propagate religion.  The said right guarantees to every  person freedom not only to entertain such religious belief,  but  also  to  exhibit his belief in such outward acts as he thought proper  and  to  propagate  or disseminate his ideas for the edification of others.  Mr. Salve  urged  that this proposition was settled by this Court as far  back  as  in  1954  by  a Bench of  Seven-Judges  in   Commr.,  H.R.E.  Vs.  Sri  Lakshmindra  Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt [1954 SCR 1005].

16.     Mr. Salve submitted that  subject  to  public  order,  morality  and health, Article  26  of  the  Constitution  guarantees  to  every  religious denomination or a section thereof,  the  right  to  establish  and  maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes and  to  manage  its  own affairs in matters of religion.  Mr. Salve urged that in regard  to  affairs in matters of religion, the right of management given to  a  religious  body is a guaranteed fundamental right which no legislation can take  away.   Mr. Salve submitted that Article 30(1) of the Constitution gives  religious  and linguistic minorities the right to establish and to  administer  educational institutions of their choice, which was reiterated and emphasised in  T.M.A. Pai Foundation Vs. State of Karnataka [(2002)  8  SCC  481],  decided  by  a Bench of Eleven Judges.

17.     Mr. Salve submitted that the  Christian  Medical  College,  Vellore, hereinafter referred to as “CMC Vellore”, was established 113 years  ago  as a one-bed clinic by one Dr. Ida Sophia Scudder, the daughter of an  American Medical Missionary. She started training Compounders (Health Assistants)  in 1903 and Nurses in 1909, and was able  to  establish  a  Missionary  Medical School for women leading to the  Licentiate  in  Medical  Practice  in  1918 which was upgraded to the MBBS course affiliated to the  Madras  University. Admission was thrown open to men for  the  MBBS  course  in  1947.   As  the college grew, from 1948  it  started  admitting  students  by  an  All-India Entrance Examination, followed  by  an  in-depth  interview.  By  1950,  the affiliation to the University was confirmed and the intake was increased  to 60 under-graduate MBBS students in 1964, which  has  now  increased  to  100 MBBS students.  To meet the needs of the local population,  a  large  number of Higher Speciality Courses, Post-graduate Medical Courses,  Allied  Health Sciences Courses and Courses in Nursing, have also been developed  over  the years.

18.     Currently, there are 11 Post-graduate Medical  Diploma  Courses,  23 Post-graduate  Medical  Degree  Courses  and  17  Higher  Specialty  Courses approved by the Medical Council of India and affiliated to  the  Tamil  Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.  Today, the CMC Vellore,  a  minority,  unaided, non-capitation  fee  educational  institution,  is  run  by  the  Petitioner Association comprised of 53 Christian Churches and  Christian  Organizations belonging to the Protestant and Orthodox traditions.  The stated  object  of the Petitioner Association, as mentioned in its Memorandum  of  Association, Constitution  and  the  Bye-laws  is  “the  establishment,  maintenance  and development of a Christian Medical College and Hospitals,  in  India,  where women and men shall receive education of the highest grade in  the  art  and science of medicine and of nursing, or  in  one  or  other  of  the  related professions, to equip them in the  spirit  of  Christ  for  service  in  the relief of suffering and the promotion of health”.

19.     Out of 100 seats available for the under-graduate  MBBS  Course,  84 are reserved for candidates from the Christian community and  the  remaining are available for selection  in  the  open  category  with  reservation  for candidates  belonging  to  the  Scheduled  Castes  and   Scheduled   Tribes. Similarly, 50%  of  the  Post-graduate  seats  are  reserved  for  Christian candidates and the remaining 50% are available for open selection on an All- India basis.  Mr. Salve submitted that all students selected  for  the  MBBS course are required to sign a bond agreeing to serve for  a  period  of  two years in areas of need, upon completion of their courses.  Similarly,  Post- graduate students selected in the Christian minority category have  also  to give a similar undertaking.

20.     Mr. Salve submitted that the Medical Colleges and  institutions  run by the Writ Petitioners charge fees  which  are  subsidised  and  are   even lower than  the  fees  charged  by   Government  Medical  Colleges.  Liberal scholarships are given by the  College  to  those  who  have  difficulty  in making the payments, which include boarding, lodging and University  charges (which  are  considerably  higher).  Learned  counsel   submitted  that  the institution was established by a Christian minority doctor  in  response  to her religious  beliefs  and  the  command  of  Jesus  Christ  exhorting  His disciples and followers to heal  the  sick  and  has  evolved  an  admission process for both its undergraduate and post graduate  courses  in  order  to ensure  that  the  selected  candidates  are  suitable  for  being   trained according to the ideology professed at Vellore.  Mr. Salve  urged  that  the selection process is comprised of an All India Entrance Test followed  by  a searching interview and special test devised  in  1948.   Such  process  has been improved and fine-tuned over the years so that the candidates  are  not only trained as health professionals, but to also serve in areas of need  in difficult circumstances.

21.     It was pointed out that this system of admission resorted to by  the Petitioner has successfully reflected the  ideals  with  which  the  medical college was founded and a survey conducted  in  1992  established  the  fact that the majority of graduates and post-graduates, who have passed out  from the college, have been working in India for more than 10 years  after  their graduation and the majority among  them  were  working  in  non-metropolitan areas of the country.   This  evaluation  remained  the  same,  even  during surveys conducted in 2002 and 2010, and is in striking contrast  to  similar surveys carried out by other medical institutions of equal  standard,  where only a small number of  graduates  have  been  working  in  non-metropolitan areas.

22.     Mr. Salve submitted that  in  1993,  an  attempt  was  made  by  the Government of Tamil Nadu to interfere with  the  admission  process  in  the institution by a letter dated 7th May, 1993,  directing  the  Petitioner  to implement the scheme framed by this Court in the case of Unni  Krishnan  Vs. State of U.P. [(1993) 1 SCC 645], insofar as  the  undergraduate  course  in Nursing was  concerned.   The  Petitioner-institution  filed  Writ  Petition No.482  of  1993  before  this  Court  challenging  the  State  Government’s attempts to interfere with the  admission  process  of  the  institution  as being contrary to and in violation of the  rights  guaranteed  to  it  under Article 30 of the  Constitution.  In  the  pending  Writ  Petition,  various interim  orders  were  passed  by  the  Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court permitting the institution to take resort to  its  own  admission  procedure for the undergraduate course in the same manner in which it had  been  doing in the past.  The said Writ Petition was  heard  in  2002,  along  with  the T.M.A. Pai Foundation  case  (supra),  wherein  eleven  questions  had  been framed.

While hearing the matters, the Chief Justice formulated five  issues to encompass all the eleven questions, on the basis  of  which  the  hearing was conducted, and the same are extracted below:

“1.   Is  there  a  fundamental  right  to  set  up  educational            institutions and, if so, under which provision?

2.    Does  Unni  Krishnan  case  [(1993)  4  SCC  111]  require            reconsideration?

3.   In case of private institutions (unaided  and  aided),  can            there be government regulations and, if so, to what extent?

4.   In order to determine  the  existence  of  a  religious  or            linguistic minority in relation to Article 30, what is to be the            unit – the State or the country as a whole?

5.   To what extent can the rights  of  aided  private  minority            institutions to administer be regulated?”

Out of the eleven questions framed by the Bench, Questions  3(b),  4 and 5(a) are extremely relevant for deciding the  questions  raised  in  the Writ  Petition  filed  by  the  Petitioner-institution.   For  the  sake  of reference, the said three Questions are extracted hereinbelow:            “Q3(b).       To  what  extent  can  professional  education  be            treated as a matter coming under minorities rights under Article            30?

Q4.  Whether the admission of students to  minority  educational            institutions, whether aided or unaided, can be regulated by  the            State Government or by the University to which  the  institution            is affiliated?

Q5(a).       Whether the  minority’s  rights  to  establish  and            administer educational institutions of their choice will include            the  procedure  and  method  of  admission  and   selection   of            students?”

23.     Mr. Salve submitted that the answer given by the Eleven-Judge  Bench to the first Question is that  Article  30(1)  re-emphasises  the  right  of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer  educational institutions of their choice.  The  use  of  the  words  “of  their  choice” indicates that even professional educational institutions would  be  covered by Article 30.

24.     The answer to the second Question is that, except for providing  the qualifications and minimum conditions of  eligibility  in  the  interest  of academic standards, admission of students to  unaided  minority  educational institutions cannot be regulated by the State or University concerned.   Mr. Salve pointed out that a note of caution was,  however,  introduced  and  it was observed that the right to administer,  not  being  an  absolute  right, there  could  be  regulatory  measures  for  ensuring   proper   educational standards and maintaining the excellence thereof, particularly in regard  to admissions to  professional  institutions.   It  was  further  held  that  a minority institution does not cease to be so, when it receives  grant-in-aid and it would, therefore, be entitled to  have  a  right  to  admit  students belonging to the minority group, but at the same time it would  be  required to admit a reasonable number of non-minority students so that  rights  under Article 30(1) were not substantially impaired and the rights  of  a  citizen under Article 29(2) of the Constitution were not  infringed.   However,  the concerned State Governments would have to  notify  the  percentage  of  non- minority students to be admitted in the institution.   Amongst  students  to be admitted from the minority  group,  inter  se  merit  would  have  to  be ensured and, in the case of aided professional institutions, it  could  also be submitted that in regard to the seats relating to non-minority  students, admission should normally be on the basis of the common entrance  test  held by the State agency, followed by counselling wherever it exists.

25.     In reply to  the  third  Question,  it  was  held  that  a  minority institution may have its own procedure and method of admission  as  well  as selection of students, but such a  procedure  would  have  to  be  fair  and transparent and  the  selection  of  students  in  professional  and  higher educational colleges should  be  on  the  basis  of  merit.   The  procedure selected for admission by the minority institution ought not to  ignore  the merit of  students  for  admission  while  exercising  the  right  to  admit students by the colleges aforesaid, as in that event, the  institution  will fail to achieve  excellence.   The  said  procedure  should  not  amount  to maladministration.

26.     Some of the issues decided in the T.M.A. Pai  Foundation  case  came up for clarification in the Islamic Academy of Education  case  (supra)  and for further interpretation in P.A. Inamdar’s case (supra),  before  a  Bench of Seven-Judges, wherein the Petitioner-Association  was  duly  represented. The Hon’ble  Judges  reiterated  the  views  expressed  in  the  T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case that there cannot be  any  reservation  in  private  unaided institutions, which had the right to have their own  admission  process,  if the same was fair, transparent, non-exploitative and based  on  merit.   Mr. Salve referred to paragraph 125 of  the  judgment  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s  case (supra), which is relevant for our purpose, and reads as follows:

“125. As per our understanding, neither in the judgment  of  Pai            Foundation [(2002) 8 SCC 481]  nor  in  the  Constitution  Bench            decision in Kerala Education  Bill  [1959  SCR  995]  which  was            approved by Pai Foundation, is there anything which would  allow            the State to regulate  or  control  admissions  in  the  unaided            professional educational institutions so as to  compel  them  to            give up a share of the available seats to the candidates  chosen            by the State, as if it was filling the  seats  available  to  be            filled up at its discretion in such private  institutions.  This            would  amount  to  nationalisation  of  seats  which  has   been            specifically disapproved in Pai Foundation [(2002) 8  SCC  481].            Such imposition of quota of State seats or enforcing reservation            policy of the State on available seats in  unaided  professional            institutions are acts constituting serious encroachment  on  the            right  and  autonomy   of   private   professional   educational            institutions. Such appropriation of seats can also not  be  held            to be a regulatory measure  in  the  interest  of  the  minority            within the meaning of Article 30(1) or a reasonable  restriction            within the meaning of  Article  19(6)  of  the  Constitution  of            India. Merely because the resources of the  State  in  providing            professional  education   are   limited,   private   educational            institutions,  which  intend  to  provide  better   professional            education, cannot be forced by  the  State  to  make  admissions            available on the basis of reservation policy to less meritorious            candidates. Unaided institutions, as they are not  deriving  any            aid from State funds, can have their  own  admissions  if  fair,            transparent, non-exploitative and based on merit.”

27.     Mr.  Salve  submitted  that  after  this  decision,  the  Petitioner Institution continued to admit students to its various  graduate  and  post- graduate courses by following its own admission procedure, as  it  had  been doing for the last several decades.  Mr. Salve submitted that the  Committee set up by the Government of Tamil Nadu  has  permitted  the  Institution  to follow its own admission procedure for  undergraduate  M.B.B.S.  course  for the academic year 2012-2013.

28.     While matters were thus poised, the Medical Council of India  framed the impugned amended Regulations, which, according to Mr.  Salve,  not  only violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 25, 26 and  30  of the Constitution to minority run institutions,  but  if  implemented,  would destroy the very objective with which  the  hospital  had  been  set  up  in response to Christ’s mission of healing the sick.  Mr. Salve submitted  that the impugned Notifications were inconsistent with the law laid down  by  the Supreme Court in its various decisions dealing with the rights  of  unaided, non-capitation fee minority institutions to admit students of their  choice.

29.      Mr.  Salve  submitted  that  right  from  the  decision  in    Unni Krishnan’s  case  (supra),  when  the  State  Government  first  sought   to interfere with the admission process adopted by the Petitioner  Institution, this Court has, by virtue of different interim and final orders,  held  that there could be no reservation of seats in institutions like the ones run  by the Petitioner, which are wholly unaided and have always been  permitted  to admit students of their choice, in keeping with  their  status  as  minority unaided professional institutions.  It was urged that Clause  9(vi)  of  the Post-Graduate Notification, which provides for reservation, is  ultra  vires the provisions of Article 30(1) of the Constitution.  Furthermore, when  the State Government tried to reserve 50% of the  seats  in  the  Under-graduate courses, this Court granted a stay which continues to be operative.

30.     Mr. Salve submitted that the question of  reservation  of  seats  in minority  institutions,  which  has  been   introduced   by   the   impugned amendments, both in respect of  the  Under-graduate  and  the  Post-Graduate courses, does violence to the rights conferred on minorities  under  Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India, as interpreted by this Court in  various judgments starting from 1957  till  2002,  when  the  question  was  finally decided by an Eleven-Judge Bench in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case  (supra).  Even the reservation created for NRIs in Unni Krishnan’s case (supra)  case was declared to be ultra vires the Constitution of India.

31.     It was urged that in a recent decision of this Court in  the  Indian Medical Association case (supra), it has, inter alia,  been  held  that  the level of regulation that the State could impose under Article 19(6)  on  the freedoms enjoyed pursuant to Sub-Clause (g) of Clause (1) of Article  19  by non-minority educational institutions, would be greater than what  could  be imposed  on  minority  institutions  under  Article  30(1)  thereof,   which continued to maintain their minority status  by  admitting  students  mostly belonging to the minority  community  to  which  the  minority  institutions claim to belong, except  for  a  sprinkling  of  non-minority  students,  an expression which has been used in P.A. Inamdar’s case and earlier  cases  as well. Mr. Salve contended that the Petitioner  Institution,  from  its  very inception reserved up to 85% of its seats in the Under-graduate courses  and 50% of the Post-Graduate seats for Christian students exclusively.   In  the remaining 15% of the seats in the Under-graduate courses, reservations  have been made for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates.

32.      Mr.  Salve  contended  that  the  impugned  Notifications  and  the amendments to the MCI Regulations  sought  to  be  introduced  thereby   are contrary to the judgments delivered  by  the  Constitution  Bench.   Learned counsel submitted that till the amendments were  introduced,  the  concerned institutions had been conducting their own  All  India  Entrance  Tests  for admission to the MBBS and Post-Graduate medical courses.   Mr.  Salve  urged that there has  been  no  complaint  of  maladministration  as  far  as  the institutions run by the Petitioner Association are concerned.

33.     It was further submitted that all the Petitioners in this  batch  of cases are either religious minority educational institutions  or  linguistic minority institutions; non-minority self-financing colleges,  self-financing “Deemed to be  Universities”  under  Section  3  of  the  University  Grants Commission Act and the State Governments which run State  medical  colleges. However, it is the Christian Medical College, Vellore, which  is  among  the very few institutions that fall in the first category.  The learned  counsel urged  that without demur, the Christian Medical College, Vellore, has  been consistently rated among the top ten medical colleges  in  the  country  and usually ranked first or second. The excellence of patient care and  academic training has been  recognised,  both  at  the  national   and  international levels, and its contribution to health research has also been recognised  as pioneering  work  by  both  national  and  international  research   funding agencies.  Mr. Salve submitted  that  a  part  of  the  teachings  of  Jesus Christ, as documented in the Gospels, which form part of the New  Testament, was to  reach  out  to  and  to  heal  the  sick,  which  command  has  been institutionalised by the Petitioner ever since it was established as a  one- bed mission clinic-cum-hospital  in  1900.  Mr.  Salve  submitted  that  the activities of the Petitioner Institution clearly attract the provisions   of Article 25 of the Constitution and through the  Christian  Medical  College, Vellore, its activities are designed to  achieve  the  avowed  objective  of providing human resources for  the  healing  ministry  of  the  Church.  The activity of running medical courses and allied health sciences  and  nursing courses, in order to ensure constant  supply  of  doctors  and  other  para- medical staff to those hospitals, engaged in the healing of  the  sick,  are acts performed by the Petitioner in furtherance of its religious  faith  and beliefs. It was submitted that in the decision of the Constitution Bench  of Seven  Hon’ble  Judges  in  the  case  of  Commissioner,   Hindu   Religious Endowments, Madras Vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of  Sri  Shirur  Mutt (1954 SCR 1005), this Court  held  that  Article  25  of  the  Constitution, protects not only the freedom  of religious opinion, but also acts  done  in pursuance of religious beliefs, as is clear from  the  expression  “practice of religion”.

34.     Mr. Salve also referred to the  decision  in  the  case  of  Ratilal Panachand Gandhi Vs. The State of Bombay &  others,  reported  in  1954  SCR 1055, which was also a decision rendered by a  Constitution  Bench  of  this Court relying upon the decision in the Shirur  Mutt  case  (supra),  wherein similar sentiments were expressed.  Various  other  decisions  on  the  same issue were also referred to, which, however, need not detain us.

35.     Mr. Salve further urged that the  Petitioner  Institution  is  still one of the largest tertiary care hospitals in the  country,  where  patients come from all over India for expert treatment. The medical college  combines both medical treatment  and  education  which,  besides  being  a  religious activity, is also a charitable activity,  thereby  bringing  it  within  the ambit of Article 26(a) and (b) of  the  Constitution.  Mr.  Salve  submitted that, in fact, the said activities had been recognised by this Court in  the T.M.A. Pai Foundation  case (supra), wherein in paragraph 26,  it  was  held as follows :-            “26.  The  right   to   establish   and   maintain   educational            institutions may also be sourced to Article 26(a), which grants,            in positive terms, the right to every religious denomination  or            any section thereof to establish and maintain  institutions  for            religious and charitable  purposes,  subject  to  public  order,            morality and health.  Education is a recognised head of charity.             Therefore, religious denominations or sections  thereof,  which            do not fall within the special categories carved out in  Article            29(1) and 30(1),  have  the  right  to  establish  and  maintain            religious and educational institutions.”

36.      Today  the  Petitioner   has  in  place  a  selection  process  for admission to its Under-graduate  and  Post-graduate  courses,  by  which  it seeks to select candidates imbibed in the spirit of Christ for  the  purpose of healing the sick and to dedicate their lives to serve the needy, both  in the Petitioner Institution and also in far flung areas,  where  people  have no ready access to medical care, through  the  Christian  Mission  Hospitals run by the members of the Petitioner Association.  Mr. Salve submitted  that the doctors, who are the product of  the  Petitioner  Institution,  are  not only well-trained in medicine, but have also been imparted  with  values  in the treatment of the sick and the needy in keeping  with  the  teachings  of Christ, who looked on everybody with compassion.  Mr. Salve urged  that  the admission  process has proved to be highly successful and effective, and  in the case of St. Stephen’s College Vs.  University of  Delhi  [(1992)  1  SCC 558], this Court upheld the same as it was found to meet the objectives  for which the Institution itself had been established, despite the fact that  it was an aided minority institution.  Mr. Salve pointed out that in  paragraph 54 of the judgment, this Court had occasion  to  deal  with  the  expression “management of the affairs of the institution” and it  was  held  that  this management must be free from control so that the founder or  their  nominees could mould the Institution as they thought fit and in accordance  with  the ideas of how the interests of the community in general and  the  institution in particular could be served.

37.      As  far  as  unaided,  non-capitation   fee,   religious   minority institutions are  concerned,  Mr.  Salve  submitted  that  so  long  as  the admission procedure adopted is fair, transparent  and  non-exploitative  and there is no complaint of maladministration, it would be grossly  unjust  and unconstitutional  to  interfere  with  the   administration   of   such   an institution, in complete violence of the freedoms guaranteed under  Articles 25, 26 and 30 of  the  Constitution.    Mr.  Salve  submitted  that  if  the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test was to be  applied  and  followed  in the case  of  minority  institutions  protected  under  Article  30  of  the Constitution, it would result in complete denudation  of  the  freedoms  and rights guaranteed to such institutions under the Constitution, as  it  would run counter to the very principles on which admissions in such  institutions are undertaken.

38.     Mr. Salve submitted that neither Section 10A nor Section 19A of  the 1956 Act, which  were  inserted  in  the  principal  Statute  by  amendment, contemplate that the MCI would itself be entitled to conduct entrance  tests for admission into  different  medical  colleges  and  hospitals  in  India. Learned  counsel submitted that the main purpose of  constituting  the   MCI was to ensure excellence in the field of medical education and for the  said purpose, to regulate  the  standards  of  teaching  and  the  infrastructure available for establishment of a new medical college or to introduce  a  new course of study in an existing college.  What is  made  clear  from  Section 10A is that no new medical college could be established  and  recognised  by the Central Government without the recommendation of the Medical Council  of India.   Such  recognition  would   be   dependent   upon   inspection   and satisfaction that  the  proposed  new  medical  college  satisfied  all  the conditions stipulated by the Medical Council of India  for  starting  a  new medical college.  Section 19A, which was inserted  into  the  principal  Act much before  Section  10A,  speaks  of  the  minimum  standards  of  medical education,  other  than  post-graduate  medical  qualification,  which   the Medical Council of India may  prescribe  as  being  required  for  grant  of recognition to medical institutions in India.

39.     Mr. Salve urged that while Section 33 of the 1956 Act empowered  the Council, with the previous sanction  of  the  Central  Government,  to  make Regulations to carry out the purposes of the Act and  clause  (l)  empowered the Council to make Regulations with regard to the conduct  of  professional examinations, qualifications of examiners and the  conditions  of  admission to such examinations, the same did not  empower  the  Council   to  actually conduct the examinations, which continues  to  be  the  prerogative  of  the institution concerned.

40.      Mr.  Salve   submitted   that   in   State   of   A.P.   Vs.   Lavu Narendranath[(1971) 1 SCC 607], this Court had considered the validity of  a test held by the State Government for admission to medical colleges  in  the State of Andhra Pradesh and had held that  although  the  Andhra  University Act, 1926, prescribed the minimum qualification of  passing  HSC,  PUC,  ISC examinations for entry into a higher course of study, owing to  the  limited number of seats, the Government, which  ran  the  medical  colleges,  had  a right to select students out of the  large  number  of  candidates  who  had passed the entrance examination prescribed by it.  It  was  also  held  that merely because the Government had supplemented the eligibility  rules  by  a written test  in  the  subjects  with  which  the  candidates  were  already familiar, there was nothing  unfair  in  the  test  prescribed  nor  did  it militate against the powers of the Parliament under  Entry  66  of  List  I, which is not relatable to a screening test prescribed by the  Government  or by a University for selection of students out of a large number of  students applying for admission to a particular course of  study.   This  Court  held that such a test necessarily partakes of the  character  of  an  eligibility test as also a screening test.  Mr. Salve urged that in  such  a  situation, minimum qualifying marks were necessary, but the said question has not  been addressed at all in Lavu Narendranath’s  case  (supra),  since  it  did  not arise in that case.

41.     Mr.  Salve  submitted  that  the  Petitioner  Institution  has  been supplementing the primary duty enjoined on the State under Articles  21  and 47 of the Constitution in providing health care to the people  in  different parts of the country, including the rural  and  remote  areas,  through  the several  hospitals  run  by  Christian  Churches  and  organizations.    Any interference with the manner in which these minority institutions are  being administered, except where the  standards  of  excellence  are  compromised, would not only strike at the very reason  for  their  existence,  but  would disturb  the  health  care  services  being  provided  by  them.  Mr.  Salve submitted that the MCI, which  is  a  creature  of  Statute,  cannot  travel beyond the powers vested in it by the Statute and its attempt   to  regulate and control the manner in which admissions are to  be  undertaken  in  these institutions, by introducing a single  entrance  examination,  goes  against the very grain of  the  fundamental  rights  vested  in  the  religious  and linguistic minorities to establish and administer  educational  institutions of their choice and to impart their religious values  therein,  so  long  as the same was not against the peace and security of the State.

42.      Mr. Salve urged that the amended provisions of the MCI  Regulations as impugned, were liable  to  be  struck  down  as  being  contrary  to  the provisions of Articles  25,  26  and  30  of  the  Constitution,  read  with Sections 10A and 19A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

43.     Having heard Mr. Harish Salve on the  rights  claimed  by  religious minority medical institution enjoying the protection  of  Articles  25,  26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution, we may now turn to  the  submissions  made by Mr. K. Parasaran, learned Senior Advocate, appearing  on  behalf  of  the Vinayaka Missions University, run by a linguistic  minority,  also  enjoying the rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) and the protection  of  Article 30 of the Constitution.

44.  Mr. Parasaran began by reiterating Mr. Salve’s  submission  that  while minority institutions enjoyed  the  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  to  any other individual or institution under Article 19(1)(g) of the  Constitution, in addition, linguistic minorities, like  religious  minorities,  enjoy  the special protection afforded under  Article  30  of  the  Constitution.   Mr. Parasaran submitted that just  as  in  the  case  of  religious  minorities, linguistic minorities also  have  the  right  to  establish  and  administer educational institutions of their choice, which included the right to  admit students therein.

45.      Mr. Parasaran submitted that the  impugned  Regulations  are  ultra vires,  unconstitutional  and  violative  of   Article   19(1)(g)   of   the Constitution, not only in respect of institutions  run  by  minorities,  but also to all institutions covered by NEET.  Mr. Parasaran submitted  that  if the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, is to be  understood  to  empower  the MCI to nominate the students for admission, it would be invalid,  since  the said Act and the amendments to the Act, which are relevant for  the  present cases, were enacted before the 42nd Constitution  Amendment,  whereby  Entry 11 was removed from List II of the Seventh Schedule  and  was  relocated  as Entry 25 in List III of the said Schedule, came into force on  3rd  January, 1977.

46.     Mr. Parasaran also urged that as was held by this  Court  in  Indian Express Newspapers Vs. Union of India  [(1985)  1  SCC  641],  even  if  the Regulations are accepted to be subordinate legislation, the same  were  also open to challenge:      (a) on the ground on which plenary legislation is questioned.

(b) on the ground that it does not conform to the statute  under  which      it is made.

(c) on the ground that it is contrary  to  some  other  statute  as  it      should yield to plenary legislation, and/or

(d) that it is manifestly unreasonable.

47.     Mr. Parasaran submitted that in  Deep  Chand  Vs.  State  of  Uttar Pradesh and Others [(1959) Suppl. 2 SCR 8] wherein the validity of  certain provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Transport Service (Development) Act,  1955, came to be considered on the passing of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1956, the majority view was that the entire Act did not become wholly  void under Article 254(1) of the Constitution, but continued to be valid  in  so far as it supported  the Scheme already framed under the U.P. Act.

48.      Mr.  Parasaran  contended  that  a  standard  must   have   general application and inter se merit does  not  relate  to  standards,  but  is  a comparison of an assessment of merit among the eligible candidates.

49.      Mr. Parasaran submitted that the legislative power under  Entry  11 of List II stood transferred to List III only by virtue of the  Forty-second Amendment with effect from 3rd January, 1977 and  the power so  acquired  by virtue of the amendment, could  not  validate  an  Act  enacted  before  the acquisition of such  power.  Mr.  Parasaran  urged  that  while  the  Indian Medical Council Act  was  enacted  in  1956,  Section  19A  on  which  great reliance was placed by Mr. Nidhesh Gupta,  learned  Advocate  appearing  for the  MCI,  was  brought  into  the  Statute  Book  on   16th   June,   1964. Consequently the 1956 Act, as also the Regulations, are ultra vires,  except to the extent covered by Entry 66 of List  I,  which  is  confined  to  “co- ordination and determination of standards”.

50.     Referring to the decision of this Court in State of Orissa Vs.  M.A. Tulloch & Co. [(1964) 4 SCR  461],  Mr.  Parasaran  contended  that  as  the State’s powers of  legislation  are  subject  to  Parliamentary  legislation under Entry 66  of List I, when Parliament legislates, to that extent  alone the State is denuded of its legislative power.  A denudation  of  the  power of the State legislature can be effected only by a plenary  legislation  and not by subordinate legislation.  The Regulations, which are not  plenary  in character,  but  have  the  effect  of  denuding  the  power  of  the  State legislature, are, therefore, ultra vires.

51.     Another interesting submission urged by Mr. Parasaran was  that  the principle of “Rag Bag” legislation,  as  was  explained  by  this  Court  in Ujagar Prints etc. Vs. Union of India [(1989) 3 SCC 488], cannot be  invoked by combining the Entries in List I and List III in cases where the field  of legislation in List III is expressly made subject to an  Entry  in  List  I. In such cases, while enacting a  legislation  on  a  subject  in  List  III, Parliament is also subject to the Entry in List I in the  same  way  as  the State legislature, as the field of legislation in  the  Concurrent  List  is the same as far as the Parliament and the State legislatures  for  admission of students to professional courses, are  concerned.   Mr.  Parasaran  urged that the decision in Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra) has to be  interpreted harmoniously with the decision  in  M.A.  Tulloch’s  case  (supra),  Ishwari Khetan Vs. State of U.P. [(1980) 4 SCC 136] and Deep Chand’s  case  (supra), as otherwise the findings in  Preeti  Srivastava’s  case  (supra)  would  be rendered per incuriam for not taking note of the  fact  that  the  power  of Parliament under Entry 25 of List III was  an  after  acquired  power.   Mr. Parasaran emphasised the fact that  the  reasoning  in  Preeti  Srivastava’s case (supra) related only to the question of the State’s power to  prescribe different admission criteria to the  Post-graduate  courses  in  Engineering and medicine and cannot be held to govern the admission of students  to  the said courses.   Learned  counsel  submitted  that  the  decision  in  Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra) has to be confined only to  eligibility  standards for  admission  and  not  to  issues  relating  to  admission  itself.   Mr. Parasaran also pointed out that in Preeti  Srivastava’s  case  (supra),  the decision in Deep Chand’s case (supra) had not been considered and  the  fact that Parliament had no power to legislate with regard to matters which  were then in Entry 11 of List II had  been  overlooked.   The  Court,  therefore, erroneously proceeded on the basis of the  powers  given  to  Parliament  by virtue of  Entry  25  of  List  III  by  the  Forty-second  Amendment.   Mr. Parasaran urged that to the extent it is inconsistent with the  decision  in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra), as to  the  right  of  admission  by private institutions, the decision in Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra)  will have to yield to the principles laid down by the larger Bench in the  T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra).  Mr. Parasaran submitted  that  the  effect  of the impugned Regulations in the  context  of  the  prevailing  law  is  that private institutions may establish educational institutions  at  huge  costs and provide for teaching and lectures,  but  without  any  right,  power  or discretion to run the college, even to  the  extent  of  admitting  students therein.  Mr. Parasaran contended that  by  the  introduction  of  NEET  the States and Universities in States stand completely  deprived  of  the  right to deal with admissions, which has the  effect  of  destroying  the  federal structure of the Constitution.

52.     Mr. Parasaran urged that the executive power of the State, which  is co-extensive with the legislative  power  with  regard  to  matters  in  the Concurrent List, cannot be taken away except as expressly  provided  by  the Constitution or by any law made by Parliament. It was urged that  the  power of subordinate legislation or statutory power conferred by  a  Parliamentary legislation cannot be exercised to take away the legislative  power  of  the State legislature, which could only be done  by  plenary  legislation  under Article 73 of the Constitution.  Mr. Parasaran submitted that  the  impugned Regulations, not being plenary legislation, are unconstitutional  and  ultra vires the Constitution.

53.     Mr. Parasaran submitted that the impugned Regulations  provide  that if sufficient number of candidates in  the  respective  categories  fail  to secure minimum marks as prescribed in NEET, held both for Post-graduate  and graduate courses, the Central Government, in consultation with  the  Medical Council of India,  may  at  its  discretion  lower  the  minimum  marks  for admission, which itself indicates that the  Regulations  are  concerned  not with determination of standards, but with admissions.

54.     Mr. Parasaran further submitted  that  the  Scheme  framed  in  Unni Krishnan’s  case  (supra)  completely  excluded  the   discretion   of   the institution to admit students and the same was, therefore, overruled in  the T.M.A. Pai Foundation  case as having the effect of nationalising  education in  respect  of  important  features  viz.  right  of  a   private   unaided institution to give admission and to fix the fees.  Mr. Parasaran  submitted that the impugned Regulations suffer from the same vice of a complete  take- over of the process of admission, which rendered  the  impugned  Regulations unconstitutional.

55.     Mr. Parasaran  further  urged  that  minorities,  whether  based  on religion or language, also have a fundamental right under Article  19(1)(g), like any other citizen, to practise any  profession,  or  to  carry  on  any occupation, trade or business in the interest of  the  general  public,  but subject to reasonable restrictions that may be imposed by the State  on  the exercise of such rights.  In addition, minorities have the right  guaranteed under Article 30 to establish and  administer  educational  institutions  of their choice. Considering  the  right  of  both  minority  and  non-minority citizens to establish and administer educational  institutions,  this  Court had in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case  (supra)  held  that  the  said  right includes the right to admit students and to nominate students for  admission and even when students are required to be selected on the  basis  of  merit, the ultimate decision to grant admission to the students who have  otherwise qualified  for  the  said  purpose,  must  be  left  with  the   educational institutions concerned. Mr. Parasaran  submitted  that  in  the  T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra), this Court, inter alia, observed  that  the  fixing of a rigid fee structure, compulsory nomination of teachers  and  staff  for appointment or nominating  students  for  admission  would  be  unreasonable restrictions.

56.  Mr. Parasaran also urged that the right of minority institutions  under Article 30 is in the national interest and as indicated in the  decision  in Unni Krishnan’s case (supra), the hard reality that emerges is that  private educational institutions are a necessity in the  present-day  circumstances. It is not possible today without them because  the  Governments  are  in  no position to meet the demand, particularly in  the  sectors  of  medical  and technical education, which call for substantial  investments  and  expenses. Mr. Parasaran submitted that  the  impugned  Regulations  were  not  in  the national interest and would only discourage good private institutions  being established by people dedicated to the cause of  providing  health  care  to all sections of the  citizens  of  this  country  and,  in  particular,  the marginalized sections in the metropolitan and rural areas.

57.     Mr. Parasaran then urged that 50% of the total seats  available,  as per Clause VI of the Post-Graduate Medical Education  Regulations,  were  to be filled up by the State Governments or the Authorities appointed by  them.  The remaining 50% seats are to  be  filled  up  by  the  concerned  medical colleges and institutions on the basis of the merit list prepared  according to the marks obtained in NEET.  Mr. Parasaran  submitted  that  there  is  a similar provision  in  the  1997  Regulations  applicable  to  the  Graduate M.B.B.S. course.  Noticing the same,  this  Court  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s  case (supra) categorically indicated that nowhere in the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation case (supra), either in the majority or in the  minority  views,  could  any justification be found for imposing seat  sharing  quota  by  the  State  on unaided  private  professional  educational  institutions.   Clarifying  the position this Court observed that fixation of percentage of quota are to  be read and understood as consensual arrangements which may be reached  between unaided private professional institutions  and  the  State.   Mr.  Parasaran urged that the Regulations providing for a  quota  of  50%  are,  therefore, invalid.

58.      Mr. Parasaran urged that  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s  case  (supra),  this Court  had  held  that  private  institutions  could  follow  an   admission procedure if the same satisfied the triple test of being  fair,  transparent and non-exploitative.  It is only when  an  institution  failed  the  triple test, could the State interfere and substitute its own fair and  transparent procedure, but the same cannot become a procedure  by  destroying  the  very right of the private institutions to  hold  their  own  test  in  the  first instance.  Mr. Parasaran urged that the purpose of a  common  entrance  test is to compute the equivalence between different kinds of qualifications  and to ensure that those seeking entry into a medical institute did not have  to appear for multiple tests, but it could not  justify  the  extinguishing  of the right to admit and to reject candidates on a fair, transparent and  non- exploitative basis from out of the  eligible  candidates  under  NEET.   Mr. Parasaran reiterated that ultimately it is the institutions which must  have the right to decide the admission of candidates.

59.      Mr. Parasaran submitted that in Pradeep   Jain Vs. Union  of  India [(1984) 3 SCC 654], this Court has held  that  university-wise  distribution of seats is valid.  The learned  Judges  fully  considered  the  mandate  of equality  and  pointed  out  the  need  to  take  into   account   different considerations  relating  to  differing  levels  of  social,  economic   and educational development of different regions, disparity  in  the  number  of seats available in different States and the difficulties that may  be  faced by students from one region, if they get a seat  in  another  region.   This Court held that an All  India  Entrance  Examination  would  only  create  a mirage of equality of opportunity  and  would,  in  reality,  deprive  large sections of underprivileged students from pursuing higher education.  Though attractive at first blush, an All India Entrance Examination would  actually be detrimental to the interests of the students hoping for admission to  the M.B.B.S. and Post-graduate courses.

60.     Mr. Parasaran submitted that since  all  judgments  on  the  subject were by Benches which were of lesser strength as compared to the T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra), all other decisions of this Court, both before  and after the decision  in  the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case  (supra),  would, therefore, have to be read harmoniously with the  principles  enunciated  in the  T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra).  In case some of the  cases  cannot be harmoniously read, then the principles  laid  down  in  the   T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra) will have primacy and  will  have  to  be  followed. Mr. Parasaran submitted that the observations as to standard  and  merit  in Preeti Srivsatava’s case (supra) and in P.A. Inamdar’s  case  (supra),  have to  be  understood  as  conforming  to  the  decision  in  the   T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra).  Mr.  Parasaran  submitted  that  the  flourish  of language in the judgments of Benches of lesser strength cannot  be  read  so as to dilute the ratio of the decision of Benches of larger  strength.   Mr. Parasaran urged that consequently the right to  admit  students  by  unaided private institutions, both aided and unaided minority institutions, as  part of their right to administer the institution, as guaranteed  under  Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution,  cannot  be  taken  away even by way of plenary jurisdiction,  which  the  impugned  Regulations  are not.

61.     Mr. Parasaran submitted that  in  the  case  of  aided  non-minority institutions, the State may by Regulation provide for a larger role for  the State in relation to matters of admission.  Mr.  Parasaran  urged  that  the impugned  Regulations  being  only  regulatory  in  character,  they  cannot destroy the right itself.

62.     Dr. Rajiv Dhawan, learned senior counsel, who appeared on behalf  of Yenepoya University in Transferred Case Nos. 135-137 of 2012  and  also  for the  Karnataka  Religious  and  Linguistic  Minority  Professional  Colleges Association in  Transferred  Case  Nos.  121-122  of  2012,  submitted  that although the issues involved in the said cases have already been  argued  in extenso by Mr. Salve and Mr. Parasaran, as part of the main  issue,  it  has to be decided whether NEET violates  the  fundamental  right  guaranteed  to minorities, both religious and linguistic, to impart medical  education,  as explained in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case  (supra)  and  other  subsequent decisions and even if found to be intra vires, is it manifestly  unjust  and arbitrary?  It was further urged that it  would  also  have  to  be  decided whether the doctrine of  severability,  reading  down  and  proportionality, could be effected to the impugned Regulations.

63.     Dr. Dhawan  urged  that  the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case  (supra) resolved several issues where there was  still  some  doubt  on  account  of decisions rendered in different cases.  Dr. Dhawan urged that  it  was  held that the decision in the Unni Krishnan’s  case  (supra)  was  wrong  to  the extent that “free seats” were to go to the  privileged  and  that  education was being nationalised which took over the autonomy of institutions. It  was also observed that the expanding needs of education entailed a combined  use of resources both of the  Government  and  the  private  sector,  since  the imparting of education was too large a portfolio for  the  Government  alone to manage.

64.     Dr. Dhawan urged that the other issue of importance, which was  also decided, was the right of autonomy  of  institutions  which  were  protected under Article 30 of the Constitution, which, inter alia, included the  right to admit students.

It was also settled that unaided institutions were to  have  maximum autonomy while aided institutions were to have a lesser  autonomy,  but  not to be treated as “departmentally run by government”.

65.       Dr.  Dhawan  submitted  that  the  decision  in  the  T.M.A.   Pai Foundation case  (supra)  also  settled  the  issue   that  affiliation  and recognition has to be available  to  every  institution  that  fulfills  the conditions for grant of such affiliation  and  recognition.  Learned  Senior Counsel submitted that surrendering the total process of  selection  to  the State was unreasonable, as was sought to be done in  the  Scheme  formulated in Unni Krishnan’s case (supra). The said trend of the decisions was  sought to be corrected in the T.M.A. Pai  Foundation  case  (supra)  where  it  was categorically held that minority institutions had the right  to  “mould  the institution  as  they  think  fit”,  bearing   in   mind    that   “minority institutions have a personality of their  own,  and  in  order  to  maintain their atmosphere and traditions, it is but necessary that they must  have  a right to choose and select the students who can be admitted in their  course of study.”  It is for this reason that in the  St.  Stephen’s  College  case (supra), this Court upheld the  Scheme  whereby  a  cut-off  percentage  was fixed  for  admission  after  which  the  students  were  interviewed   and, thereafter, selected.  It was also laid  down  that  while  the  educational institutions cannot grant admission  on  its  whims  and  fancies  and  must follow some identifiable or reasonable methodology  of  admitting  students, any scheme, rule or regulation that does not give the institution the  right to reject candidates who might otherwise  be  qualified  according  to,  say their performance in an entrance test, would be an unreasonable  restriction under Article 19(6), though appropriate guidelines/  modalities  can  always be prescribed for holding the  entrance  test  in  a  fair  and  transparent manner.

66.     Again in paragraphs 158 and 159 of the judgment in  the  T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra), it  has  been  very  picturesquely  expressed  that India is a kaleidoscope of different peoples of different cultures and  that all pieces of mosaic had to be in harmony in order to give a  whole  picture of India which would otherwise be scarred. Their Lordships  very  poetically indicated that each piece, like a citizen of India, plays an important  part in the making of the whole.  The  variations  of  the  colours  as  well  as different shades of the same colour in a map are the result of  these  small pieces of different shades and colours or marble, but even  when  one  small piece of marble is removed, the whole  map  would  be  disfigured,  and  the beauty of the mosaic would be lost.

67.   Referring to the separate decision rendered by Ruma Pal,  J.,  in  the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra),  Dr. Dhawan submitted that  the  learned Judge had also artistically distinguished Indian  secularism  from  American secularism by calling Indian secularism “a salad bowl” and  not  a  “melting pot”.

68.     Dr. Dhawan urged that a combined reading of the decision in  Islamic Academy’s case (supra) and P.A. Inamdar’s case (supra) suggests that (i)  no unaided institutions can be compelled to accept  reservations  made  by  the State, except by voluntary agreement; and (ii) the right to  (a)  admit  and select students of their choice  by  pursuing  individual  or  associational tests and (b) fix fees on a non-profit basis is a  right  available  to  all educational institutions, but the admissions were to  be  made  on  a  fair, transparent and non exploitative method, based on merit.

69.      On Article 15(5) of the Constitution,  Dr.  Dhawan  contended  that the same  was  included  in  the  Constitution  by  the  Constitution  (93rd Amendment) Act, with the  object  of  over  turning  the  decision  in  P.A. Inamdar’s case (supra) on voluntary  reservations.    Dr.  Dhawan  submitted that the said provision would make it clear that the State  reservations  do not apply to “minority institutions” enjoying the protection of  Article  30 and it is on such basis that in the Society for Unaided Private  Schools  of Rajasthan Vs. Union of India [(2012) 6  SCC  1],  this  Court  held  that  a minority  institution  could  not  be  forced  to   accept   the   statutory reservation also.   Dr. Dhawan urged that  the  impact  of  the  T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra) and subsequent decisions is that  all  institutions, and especially minority  institutions,  have  the  constitutional  right  to select and admit students of their  choice  and  conduct  their  own  tests, subject to minimum standards which could be enhanced but not lowered by  the States.

70.     Dr. Dhawan  also  referred  to  the  issue  of  equivalence  between various Boards and uniformity and convenience.   Learned  counsel  submitted that the distinction was  recognized  in  the  case  of  Rajan  Purohit  Vs. Rajasthan University of Health Sciences [(2012) 10 SCC 770], wherein it  was observed that the problem of equivalence could be resolved  by  the  college or group  of  colleges,  either  by  finding  a  method  of  equivalence  to reconcile difference of standards between various Boards, or by the  college or group of colleges  evolving  a  Common  Entrance  Test  to  overcome  the problem of equivalence.  Dr. Dhawan submitted that the said issue  had  been addressed in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra), which continues to hold  the field in respect of common issues. Dr. Dhawan  urged  that  consistent  with the views expressed in the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case  (supra)  and  the importance of autonomy and voluntarism, the same could not be impinged  upon by nationalizing the process of admission itself for both  the  purposes  of eligibility and selection, unless a college failed to abide  by  the  triple requirements laid down in P.A. Inamdar’s case (supra).

71.     In regard to the  decision  in  Lavu  Narendranath’s  case  (supra), which had been relied upon by Mr. K. Parasaran, Dr.  Dhawan  contended  that the same was based upon the understanding that Entry 66 of  List  I  had  no relation with tests for screening and selecting students prescribed  by  the States or Universities for admission,  but  only  to  coordinate  standards. The scope of the said Entry did not  deal  with  the  method  of  admission, which  was  within  the  constitutional  powers  of  the   State   and   the Universities. Dr. Dhawan submitted that  the  decision  rendered  in  Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra) also  expressed  similar  views  regarding  laying down of standards for admission  into  the  Post-graduate  medical  courses, which meant that government and  universities  had  exclusive  control  over admission tests and the criteria of selection in higher  education,  subject to minimum standards laid down  by  the  Union,  unless  Union  legislation, relatable to Entry 25 of List  III,  was  passed  to  override  the  States’ endeavours in this regard.

72.  Dr. Dhawan contended that the demarcation sought to be  made  in   Lavu Narendranath’s case (supra) found favour in subsequent  cases,  such  as  in the case of State of M.P. Vs. Nivedita Jain [(1981) 4 SCC  296],  wherein  a Bench of Three Judges took the view that Entry 66 of List I of  the  Seventh Schedule to the Constitution relates to “coordination and  determination  of standards in institutions for higher education or  research  and  scientific and technical institutions”.  The said sentiments were  reiterated  by  this Court in Ajay Kumar Singh Vs. State of Bihar [(1994) 4 SCC  401].   However, in Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra), the Constitution  Bench  overruled  the decision in the said two cases.  But, as urged by  Dr.  Dhawan,  by  holding that Entry 66 of List I was not relatable to a screening test prescribed  by the Government or by a University for selection of students from  out  of  a large  number  for  admission  to  any  particular  course  of  study,   the Constitution Bench also accepted that the powers of the MCI  under  List  I, Entry 66, did not extend to selection of students.  Dr.  Dhawan  urged  that although Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra) had been confined  to  its  facts, it went beyond the same on account of interpretation of the  scope  of  List I, Entry 66 and extending the same to the admission process, simply  because admission also  related  to  standards  and  upon  holding  that  the  Union Parliament also had the power to legislate for the  MCI  in  the  matter  of admission criteria under Entry 25, List III.

Dr. Dhawan submitted that the two aforesaid issues had the  potentiality of denuding the States and  the  private  institutions,  including  minority institutions enjoying the protection of Article 30,  of  their  powers  over the admission process and in the bargain upset the Federal balance.

73.     The validity of the impugned Regulations was also questioned by  Dr. Dhawan on the ground that Sections 19A and 20 of  the  1956  Act  authorises the MCI to prescribe the minimum standards  of  medical  education  required for granting recognised medical qualifications in India, but copies  of  the draft regulations and of all subsequent amendments thereof are  required  to be furnished by the Council  to  all  State  Governments  and  the  Council, before submitting the Regulations or any amendment thereto  to  the  Central Government  for  sanction,  is  required  to  take  into  consideration  the comments of any State Government  received  within  three  months  from  the furnishing of copies of the said  Regulations.  Dr.  Dhawan  submitted  that such consultation was never undertaken by the  MCI  before  the  Regulations were amended, which has rendered the said Regulations invalid and by  virtue of the decisions rendered in Lavu Narendranath’s  case  (supra)  and  Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra), they cannot be reinstated by virtue of  Entry  25 List III.

74.     Dr.  Dhawan  urged  that  while  the  power  of  the  MCI  to  frame Regulations is under Section 33 of the 1956 Act, the  role  of  the  MCI  is limited to that of a recommending or a consulting body to provide  standards which are required to be maintained for the purpose of running  the  medical institution, and would not include  admission  of  students  to  the  Under- graduate and the Post-graduate courses.  Dr.  Dhawan  urged  that  the  said powers could not  have  been  extended  to  controlling  admissions  in  the medical colleges and medical institutions  run  by  the  State  and  private authorities.  Dr. Dhawan submitted that as was held by this Court  in  State of Karnataka Vs. H. Ganesh Kamath [(1983) 2 SCC 402], “It is a  well-settled principle of interpretation of statutes that the conferment  of  rule-making power by an Act does not enable the rule-making authority  to  make  a  rule which travels beyond the scope of the enabling Act or which is  inconsistent therewith  or  repugnant   thereto.”    While   accepting   that   delegated legislation is necessary, Dr. Dhawan urged that it must  remain  within  the contours of the rule or regulation-making power and the  purpose  for  which it is given, as was held by this  Court  in  St.  John’s  Teachers  Training Institute Vs. Regional Director, National  Council  for  Teacher   Education [(2003) 3 SCC 321].

75.     Dr. Dhawan also questioned the vires of the  amended  provisions  of the MCI Rules on the ground of unreasonableness and arbitrariness and  urged that in both cases the Court would be justified in invoking the doctrine  of proportionality, as was observed by this Court in Om Prakash  Vs.  State  of U.P. [(2004) 3 SCC 402].  Dr. Dhawan submitted that the only  way  in  which the impugned Regulations could possibly be saved is by reading them down  to bring them in conformity with the constitutional  legislation  and  the  law laid down by the Supreme Court.

76.     Dr. Dhawan urged that admission  of  students  in  all  the  medical institutions in India on the  basis  of  a  single  eligibility-cum-entrance examination, was not only beyond the scope  of  the  powers  vested  in  the Medical Council of India to make Regulations under Section 33  of  the  1956 Act, but the same were also arbitrary  and  unreasonable,  not  having  been framed in consultation with the States and without obtaining their  response in respect thereof.  More over, the same runs counter  to  the  decision  of this Court in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra) making  it  clear  that the MCI was only a regulatory and/or advisory body having the power  to  lay down the standards in the curricula, but not to interfere with  the  process of admission,  which  would  be  the  obvious  fall-out  of  a  single  NEET conducted by the MCI. Dr. Dhawan concluded on the note that  uniformity  for its own sake is of little use when the  end  result  does  not  achieve  the objects for which the Regulations have been introduced.

77.     Appearing for Sri Ramachandra University in Transferred  Case  Nos.1 & 3 of 2013, Mr. Ajit Kumar Sinha, learned Senior Advocate,  questioned  the vires of the impugned regulations more  or  less  on  the  same  grounds  as canvassed by Mr. Salve, Mr. K. Parasaran and  Dr.  Dhawan.  Mr.  Sinha  also reiterated the fact that in Preeti Srivastava’s  case  (supra),  this  Court did not notice the decision in Deep Chand’s case (supra) and overlooked  the fact that Parliament had no power to legislate with regard to matters  which were then in Entry 11  of  List  II  of  the  Seventh  Schedule.  Mr.  Sinha submitted that the  decision  in  Preeti  Srivastava’s  case  (supra)  must, therefore, be held to be per incuriam.

78.      Mr.  Sinha  urged  that  neither  Section  19A  nor  Section   2(h) contemplates the holding of a pre-medical entrance test for  admission  into all  medical  institutions  in  the  country,  irrespective   of   who   had established such institutions and were administering  the  same.  Mr.  Sinha urged that the impugned Regulations were liable to be struck  down  on  such ground as well, as it  sought  to  unlawfully  curtail  the  powers  of  the persons running such medical institutions in the country.

79.     Mr. P.P. Rao, learned Senior Advocate, who  initially  appeared  for the State of Andhra Pradesh in Transferred Case No.102  of  2012,  submitted that as far as the State of Andhra  Pradesh  is  concerned,  admission  into educational institutions was governed by a  Presidential  Order  dated  10th May, 1979, issued under  Article  371D  of  the  Constitution,  inter  alia, providing  for  minimum  educational  qualifications   and   conditions   of eligibility  for  admission  to  the  MBBS,  B.Sc.  Course,  etc.   Mr.  Rao submitted that being a special provision it prevails in the State of  Andhra Pradesh over other similar legislations.

80.     Subsequently,  Mr.  L.  Nageshwara  Rao,  learned  Senior  Advocate, appeared for the State of Andhra Pradesh in the said  Transferred  Case  and also in Transferred Cases Nos.100 and 101 of 2012,  103  of  2012,  Transfer Petition (C) Nos.1671 and 1645 of 2012  and  Writ  Petition  (C)  No.464  of 2012. In addition, Mr. Nageswara Rao also appeared for the  State  of  Tamil Nadu in Transferred Case Nos.110 and 111 of 2012  and  for  the  Tamil  Nadu Deemed University Association in Transferred Cases Nos. 356 and 357 of  2012 and Writ Petition (C) No.27 of 2013.

81.     Continuing from where Mr. P.P. Rao  left  off,   Mr.  Nageswara  Rao submitted that in conformity with  the  aforesaid  Presidential  Order,  the State  of  Andhra  Pradesh  enacted  the   A.P.   Educational   Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Prohibition  of  Capitation  Fee)  Act,  1983, defining,  inter  alia,  “local  area”,  “local   candidate”,   “educational institutions” and “relevant qualifying examinations”.  Mr. Rao  pointed  out that Section 5 of the  Act  provides  for  reservation  in  non-State-  Wide Universities and Education Institutions in favour of local candidates  while Section 6 provides for reservation in  State-wide  Universities  and  State- wide Educational Institutions for local candidates.  Mr. Rao submitted  that the impugned Notification of the Medical Council of India  cannot  be  given effect to in view of the Presidential Order made under Article 371D  of  the Constitution and the 1983 Act enacted in pursuance of the said Order.

82.     Mr. Rao submitted that if the Medical  Council  of  India  could  or should hold a National Eligibility-cum-Entrance  Test,  it  would  have  the effect of denuding the State  and  the  educational  institutions  of  their right to establish and administer educational institutions which  enjoy  the protection of Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26 and 30 of the Constitution.

83.     With regard to the State of Tamil Nadu  and  the  Deemed  University Association, Mr. Rao confined his submissions to Entry 25 of  List  III,  in relation to Entry 66 of List I.  Mr. Rao  reiterated  the  submissions  made earlier that the subject matter of Entry 66 of List I is  for  “coordination and determination of standards” in institutions  for  higher  education  and that the determination of standards also falls within Entry 25 of  List  III only when coordination and determination of  standards  are  dealt  together with the State enactment made subject to legislation under Entry 66 of  List I. Mr. Rao submitted that the denudation of the  legislative  power  of  the State Legislature could only be by plenary legislation made under  Entry  66 of List I read with Article 246 of the Constitution and not  by  subordinate legislation  which  renders  the  impugned  regulations  ultra   vires   the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution.

84.     While dealing with the aforesaid questions, Mr. Rao  also  submitted that the Notification contemplates the conducting of a common entrance  test for all the  dental  colleges  throughout  India,  without  considering  the different streams of education prevalent in India such as CBSE, ICSE,  State Boards, etc., prevailing in different States.  The  different  standards  of education  prevalent  in  different  States  had   not   been   taken   into consideration and in such  factual  background,  the  holding  of  a  Single Common Entrance Test for admission to the B.D.S. and the M.D.S.  courses  in all the dental  colleges  throughout  India,  would  lead  to  violation  of Article 14 of the  Constitution,  since  there  is  no  intelligible  object sought to be achieved by such amended regulations.

85.     Mr. Rao also questioned the provision made by  the  amendment  dated 15th  February,  2012,  to  the  Notification  dated  21st  December,  2010, reserving admission to Post-graduate Diploma Courses  for  Medical  Officers in  the  Government  Service,  who  acquired  30%  marks,  as  being  wholly unrelated to merit in the entrance examination and, therefore,  making  such reservation arbitrary and irrational.  Mr. Rao submitted that  there  is  no rationale  in  giving  this  benefit  only  to  whose  who  are  serving  in Government/public authorities with regard  to  service  in  remote/difficult areas.  Mr. Rao urged that the Government of  Tamil  Nadu  has  consistently opposed the proposal to apply the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test  to determine admission to different medical  colleges  and  institutions.   Mr. Rao submitted that when the Notification was first issued on 27th  December, 2010, the Government of Tamil Nadu  challenged  the  same  by  way  of  Writ Petition No. 342 of 2011 and in the  said  Writ  Petition,  the  High  Court stayed the operation of the Notification for UG  NEET  Entrance  Examination in so far as it related to the State of Tamil Nadu, and the  stay  continues to be in force.  Mr. Rao urged that in respect of Tamil Nadu there are  many constitutional issues, as Tamil Nadu had abolished the Common Entrance  Test based on the Tamil Nadu Admission in Professional  Educational  Institutions Act, 2006, which was given effect to after receiving the President’s  assent under Article 254(2) of the Constitution.

86.     Mr. Rao submitted that the introduction of NEET  by  virtue  of  the amended Regulations would run counter to the policy of the State  Government which has enacted the aforesaid Act by abolishing the  practice  of  holding an All India Entrance Test for admission to the professional courses in  the State.  Mr. Rao submitted that the decision regarding admission to the Post- graduate Medical and Dental Examinations would  be  the  same  as  that  for admission in Under-graduate courses.

87.     Mr. Rao contended that the MCI had  no  jurisdiction  to  issue  the impugned Notifications as the Council lacks  the  competence  to  amend  the State Act which had been enacted in 2006 and the validity whereof  has  been upheld by the High Court.  Mr. Rao repeated and reiterated  the  submissions earlier made with regard to  the  vires  of  the  impugned  Regulations  and prayed for proper directions to be issued to allow the State of  Tamil  Nadu to continue its existing system of  admission  to  both  Under-graduate  and Post-graduate  courses.

88.     Learned senior counsel, Mr.  R.  Venkataramani,  appearing  for  the Government of Puducherry, in T.C. No. 17 of 2013,  adopted  the  submissions made by  Mr.  Salve,  Mr.  Parasaran  and  Dr.  Dhawan.   Mr.  Venkataramani submitted that the Notifications,  whereby  the  impugned  Regulations  were sought to be introduced by the Medical Council of  India,  were  beyond  the scope of the powers conferred under Section 33 of the  1956  Act,  rendering them ultra vires and invalid. Mr. Venkataramani submitted that  the  failure of the MCI to consult the Government of Puducherry, as  was  required  under Sections 19A and 20 of the 1956 Act, before  amending  the  Regulations  and notifying the same, rendered  the  same  invalid.   Mr.  Venkataramani  also reiterated the submission made earlier that there are different  streams  of education  prevailing  in  different  States,  having   different   syllabi, curriculum, Board of Examinations and awarding of  marks  and  it  would  be unreasonable to conduct  a  single  examination  by  taking  recourse  to  a particular stream of education which would  have  the  effect  of  depriving effective participation of other students educated in different streams.

89.     Mr. Venkataramani submitted that this Court  had  consistently  held that  unaided  educational  institutions  are  free  to  devise  their   own admission procedures and that the impugned Regulations were  against  social justice and would impinge on the rights of unaided educational  institutions as well as the institutions enjoying the protection of  Article  30  of  the Constitution in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

90.     Appearing for the Karnataka Private  Medical  and  Dental  Colleges’ Association consisting of Minority and Non-Minority private unaided  Medical Colleges and educational institutions in the State of  Karnataka,  Mr.  K.K. Venugopal, learned Senior  Advocate,  submitted  that  the  Association  had filed several Writ Petitions before the  Karnataka  High  Court  challenging the validity of the Notifications dated 21.12.2010 and  5.2.2012,  by  which the Medical Council of India has attempted to foist a Common  Entrance  Test (NEET)  on  all  medical  institutions  in  the  country,  which  have  been transferred to  this  Court  for  consideration  along  with  other  similar matters where the issues were common.

91.     Mr. Venugopal reiterated that the imposition of  NEET  was  contrary to the decisions of this Court in the T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case  (supra) and in P.A. Inamdar’s case (supra). Mr. Venugopal contended that  the  right of the Members of the Association to carry on the business and  vocation  of imparting medical education had been upheld not only in  the  two  aforesaid cases, but also in the Islamic Academy of Education case (supra) and  in  T. Varghese George Vs. Kora K. George [(2012) 1 SCC 369], Society  for  Unaided Private  Schools  of  Rajasthan  case  (supra)  and  Rajan  Purohit’s   case (supra).

Mr. Venugopal urged that the aforesaid right has been based  on  the fact that a non-minority  professional  college  has  the  same  fundamental right which is also  possessed  by  a  minority  institution  under  Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, but  is  subject  to  reasonable  restrictions under Article 19(6) of the Constitution.

92.     Mr. Venugopal also voiced the issues common to all  these  cases  as to whether it would be open to the Government or the MCI, a creature of  the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, to regulate the admission of  students  to all medical colleges and institutions. Mr. Venugopal urged  that  since  the question had been troubling the Courts in the  country  for  a  considerable period of time, a Bench of Eleven (11) Judges was constituted to settle  the above issues and other connected issues and to put a quietus  to  the  same. The said Bench heard a number of matters in which the issue had been  raised and it delivered its verdict in what  is  referred  to  as  the  T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case  (supra),  answering  all  the  questions  raised.   Certain common issues contained in the judgment came up for consideration later  and were subsequently referred to a Bench of  Seven  Judges  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s case (supra) where the issue was finally put to rest.

93.     Mr. Venugopal firmly urged that in dealing with  the  issues  raised in these matters, none of the decisions rendered by this Court in  the  past were required  to  be  re-opened  and  the  said  issues  will  have  to  be considered and decided by  this  Court  by  merely  testing  their  validity against the  ratio  of  the  earlier  judgments,  and,  in  particular,  the decision in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra).

94.     Mr. Venugopal’s next submission was with regard  to  the  provisions of  the  Karnataka  Professional  Educational  Institutions  (Regulation  of Admission and Fixation of Fee) (Special Provisions) Act,  2011,  hereinafter referred to as the  “Karnataka  Act  of  2011″,      which  provides  for  a consensual arrangement between  the  State  Government  and  the  Petitioner Association for filling up the seats in the unaided medical  colleges  being taken over by the State Government to the extent  agreed  upon  between  the parties.  The said Act also regulates  the  fees  to  be  charged  in  these private institutions. Mr. Venugopal urged that the said Act still holds  the field, since its  validity  has  not  been  challenged.  As  a  result,  the impugned Regulation, now made by the Medical Council of  India,  purportedly under Section 33 of the 1956 Act, cannot prevail over  the  State  law.  Mr. Venugopal submitted that the impugned  Regulations  are,  therefore,  of  no effect in the State of Karnataka.

95. Mr. Venugopal also urged that having regard  to  the  decision  of  this Court in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case  (supra)  and  the  other  decisions referred to hereinabove, the  impugned  Notifications  imposing  NEET  as  a special vehicle for admission into medical colleges denuding the  State  and the private medical institutions from regulating their own  procedure,  must be held to be ultra vires Section 33 of the 1956 Act.

96. Mr. Venugopal reiterated the submissions made on  behalf  of  the  other Petitioners and concluded on the observations made in  paragraph  3  of  the decision of this Court in State of Karnataka Vs. Dr. T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation & Ors.  [(2003)  6  SCC  790],  which  made  it  clear  that  all  statutory enactments, orders,  schemes,  regulations  would  have  to  be  brought  in conformity with the decision of the Constitution Bench  in  the  T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra), decided on  31.10.2002.   Mr.  Venugopal  submitted that it, therefore, follows that the Regulations of 2000, 2010 and 2012,  to the extent that they are inconsistent with the decision in the   T.M.A.  Pai Foundation case (supra), would be void and would have to be struck down.

97. Mr. G.S. Kannur, learned  Advocate,  who  appeared  in  support  of  the application for intervention, being I.A. No.3, in Transferred Case  No.3  of 2013, repeated the submissions made by Mr. K. Parasaran, Dr. Dhawan and  Mr. L. Nageshwar Rao, that the existence  of  various  Boards  in  a  particular State is bound  to  cause  inequality   and  discrimination  if  the  Common Entrance Test was introduced as the only criteria  for  admission  into  any medical college or institution in the country.

98. Appearing for the Christian Medical College  Ludhiana  Society  and  the medical institutions being run by it, Mr. V. Giri, learned Senior  Advocate, reiterated the submissions made by  Mr.  Harish  Salve,  on  behalf  of  the Christian Medical College Vellore Association, but added a new dimension  to the submissions made by submitting that the impugned  Regulations  had  been issued by the Board of Governors, which had been in office pursuant  to  the supersession of the Medical Council, under Section 3A of the 1956 Act.   Mr. Giri submitted that the Board of Governors, which was only an  ad  hoc  body brought into existence to exercise the powers and perform the  functions  of the Council under the Act pending its reconstitution, was not  competent  as an Ad hoc body to exercise the delegated legislative power under Section  33 of the said Act and to discharge the  functions of the Medical  Council,  as contemplated under Section 3 of the 1956 Act.

99.  Mr. Giri urged that though Section 33 of the 1956 Act confers power  on the Medical Council of India to make Regulations generally for carrying  out the purposes of the Act, it also enumerates the different functions  of  the Council and its powers and duties which are  referable  to  the  substantial provisions of the Act itself.  Learned counsel pointed out that  clause  (l) deals with  the  conduct  of  professional  examinations,  qualification  of examiners and conditions of admission to such examinations. Mr.  Giri  urged that Sections 16 to 18 of the above Act deals  with  the  substantive  power available to the Medical Council of India to require of every University  or Medical Institution information as to the courses of study and  examinations and if necessary, to take steps for inspecting the  same.  Accordingly,  the Regulation-making power contemplated under Section 33 of  the  1956  Act  is referable to the substantive functions  to  be  discharged  by  the  Council under Sections 16 to 18 of the Act.  Mr. Giri contended  that  no  provision in  the  Act  contemplates  that  the  Council  may  actually  conduct   the examinations.  Relying on the views expressed in the T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation case (supra), Mr. Giri urged that the impugned Regulations  were  in  direct violation of the rights guaranteed to a  minority  educational  institutions under Article 19(1)(g) read with Articles  25,  26,  29(1)  and  30  of  the Constitution.

100.  Mr. Giri submitted that  the  Petitioner  is  a  minority  educational institution admitting students  from  the  minority  community  in  a  fair, transparent and non-exploitative  manner,  based  on  inter  se  merit,  and cannot be subjected to the NEET for the purposes of admission to the  Under- graduate MBBS and  Post-graduate  degrees  in  medicine.  Reemphasising  Mr. Salve’s submissions,  Mr.  Giri  submitted  that  the  activity  of  running medical, allied health sciences and nursing  courses,  in  order  to  ensure constant supply of doctors and other para-medical  staff  to  the  hospitals and other facilities engaged in the healing of the sick, are  acts  done  in furtherance of the  Petitioner’s  religious  faith,  which  stand  protected under Articles 25, 26 and 30 of the Constitution.

101.  Mr. Giri submitted that the Government of Punjab,  in  its  Department of   Medical   Education   and   Research,   vide   its   Notification   No. 5/7/07.3HBITI/2457 dated 21.05.2007, for admission to MBBS,  BDS,  BAMS  and BHMS courses and vide Notification No. 5/8/2007-3HB3/1334 dated  21.03.2007, for admission in Post-graduate Degree/  Diploma  courses  in  the  State  of Punjab,  excluded  the  Christian  Medical  College  and  Christian   Dental College, Ludhiana, from  the  admission  process  conducted  by  Baba  Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, on behalf of the  State  Government for various Under-graduate and Post-graduate  Medical  Degree  courses.  Mr. Giri  submitted  that  the  impugned  Regulations,  being  ultra  vires  the provisions of Articles 19(1)(g) and Articles 25, 26, 29(1)  and  30  of  the Constitution, having been promulgated by an ad hoc body, were liable  to  be struck down.

102. Mr. K. Radhakrishnan, learned Senior Advocate, appeared for the  Annoor Dental College and Hospital, situated in the State of  Kerala,  adopted  the submissions made by  the  other  counsel  and  urged  that  the  submissions advanced, as far as medical colleges and institutions are  concerned,  apply equally to dental colleges, which are under  the  authority  of  the  Dental Council  of  India  and  is  governed  by  the  Dentists  Act,   1948.   Mr. Radhakrishnan submitted that the impugned Regulations were also ultra  vires the Dentists Act, 1948, Section 20 whereof empowers the  Dental  Council  of India to prescribe conditions for admission to the courses for  training  of dentists and dental hygienists, but does not authorize  the  Dental  Council of India or any agency appointed  by  it  to  conduct  admission  tests  for selection of students for the BDS and MDS courses.  Mr.  Radhakrishnan  also urged that the impugned Regulations which attempted to  enforce  NEET,  were ultra vires the provisions of the Dentists Act, 1948, as also  the  relevant provisions of the Constitution and  are,  therefore,  liable  to  be  struck down.

103. Transferred Case No.8  of  2013  which  arises  out  of  Writ  Petition No.5939 (M/S) of 2012, was  filed  by  the  U.P.  Unaided  Medical  Colleges Welfare Association and Others.  Appearing for  the  said  Association,  Mr. Guru Krishnakumar, learned Senior Advocate, while adopting  the  submissions already made, reiterated that the functional autonomy of  institutes  is  an integral right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution,  as  clearly  set out in the decision rendered in the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case  (supra). Learned Senior counsel  submitted  that  the  fundamental  right  guaranteed under  Article  19(1)(g)  includes  the  right  to  admit  students  in  the privately  run  professional  colleges,  including   medical,   dental   and engineering colleges, and viewed from any angle,  the  impugned  Regulations were impracticable, besides causing violence  to  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the Constitution. Mr. Guru Krishnakumar submitted that the impugned  Regulations and the Notifications promulgating the same, were liable to be struck down.

104. Mr. C.S.N. Mohan Rao, learned  Advocate,  who  appeared  for  the  Writ Petitioner, Vigyan Bharti Charitable Trust in Writ  Petition  (C)  No.15  of 2013, submitted that  the  Petitioner  was  a  registered  charitable  trust running two medical colleges and a dental college in the  State  of  Odisha. The  various  submissions  made  by  Mr.  Rao  were  a  repetition  of   the submissions already made by Mr. Harish Salve and others.  Mr. Rao,  however, referred to a Two-Judge Bench decision of this Court  in  Dr.  Dinesh  Kumar Vs. Motilal Nehru Medical Colleges, Allahabad & Ors.  [(1985)  3  SCC  727], wherein, while considering the question of  admission  to  medical  colleges and the All India Entrance Examination, it was, inter  alia,  held  that  it should be left to the  different  States  to  either  adopt  or  reject  the National Eligibility Entrance Test proposed to be conducted by  the  Medical Council of India. Mr. Rao submitted that as stated  by  Justice  V.  Krishna Iyer in the case of Jagdish Sharan & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors.  [(1980) 2 SCC 768], merit cannot be measured in terms  of  marks  alone,  but  human sympathies are equally important.  The heart is as  much  a  factor  as  the head in assessing the social value of a member of  the  medical  profession.

105.      In Writ Petition (Civil) No.535 of  2012,  Saveetha  Institute  of Medical and Technical Sciences, a Deemed University, declared as such  under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, has questioned  the impugned Notifications and the amended Clauses of  the  MCI  Regulations  on the same grounds as in the earlier cases.   Mr. Jayanth  Muth  Raj,  learned Advocate  appearing  for  the  Petitioner,  repeated  and   reiterated   the submissions made earlier in regard to the law as laid  down  in  the  T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra) and in P.A. Inamdar’s  case  (supra)  and  urged that the  impugned  Notifications  had  been  issued  in  violation  of  the decisions rendered in the said two  cases  and  in  other  subsequent  cases indicating that  private  institutions  had  the  right  to  evaluate  their admission procedure based  on principles of fairness, transparency and  non- exploitation.    Mr.  Muth  Raj  submitted  that  in  the  absence  of   any consensual arrangement in the case of the Petitioner, the MCI or the  Dental Council of India could not compel the  Petitioner  to  accept  the  National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test on the  basis  of  the  impugned  Regulations. Learned  counsel  submitted  that  to  that  extent,  the  impugned  amended Regulations and the Notifications issued to  enforce  the  same  were  ultra vires Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 26 of the Constitution and  were  liable  to be struck down.

106.     Writ Petition (Civil) No.495 of 2012 and Transfered Case No.108  of 2012 involve common questions regarding the conducting of  NEET  in  English and Hindi in the State of Gujarat, where the medium  of  instructions  under the Gujarat Board of Secondary Education is Gujarati. The  submissions  made both on the behalf of the Petitioners and the State of Gujarat were ad  idem to the extent that Entry 66 of List I restricts the  legislative  powers  of the Central Government to “co-ordination and determination of  standards  of education”.  Thus, as long as the Common Entrance Examination  held  by  the State or the other private institutions did not impinge upon  the  standards laid down by Parliament, it is the State which can, in terms of Entry 25  of List III, prescribe such a Common  Entrance  Test  in  the  absence  of  any Central Legislation relatable to Entry 25 of List  III.  Mr.  K.K.  Trivedi, learned Advocate, appearing for the Petitioners submitted that the  impugned Regulations and Notifications were, ultra vires Section 33 of the 1956  Act, since prescribing a Common Entrance Test is not one of the  stated  purposes of the Act and were, therefore, liable to be struck down.

107.      Appearing for the Medical Council of  India,  Mr.  Nidhesh  Gupta, learned Senior Advocate, submitted that the Medical Council  of  India  Act, 1956, is traceable to Entry 66 of List I, as was held in MCI  Vs.  State  of Karnataka [(1998) 6 SCC 131].  In paragraph 24 of the said decision  it  was categorically indicated that the Indian Medical Council Act being  relatable to Entry 66 of List I, prevails over any State enactment to the  extent  the State enactment is repugnant to the provisions of the Act, even  though  the State Acts may be relatable to Entry 25 or 26 of the Concurrent List.

108.      Mr. Gupta submitted that Entry 66 in List I empowers  the  Central Government to enact laws for coordination and determination of standards  in institutions for higher education or research and scientific  and  technical institutions. Learned counsel also  urged  that  Section  19-A  (1)  of  the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, provides that the  Council  may  prescribe the minimum standards of medical education required for granting  recognised medical qualifications (other than postgraduate medical  qualifications)  by universities or medical institutions in India.   Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that Section 20 relating to post-graduate medical education could also  prescribe similar standards of Postgraduate Medical  Education  for  the  guidance  of Universities.  Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that  Section  33  of  the  1956  Act, empowers the Medical Council of India, with the  previous  approval  of  the Central Government to make Regulations, and provides that  the  Council  may make Regulations generally to carry  out  the  purposes  of  the  Act,  and, without prejudice to the generality of  this  power,  such  Regulations  may provide for “any other matter for which under the Act provision may be  made by Regulations”.  Mr. Gupta urged that it  is  the  accepted  position  that standards of education are to be  determined  by  the  MCI.   The  questions which have been  posed  on  behalf  of  the  Petitioners  in  these  various matters, challenging the vires of the Regulations, are whether the power  of determination of standards of education includes the power to  regulate  the admission process and determine the  admission  criteria,  and  whether  the determination of standards of education also include the  power  to  conduct the examinations.

109.      Responding to the two questions, Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that  once the 1997 Regulations were accepted  by  the  various  Medical  Colleges  and Institutions as being in accordance with law and  the  powers  vested  under Entry 66 of List  I,  the  first  issue  stands  conceded,  since  the  1997 Regulations prescribing the eligibility criteria for  admission  in  medical courses had been accepted and acted upon by  the  medical  institutions.  In addition to the above, Mr. Gupta contended that Section 33(l)  of  the  1956 Act vested the MCI with powers to  frame  regulations  to  provide  for  the conduct of professional examinations, qualifications of  examiners  and  the conditions of admission to such  examinations.  Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that, under the said provision, it can be said that the MCI was within its  rights to conduct the NEET and stipulate the qualifications of  examiners  and  the conditions of admission to such examinations.

110. Mr. Gupta submitted that it would be incorrect to  say  that  standards of education can have no direct impact  on  norms  of  admission.    Learned senior counsel pointed out that in paragraph 36 of the  judgment  in  Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra), it had  been  indicated  that  the  standards  of education  are  impacted  by  the  caliber  of  students  admitted  to   the institution  and  that  the  process  of  selection  and  the  criteria  for selection  of  candidates  has  an  impact  on  the  standards  of   medical education. Mr. Gupta submitted that the views expressed  by  this  Court  in the decisions rendered in Nivedita Jain’s case  (supra)  and  that  of  Ajay Kumar Singh’s case (supra), which had taken a contrary view, were  overruled  in Preeti  Srivastava’s  case  (supra).   Mr.  Gupta  also  relied  on  the decision of this Court in Bharati Vidyapeeth (Deemed  University)  and  Ors. Vs. State  of  Maharashtra  &  Anr.  [(2004)  11  SCC  755],  wherein  while following  the  decision  in  Preeti  Srivastava’s  case  (supra),  it   was reiterated  that  prescribing  standards  would  include  the   process   of admission.  Mr. Gupta submitted that  the  said  decision  had,  thereafter, been followed in Prof. Yashpal Vs.  State  of  Chhattisgarh  [(2005)  5  SCC 420]; State of M.P. Vs. Gopal D. Teerthani [(2003) 7 SCC 83],  Harish  Verma Vs. Rajesh Srivastava [(2003) 8 SCC 69] and in Medical Council of India  Vs. Rama Medical College Hospital & Research Centre [(2012) 8 SCC 80].   Learned senior counsel urged that the expression “standard”  used  in  Entry  66  of List I has been  given  a  very  wide  meaning  by  this  Court  in  Gujarat University, Ahemadabad Vs. Krishna Ranganath Mudholkar [(1963) Supp.  1  SCR 112] and accordingly anything concerned with standards  of  education  would be included within Entry 66 of List I and would be  deemed  to  be  excluded from other Lists.  Mr. Gupta also  placed  reliance  on  MCI  Vs.  State  of Karnataka [1998 (6) SCC 131], wherein it was held that it  was  settled  law that while considering the amplitude of the entries in Schedule VII  of  the Constitution, the widest amplitude is to be given to the  language  of  such Entries. Mr. Gupta urged that  without  prejudice  to  the  contention  that Entry  66  of  List  I  directly  permits  the  admission  process  and  the examination itself being regulated and/or conducted by the MCI, even if  the Entries did not directly so permit, the MCI was  entitled  to  regulate  the said functions since even matters which are  not  directly  covered  by  the Entries, but are ancillary thereto, can be regulated.  Mr.  Gupta  submitted that in Krishna Ranganath Mudholkar’s case (supra), it was held  that  power to legislate on  a  subject  should  normally  be  held  to  extend  to  all ancillary or subsidiary matters, which can fairly and reasonably be said  to be comprehended in that subject.  Reference was also made to  the  decisions of this Court in Harakchand Ratanchand Banthia Vs. Union of India [(1969)  2 SCC 166]; ITC Vs. Agricultural Produce Market Committee [(2002) 9 SCC  232]; and Banarasi Dass Vs. WTO [1965 (2) SCR 355],  wherein  the  same  principle has been reiterated.  Mr. Gupta  submitted  that  Regulations  validly  made become a part of the Statute itself, as was indicated  in  State  of  Punjab Vs. Devans Modern Breweries Ltd. [(2004) 11 SCC  26];  Annamalai  University Vs.  Information  &  Tourism  Department  [(2009)  4  SCC  590]  U.P.  Power Corporation Vs. NTPC Ltd. [(2009) 6 SCC 235]  and  the  St.  Johns  Teachers Training  Institute  case  (supra).   According  to  Mr.  Gupta,  the   NEET Regulations having been validly made and  the  requisite  legislation  being available in  Sections 19A, 20 and 23 of the  Indian  Medical  Council  Act, 1956, the NEET Regulations must be deemed to be part of the Act itself.

111.     Regarding the MCI’s power to conduct  the  NEET,  Mr.  Gupta  urged that once it had been held in Preeti  Srivastava’s  case  (supra)  that  the standard of education is impacted by the process of selection, the power  to determine the said process of selection is implicit.   In  fact,  Mr.  Gupta submitted that the aforesaid question stands concluded by  the  judgment  of this  Court  in  Veterinary  Council  of  India  Vs.   Indian   Council   of Agricultural Research [(2000) 1 SCC 750], wherein,   while  considering  the provisions of the Veterinary Council of India Act which were materially  the same as those of the Indian Medical Council Act, it was held relying on  the judgment in Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra) that the Veterinary Council  of India was competent to and had the requisite powers to hold  the  All  India Entrance Examination.

112.  Mr.  Gupta  urged  that  this  Court  had  repeatedly  emphasised  how profiteering and capitation fee and  other  malpractices  have  entered  the field of  medical  admissions,  which  adversely  affect  the  standards  of education in the country. Such  malpractices  strike  at  the  core  of  the admission process and if allowed to continue, the admission process will  be reduced to a farce.  It was to put an end to such malpractices that the  MCI introduced NEET and was within its powers to do so.

113.  On  the  necessity  of  furnishing  draft  Regulations  to  the  State Governments, as stipulated under Section 19A(2)  and  for  Committees  under Section 20, Mr. Gupta urged that the  same  was  merely  directory  and  not mandatory.  Referring to the decision of this Court in  State  of  U.P.  Vs. Manbodhan Lal Srivastava [1958 SCR  533],  learned  counsel  submitted  that this Court while  considering  the  provisions  of  Article  320(3)  of  the Constitution, which provides for consultation with the Union Public  Service Commission or the State  Public  Service  Commission,  held  that  the  said requirement in the Constitution was  merely  directory  and  not  mandatory. Drawing a parallel to the facts of the said  case  with  the  facts  of  the present set of cases, Mr. Gupta urged that the provisions of Section  19A(2) must be held to be directory and not mandatory and its non-compliance  could not adversely affect the amended Regulations and  the  Notifications  issued in pursuance thereof.

Mr. Gupta submitted that before amending the Regulations,  detailed interaction had been  undertaken  with  the  State  Governments  at  various stages.  Learned counsel  submitted  that  as  far  back  as  on  14.9.2009, 5.2.2010  and  4.8.2010,  letters  had  been  written   to   various   State Governments and the responses received were  considered.  There  were  joint meetings between the various State representatives and the  other  concerned parties and the concerns  of  most  of  the  State  Governments  were  fully addressed.

114.      On the question of federalism and the powers of  the  State  under Article 254 of the Constitution, Mr. Gupta  contended  that  since  the  MCI derived its authority from Entry 66 of List I, it  is  a  subject  which  is exclusively within the domain of the Union.  Mr. Gupta  submitted  that  all the arguments advanced on behalf of the Petitioners were  on  the  erroneous assumption that the Regulations had been made under Entry 25  of  List  III. Mr. Gupta pointed out that  in  paragraph  52  of  the  judgment  in  Preeti Srivastava’s  case  (supra),  this  Court  had  held   that   the   impugned Regulations had been framed under Entry 66, List I and that the  Regulations framed by the MCI are binding and the States cannot in  exercise  of  powers under Entry 25 of List III make Rules and Regulations which are in  conflict with or adversely impinge upon the Regulations framed by the MCI  for  Post- graduate medical education.  Mr. Gupta urged that since the  standards  laid down by the MCI are in exercise of powers conferred by Entry 66 of  List  I, the same would prevail over all State laws on the same subject.

115.     Mr. Gupta also urged that the ratio  of  Lavu  Narendranath’s  case (supra) had  been  misunderstood  on  behalf  of  the  Petitioners  and  the arguments raised on behalf of Yenepoya University was  based  on  the  ratio that Entry 66 of List I is not relatable to a screening test  prescribed  by the Government or by a University for selection of students from  out  of  a large number applying for admission to a particular course  of  study.   Mr. Gupta pointed out that the ratio of  the  decision  in  Preeti  Srivastava’s case  (supra)  and  in  Lavu  Narendranath’s  case  (supra)  show  that  the Government which ran the colleges had the right to make a selection  out  of a large number of candidates and for this purpose  they  could  prescribe  a test of their own which was not contrary to any law.  It was urged  that  in the said case, there was no Central legislation occupying  the  field.   Mr. Gupta urged that NEET is not a mere screening test, but an eligibility  test which forms the basis of selection.   Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that  any  test which might be prescribed by a State Government would be against the law  in the present case, being in the teeth of the NEET Regulations.

116.     With regard to the submissions  made  on  behalf  of  the  minority institutions enjoying the protection of  Article  30,  Mr.  Gupta  contended that reliance placed on behalf of CMC,  Vellore,  on  the  judgment  in  the Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society Vs. State of Gujarat  [(1974)  1  SCC 717], was entirely misplaced, and, in fact, the  said  judgment  supports  a test such as NEET.  Mr. Gupta submitted that on a  proper  analysis  of  the said judgment and in particular the  judgment  delivered  by  Chief  Justice Ray, (as His Lordship then was), it would be evident that even in  the  said judgment the right of religious and linguistic minorities to  establish  and administer educational institutions of the  choice  of  the  minorities  had been duly recognised.  Chief Justice Ray also observed that if the scope  of Article 30(1) is made an extension of the right under  Article  29(1)  as  a right to  establish  and  administer  educational  institutions  for  giving religious  instruction  or  for  imparting  education  in  their   religious teachings or tenets, the fundamental right of minorities  to  establish  and administer educational institutions of their choice  would  be  taken  away. It was also observed in the judgment that every section of the  public,  the majority as  well  as  minority,  has  rights  in  respect  of  religion  as contemplated in Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.    Mr.  Gupta  urged that the whole object of conferring the right on  minorities  under  Article 30 is to ensure that there would be equality between the  majority  and  the minority. It was urged that it is for the  aforesaid  reason  that  whenever the majority community conferred upon itself a special power to overrule  or interfere  with  the  administration  and   management   of   the   minority institutions, the Supreme Court struck  down  the  said  power.   Mr.  Gupta submitted that whenever an attempt was made to  interfere  with  the  rights guaranteed to religious and linguistic minorities, as in  the  St.  Xavier’s case (supra),  the same being arbitrary and unreasonable, was  struck  down. Reliance was also placed on the decision in  the  case  of  Rev.  Father  W. Proost, and in the case of  Rt. Rev. Bishop S.K. Patro, where  the  impugned order of the Secretary to the Government dated 22nd  May,  1967,  set  aside the order passed by the President of the Board of Secondary Education.   Mr. Gupta urged that in the very initial  stage  of  judicial  consideration  in these matters,  in State of Kerala Vs. Very Rev. Mother  Provincial  [(1970) 2 SCC 417], the impugned provisions required nominees of the University  and the Government to be included in the  Governing  Body.   The  same  being  a direct infringement on  the  rights  of  the  minorities  to  establish  and administer institutions of their choice, the impugned provision  was  struck down.

117.     Mr. Gupta submitted  that  in  each  of  the  aforesaid  cases,  an attempt was made by the majority to take over the management and  to  impose its substantive views. Learned counsel submitted that NEET does  nothing  of the sort, since it did not infringe any  of  the  rights  guaranteed  either under Article 19(1)(g) or Articles 25, 26, 29 and 30  of  the  Constitution. Mr. Gupta  urged  that  the  various  questions  raised  on  behalf  of  the Petitioners herein have been fully answered in P.A. Inamdar’s case  (supra).  They also meet the tests prescribed in the St.  Xavier’s  case  (supra)  as well. Mr. Gupta urged that Justice Khanna in paragraph 105 of  the  judgment observed that Regulations which are calculated to  safeguard  the  interests of teachers would result in security of tenure and would  attract  competent persons for the posts of teachers and are, therefore,  in  the  interest  of minority educational institutions, and would not violate  Article  30(1)  of the Constitution.  Mr. Gupta urged that by the same  reasoning,  Regulations which are in the  interest  of  the  students  and  will  attract  the  most meritorious students, are  necessarily  in  the  interest  of  the  minority institutions and do not,  therefore,  violate  their  rights  under  Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

118. Mr. Gupta submitted that in the  St.  Xavier’s  case  (supra),  Justice Khanna  had  indicated  in  his  separate  judgment  the   dual   tests   of reasonableness and  of  making  the  institution  an  effective  vehicle  of education for the minority community and  others  who  resort  to  it.   Mr. Gupta submitted that  NEET  meets  the  test  of  reasonableness  and  fully assists in making the institution an effective vehicle of  education,  since it ensures admission for the most meritorious students and also negates  any possibility of admissions being made for reasons  other  than  merit  within each category.  Mr. Gupta submitted that, in fact, in paragraph  92  of  the judgment, Justice Khanna had observed that “a regulation which  is  designed to prevent maladministration of an educational institution  cannot  be  said to offend Clause (1) of Article 30″.    Mr. Gupta  re-emphasized  that  NEET was not in any way against the rights vested  in  educational  institutions, being run by the minorities, but it was in the interest of  such  minorities to have their most meritorious students in the best institutes.

119.     Dealing with the  various  tests  referred  to  on  behalf  of  the Petitioners in the different cases, Mr. Gupta submitted that  the  ratio  in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra) also supports the  NEET  Regulations. Mr. Gupta contended  that  the  right  of  minority  institutions  to  admit students was not being denied, inasmuch as, the concerned  institutes  could admit students of their own community,  but  from  the  list  of  successful candidates who appear for  the  NEET.   Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that  in  the aforesaid judgment it was also observed that merit is usually determined  by a  common  entrance  test  conducted  by  the  institution  or  in  case  of professional colleges, by government agencies.  Mr. Gupta submitted that  it had also been emphasized that Regulations in national interest are to  apply to  all  educational  institutions,  whether  run  by  a  minority  or  non- minorities and that an exception to the right under Article 30 is the  power of the  State  to  regulate  education,  educational  standards  and  allied matters. Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that  in  the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case (supra), it  had  been  indicated  that  regulatory  measures  for  ensuring educational standards and maintaining excellence thereof are no anathema  to the protection conferred by Article 30(1).

120.     Mr. Gupta submitted that the admission  process  followed  by  CMC, Vellore, failed to meet any  of  the  tests  relating  to  transparency  and fairness and lack of arbitrariness.  Mr. Gupta  pointed  out  that,  in  the case of a candidate for admission in  the  Under-graduate  or  Post-graduate courses in the said institution, a candidate cannot be  selected  unless  he is  sponsored  by  the  Diocese  and  the  competition  is  limited  to  the particular candidates, who had  been  sponsored  by  a  particular  Diocese, which Mr. Gupta submitted is violative of Article  14  of  the  Constitution and also the principles of merit.

Mr. Gupta urged that as far as the application of  Articles  25  and 26  of  the  Constitution  in  matters   relating   to   establishment   and administration of educational institutions is concerned, the same has to  be read in relation to matters  of  religion  and  with  respect  to  religious practices which form an essential and integral part  of  religion.   Learned counsel submitted that the rights protected under Articles  25  and  26  are available to individuals and not to organized bodies, such as CMC,  Vellore, or other minority run institutions, as  had  been  held  by  this  Court  in Sardar Vs. State of  Bombay  [1962  Supp.  (2)  SCR  496],  wherein  it  was observed that the right guaranteed by Article 25  is  an  individual  right. The said view was subsequently endorsed in Sri Sri Sri Lakshmana  Yatendrulu Vs. State of A.P. [(196) 8 SCC  705].   Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that,  having regard to the above, the various  associations  and  minorities,  which  had challenged the impugned Regulations, were not entitled to do  so  and  their applications were liable to be dismissed.

121.     Mr. Gupta submitted  that  the  impugned  Regulations  would  apply equally to “Deemed Universities”, declared to be so under Section 3  of  the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, hereinafter referred to as the  “UGC Act”, since it cannot be argued that the Deemed University will  not  follow any rules at all.  Mr. Gupta pointed out that in  the  Bharati  Vidyapeeth’s case  (supra),  this  Court  had  held  that  the  standards  prescribed  by statutory authorities, such as the Medical Council  of  India,  governed  by Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule  to  the  Constitution,  must  be applied, particularly when the Deemed Universities seek recognition  of  the medical courses taught by them, under the provisions of the 1956  Act.   Mr. Gupta submitted that the Deemed Universities  cannot  take  the  benefit  of recognition under the 1956 Act, but refuse to follow  the  norms  prescribed therein.

Mr. Gupta pointed out that it  had  inter  alia  been  indicated  in paragraph 24 of the affidavit filed on behalf of  the  Commission  that  the Commission was also of the view that all the  constituent  medical  colleges of “Deemed Universities” may be asked to comply with the Notification  dated 21.12.2010, issued by the Medical Council of India, in view of  Article  6.1 in the UGC (Institutions  Deemed  to  be  Universities)  Regulations,  2010, which states that:            “Admission of students to all deemed to be universities,  public            or private, shall be made strictly on  merit  based  on  an  All            India examination  as  prescribed  by  the  Regulations  and  in            consistence with the national policy in this behalf,  from  time            to time.”

122.     On the percentile system of grading, which had  been  touched  upon by Dr. Dhawan, it was submitted that the said  system  of  ranking/  grading was being followed internationally  in  many  of  the  premier  institutions around the globe.

123.      Adverting to the submissions made by Mr.  L.  Nageshwara  Rao,  on behalf of the States  of  Andhra  Pradesh  and  Tamil  Nadu,  regarding  the enactment of the A.P. Educational  Institutions  (Regulation  of  Admissions and  Prohibition  of  Capitation  Fee)  Act,  1983,  on  the  basis  of  the Presidential Order dated 10th May, 1979, made under  Article  371-D  of  the Constitution, Mr. Gupta submitted that neither  the  said  Article  nor  the Presidential Order was concerned with  standards  of  education.  Mr.  Gupta urged that a reading of Sub-clause (1) of Article 371-D of the  Constitution makes it clear that it confers powers on the  President  to  make  an  Order with regard to the State of Andhra Pradesh “for equitable opportunities  and facilities for the people  belonging  to  different  parts  of  the  State”. Mr. Gupta urged  that  the  State  legislation  providing  for  State  level entrance examination is not relatable to Article 371-D  and,  as  such,  the State legislation had to yield to the Union  legislation,  which  Mr.  Gupta urged had been the consistent view taken in Govt. of A.P. Vs.  Mohd.  Ghouse Mohinuddin [(2001) 8 SCC 416]; V. Jaganadha Rao Vs. State  of  A.P.  [(2001) 10 SCC 401]; and NTR University of Health  Sciences  Vs.  G.  Babu  Rajendra Prasad [(2003) 5 SCC 350].

124.      As to the weightage of marks being given up to a maximum  of  30%, to government servants serving in remote areas,  Mr.  Gupta  said  that  the same had been upheld by this Court in State of M.P. Vs.  Gopal  D.  Tirthani [(2003) 7 SCC 83].

125.            Replying to the submissions made on behalf of  some  of  the other Petitioners and, in particular, on behalf  of  the  Christian  Medical College, Ludhiana, in Writ Petition No. 20 of 2012,  Mr.  Gupta  urged  that Section 3B of the 1956 Act empowers the Board of Governors to  exercise  the powers and discharge the functions of the Council and, accordingly, even  if the appointment of the members of the Board  of  Governors  was  ad  hoc  in nature,  it  made  no  difference  to  their  working  and  discharging  the functions of the Council.

126.            Mr. Gupta  urged  that  private  bodies  and  religious  and linguistic minorities have a fundamental right to establish  and  administer medical institutions or other institutions of their  choice  under  Articles 19(1)(g) and 30 of the Constitution, but such right was not  unfettered  and did not include the right  to  maladminister  the  respective  institutions. Learned counsel urged that in the name of protection under Articles  25,  26 and 30 of the Constitution, an institution run by a religious or  linguistic minority did not have the right to lower the standards of education  set  by the Medical Council of India or to recruit  staff,  who  were  not  properly qualified, or to deprive the students of  the  necessary  infrastructure  to run such courses.  Accordingly, the MCI was within its jurisdiction  to  lay down proper standards and to also conduct an All-India Entrance  Examination to eliminate any possibility of  malpractice.   Mr.  Gupta  urged  that  the several  Writ  Petitions  filed  on  behalf  of  both  States  and   private individuals and religious and linguistic minorities are,  therefore,  liable to be dismissed with appropriate costs.

127.       Mr.  Sidharth  Luthra,  learned  Additional  Solicitor   General, appearing for the Union of India, in  the  Ministry  of  Health  and  Family Welfare, at the very  outset,  submitted  that  the  Union  of  India  fully supported the  stand  of  the  MCI.  Mr.  Luthra  urged  that  the  impugned Notifications amending the Regulations in  regard  to  the  introduction  of NEET  for  both  graduate  medical  education  and   post-graduate   medical education had been validly made under powers conferred upon  the  MCI  under Section 33 of the 1956 Act, upon obtaining  the  previous  sanction  of  the Central  Government,  as  required  under  the  said  Section.  Mr.   Luthra submitted that there was  a  definite  rationale  behind  holding  a  single examination.  The learned ASG urged  that  the  NEET  Regulations  had  been framed by the MCI, after due deliberations with the Central Government  and, broadly speaking, the logic behind enacting the  said  Regulations  were  to introduce uniformity of standards, merit and transparency and to lessen  the hardship of aspiring students.  Mr. Luthra  urged  that  the  NEET  and  the amending Regulations, which had been impugned, were not  ultra  vires  since the 1956 Act is relatable to Entry 66 of the Union List  and  prevails  over any State enactment, even though the State Acts may be  relatable  to  Entry 25 or 26 of the Concurrent List, to the extent the provisions of  the  State Acts were repugnant to the  Central  legislation.   Mr.  Luthra  urged  that Regulations framed under Section 33 of  the  1956  Act,  with  the  previous sanction of the Central Government,  have  statutory  status  and  the  said Regulations were framed to carry out the purposes of the said Act.

128.     Mr. Luthra repeated Mr. Gupta’s submission that the rights  of  the minorities preserved  under  Article  30  were  not  adversely  affected  or prejudiced in any  way,  as  had  been  explained  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s  case (supra).  The learned ASG submitted that NEET had  been  introduced  in  the national interest to ensure that meritorious students  did  not  suffer  the problem of appearing in multiple examinations conducted by various  agencies which also resulted in different standards  for  admission,  which  had  the effect of compromising merit.  Mr. Luthra urged that the earlier  system  of multiple examinations was neither  in  the  national  interest  nor  in  the interest of maintaining the standards  of  medical  education,  nor  did  it serve the interest of poor/middle class students who had  to  buy  forms  of several examinations and travel across the country  to  appear  in  multiple examinations.  It was urged that  any  Regulation  framed  in  the  national interest must necessarily apply to  all  educational  institutions,  whether run by the majority or the minority groups.  It was also urged that  such  a Regulation must necessarily be read into Article  30  of  the  Constitution. Mr. Luthra referred to the views expressed in that behalf in  Paragraph  107 of the judgment in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra). The  learned  ASG submitted that the amended Regulations do not  restrict  or  in  any  manner take away the rights of the minority institutions  under  Articles  19(1)(g) and 30 of the Constitution to admit students from their community.

129.  Mr. Luthra reiterated the submissions  made  by  Mr.  Gupta  that  the right conferred on the religious and  linguistic  minorities  to  administer educational institutions of their choice, is not an absolute right  and  may be regulated in certain special circumstances.

130.            The learned ASG  also  urged  that  the  merit  list  to  be published on the results of the NEET, will contain all the details  of  each candidate, including the State, category, minority status, caste and  tribal status in front of  his/her  name  and  rank  so  that  there  would  be  no hindrance  whatsoever  in  implementing  the  constitutional  principles  of reservation and minority rights and merit. Furthermore, the transparency  in the process of admission would also be fully achieved.

131.            On the question  of  different  mediums  of  instruction  in schools throughout the country, Mr. Luthra submitted  that  the  NEET  –  UG would be conducted in multiple languages, such as  English,  Hindi,  Telegu, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Bengali, and hence,  the  submissions made that NEET was  not  being  conducted  in  the  regional  languages,  is misleading.

132.            One other important aspect touched upon  by  Mr.  Luthra  is with regard to the syllabus for NEET, which  would  be  based  on  the  CBSE syllabus.  The learned ASG submitted that the syllabus  for  NEET  had  been prepared by the MCI, after obtaining feedback from different  stake-holders, including the National Board and State  Boards,  across  the  country.   Mr. Luthra submitted that the Regulations have been  amended  to  implement  the provisions of the Act so as to meet the difficulties, which had been  raised by some of the States.  The learned ASG submitted that the NEET  Regulations were clearly within the competence and jurisdiction of the  Medical  Council in the discharge of its obligations to carry out the purposes  of  the  Act, as had been enjoined in the  different  decisions  of  this  Court  and,  in particular, in Preeti Srivastava’s case (supra). The learned ASG urged  that the objections which had been sought to be taken on behalf  of  the  various Petitioners, including the State Governments, with regard to the holding  of the NEET examination,  were  wholly  misconceived  and  were  liable  to  be rejected.

133.     Various issues of singular importance,  some  of  which  have  been considered earlier, arise out of the  submissions  made  on  behalf  of  the respective  parties  questioning  the  vires  of  the  amended   regulations relating to Under-graduate and Post-graduate medical education, namely,

(i)      The validity of the MCI Regulations and the DCI Regulations        and the amendments effected therein with  regard  to  Under-graduate        and Post-graduate courses of medicine in medical and dental colleges        and institutions in the  light  of  Section  19A(2)  of  the  Indian        Medical Council Act, 1956, and the corresponding provisions  in  the        Dentists Act, 1948.        (ii)     The jurisdiction and authority of the MCI and  the  DCI  to        conduct  a  single  National   Eligibility-cum-Entrance   Test   for        admission to the M.B.B.S., B.D.S. and Post-graduate courses in  both        the disciplines.        (iii)    The rights  of  the  States  and  private  institutions  to        establish and  administer  educational  institutions  and  to  admit        students to their M.B.B.S., B.D.S. and Post-graduate courses;        (iv)     The impact of NEET on the rights  guaranteed  to  religious        and linguistic minorities under Article 30 of the Constitution.        (v)              Do the impugned Regulations come within  the  ambit        of Entry 66, List I, of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution?;        (vi)     The effect of Presidential orders made under  Article  371D        of the Constitution of India.

134.     Despite the various issues raised  in  this  batch  of  cases,  the central issue relates to the validity of the  amended  Regulations  and  the right of the MCI and the DCI thereunder to introduce and  enforce  a  common entrance test, which has the  effect  of  denuding  the  State  and  private institutions, both aided  and  unaided,  some  enjoying  the  protection  of Article 30, of their powers to admit students in the  M.B.B.S.,  B.D.S.  and the Post-graduate Courses conducted by them.  There  is  little  doubt  that the impugned Notifications dated  21.12.2010  and  31.5.2012,  respectively, and  the  amended  Regulations  directly  affect  the   right   of   private institutions to admit students of  their  choice  by  conducting  their  own entrance examinations, as  they  have  been  doing  all  along.   Attractive though it seems, the decision taken by the MCI and the DCI to hold a  single National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test to the M.B.B.S., B.D.S. and the Post- graduate courses in medicine and dentistry, purportedly with  the  intention of  maintaining  high  standards  in  medical  education,  is  fraught  with difficulties, not the least of which is the competence of the  MCI  and  the DCI to frame and notify such Regulations. The ancillary issues  which  arise in regard to the main issue, relate to the  rights  guaranteed  to  citizens under Article 19(1)(g) and to  religious  and  linguistic  minorities  under Article 30 of the Constitution,  to  establish  and  administer  educational institutions of their choice.

135.     Doubts have been raised regarding the competence  of  the  MCI  and the DCI to amend the 1997 and 2000 Regulations, or the 2007  Regulation  and to issue the impugned Notifications to cover all  the  medical  institutions in the country, which have their own procedures relating  to  admissions  to the M.B.B.S., B.D.S. and Post-graduate Courses which passed the triple  test indicated  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s  case  (supra).   The  validity  of  the  MCI Regulations of 1997 and 2000  and  the  DCI  Regulations  of  2007  and  the amendments effected therein has been questioned with reference  to  Sections 19A(2) and 20 of the 1956 Act  and  Section  20  of  the  1948  Act.   While empowering the MCI and the DCI to prescribe  minimum  standards  of  medical education required for  granting recognised medical qualifications,  it  has also been stipulated that the  copies  of  the  draft  Regulations  and  all subsequent amendments thereof are to be furnished by the Council to all  the State Governments and the Council shall, before submitting  the  Regulations or any amendment thereof, as the case may be, to the Central Government  for sanction, take into consideration  the  comments  of  any  State  Government received within three months from the furnishing of such copies.   The  said provisions do not appear to have been complied with by the MCI or  the  DCI, which rendered the Regulations and the  amendments  thereto   invalid.    On behalf of the MCI an attempt was made to  justify  the  omission  by  urging that the directions were only directory and not mandatory.   In  support  of such a contention reliance was placed on  Manbodhan  Lal  Srivastava’s  case (supra), wherein the  provisions  of  Article  320(3)  of  the  Constitution providing for consultation with the Union Public Service Commission  or  the State  Public  Service  Commission,  were  held  to  be  directory  and  not mandatory.  A submission was also made  that  before  the  Regulations  were amended, MCI had interacted with the State Governments and letters had  also been exchanged in this regard and the responses were taken into  account  by the Council while amending the Regulations.

136.     We are afraid that the said analogy would not be applicable to  the facts of these  cases.   The  direction  contained  in  Sub-section  (2)  of Section 19A of the 1956 Act makes it a  pre-condition  for  the  Regulations and all subsequent amendments to be submitted to the Central Government  for sanction.  The Council is required to take into consideration  the  comments of any State Government within three months from the  furnishing  of  copies of the draft Regulations and/or subsequent  amendments  thereto.   There  is nothing to show that the MCI ever sent the draft amended Regulations to  the different State Governments for their views. The  submission  of  the  draft Regulations and all subsequent amendments  thereto  cannot  be  said  to  be directory,  since  upon  furnishing  of  the  draft  Regulations   and   all subsequent amendments thereto by the Council to all the  State  Governments, the Council has to take into consideration the comments,  if  any,  received from any State Government in respect thereof, before submitting the same  to the Central Government for sanction.

137.      The fact situation in Manbodhan Lal Srivastava’s case (supra)  was different from the fact situation in this batch of cases. Article 320(3)  of the  Constitution  provides  for  consultation  by  the  Central  or   State Government with regard to the matters enumerated therein.   In  the  instant case, it is not a case of consultation, but a case of inputs being  provided by the State Governments in regard to the Regulations to be  framed  by  the MCI or the DCI. Realising the difficulty, Mr. Gupta had  argued  that  since the 1997 and 2000 Regulations had been acted upon by the concerned  parties, the same must be held to have been accepted and the validity thereof was  no longer open to challenge.

138.  Mr. Gupta’s aforesaid submissions cannot be accepted, inasmuch as,  an invalid provision  cannot  be  validated  simply  by  acting  on  the  basis thereof.

139.      Mr. Gupta has also urged that the MCI derived  its  authority  for framing the Regulations and/or effecting amendments thereto from  Entry  66, List I, which is within the domain of the Central Government.   Accordingly, the same would have primacy over all State laws on the subject.

140. Mr. Gupta’s said submission finds support in Preeti  Srivastava’s  case (supra), wherein it has been held that the Regulations framed by the MCI  is binding upon the States having been framed under Entry 66,  List  I  of  the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.  But, where does it take us as far  as these cases are  concerned  which  derive  their  rights  and  status  under Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution? Can the  rights guaranteed to individuals  and  also  religious  and  linguistic  minorities under the said  provisions  of  the  Constitution,  be  interfered  with  by legislation and that too by way of delegated legislation?

141. The four impugned Notifications dated 21.12.2010 and 31.5.2012 make  it clear, in no uncertain terms, that all admissions to the  M.B.B.S.  and  the B.D.S. courses and their respective Post-graduate courses, shall have to  be made solely on the basis of the results  of  the  respective  NEET,  thereby preventing the States and their authorities and  privately-run  institutions from conducting any separate  examination  for  admitting  students  to  the courses run by them. Although, Article 19(6) of the Constitution  recognizes and permits reasonable restrictions on the right  guaranteed  under  Article 19(1)(g), the course of action adopted by the MCI and the DCI would not,  in our  view,  qualify  as  a  reasonable  restriction,  but  would  amount  to interference with the rights guaranteed under  Article  19(1)(g)  and,  more particularly, Article 30, which is not subject to  any  restriction  similar to Article 19(6) of the Constitution.  Of course, over the years this  Court has repeatedly observed that the right guaranteed  under Article  30,  gives religious and linguistic minorities the right to  establish  and  administer educational institutions of their choice, but not to maladminister them  and that the concerned authorities could impose conditions for maintaining  high standards of education, such as laying down the  qualification  of  teachers to be appointed in such institutions and also the curriculum to be  followed therein.  The  question,  however,  is  whether  such  measures  would  also include the right to  regulate  the  admissions  of  students  in  the  said institutions.

142.  The first, second, third and fourth issues referred to hereinabove  in paragraph 133, are intermingled and are taken up together for  the  sake  of convenience.  The aforesaid issues have  been  considered  and  answered  by this Court in the Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society case  (supra),  St. Stephen’s  College  case  (supra),  Islamic  Academy  case   (supra),   P.A. Inamdar’s case (supra) and exhaustively in the T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case (supra). Can, therefore, by purporting to take  measures  to  maintain  high educational standards to prevent maladministration,  the  MCI  and  the  DCI resort to the amended MCI and DCI Regulations  to  circumvent  the  judicial pronouncements in this regard? The answer to such question  would  obviously have to be in the negative.

143.      The  Supreme  Court  has  consistently  held  that  the  right  to administer an educational institution would also include the right to  admit students, which right, in our view, could not be taken away on the basis  of Notifications issued by the MCI and the DCI which had no  authority,  either under the 1956 Act or the 1948 Act, to do so.   The  MCI  and  the  DCI  are creatures of Statute, having  been  constituted  under  the  Indian  Medical Council Act, 1956, and the Dentists  Act,  1948,  and  have,  therefore,  to exercise the jurisdiction vested in them by the  Statutes  and  they  cannot wander beyond the same. Of course, under Section 33  of  the  1956  Act  and Section 20 of the 1948 Act, power has been reserved to the two  Councils  to frame Regulations to carry out the purposes of their respective  Acts.    It is pursuant to  such  power  that  the  MCI  and  the  DCI  has  framed  the Regulations of 1997, 2000 and 2007, which set the standards for  maintaining excellence of medical education in India.  The right of the MCI and the  DCI to prescribe  such  standards  has  been  duly  recognised  by  the  Courts. However, such right cannot be extended to controlling all admissions to  the M.B.B.S., the B.D.S. and the Post-graduate Courses being  run  by  different medical institutions in the country.  At best, a certain degree  of  control may be exercised in regard to aided institutions, where on  account  of  the funds being provided by the Government, it may have a say in the affairs  of such institutions.

144.     These questions have already been considered  and  decided  in  the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case (supra), wherein, it was categorically held  that the right to admit students being an essential  facet  of  the  right  of  a private medical  institution,  and,  in  particular,  minority  institutions which were unaided, non-capitation fee educational institutions, so long  as the process of admission to such institutions was transparent and merit  was adequately taken care of, such right could  not  be  interfered  with.  Even with regard to aided minority  educational  institutions  it  was  indicated that such institutions would also have the  same  right  to  admit  students belonging to their community, but, at the same time, it should also admit  a reasonable number of non-minority students which has  been  referred  to  as the “sprinkling effect” in the Kerala Education Bill case (supra).

145.     The rights of  private  individuals  to  establish  and  administer educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution are  now well-established and do not  require  further  elucidation.  The  rights  of unaided and aided religious  and  linguistic  minorities  to  establish  and administer educational institutions of their choice under Article  19(1)(g), read with Article 30 of the Constitution, have come  to  be  crystalised  in the various decisions of this Court  referred  to  hereinabove,  which  have settled  the  law  that  the  right  to  admit  students  in  the  different educational and medical institutions is an integral part  of  the  right  to administer  and   cannot   be   interfered   with   except   in   cases   of maladministration or lack of transparency.  The impugned Regulations,  which are in the nature of delegated legislation,  will have to make way  for  the Constitutional  provisions.   The  freedom  and  rights   guaranteed   under Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26 and 30 of the  Constitution  to  all  citizens  to practise any trade or profession and  to religious minorities to freedom  of conscience  and  the  right  freely  to  profess,  practise  and   propagate religion, subject to public order, morality and  health  and  to  the  other provisions of  Part  III  of  the  Constitution,  and  further  to  maintain institutions for religious  and  charitable  purposes  as  guaranteed  under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution,  read  with  the  rights  guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution, are also well-established  by  various pronouncements of this Court. Over and  above  the  aforesaid  freedoms  and rights is the right of  citizens  having  a  distinct  language,  script  or culture of their own, to conserve  the  same  under  Article  29(1)  of  the Constitution.

146.     Nowhere in the 1956  Act  nor  in  the  MCI  Regulations,  has  the Council been vested with any authority to either conduct examinations or  to direct that all admissions into different medical colleges and  institutions in India would have to be on the basis of one common  National  Eligibility- cum-Entrance  Test,  thereby  effectively  taking  away  the  right  of  the different  medical  colleges  and  institutions,  including  those  run   by religious and linguistic minorities, to make  admissions  on  the  basis  of their own rules and procedures.  Although,  Mr.  Gupta  has  contended  that Section 33(l)  of  the  1956  Act  entitles  the  MCI  to  make  regulations regarding the conduct of professional examinations, the same, in  our  view, does not empower the MCI to actually hold the entrance examination,  as  has been purported to be done by the holding of the NEET.  The  power  to  frame regulations for the conduct of professional examinations is a far  cry  from actually holding  the  examinations  and  the  two  cannot  be  equated,  as suggested by Mr. Gupta.

147.      Although,  the  controversy  has  been  extended  to  include  the amendments made to the Entries in the Second and Third Lists of the  Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and the deletion of Entry  11  from  the  State List and the introduction of Entry 25 in the Concurrent List, on  behalf  of the MCI it has been reiterated that the impugned Notifications  and  amended Regulations had been made under Entry 66 of List I by the MCI acting on  its delegated authority and would, therefore, have  an  overriding  effect  over any State law on the subject.

As already indicated hereinbefore, the right of  the  MCI  to  frame Regulations under Entry 66, List I, does not take  us  anywhere,  since  the freedoms and rights sought to be  enforced  by  the  Petitioners  flow  from Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution which cannot  be superseded by  Regulations  framed  by  a  Statutory  authority  by  way  of delegated legislation. The fact that such power was  exercised  by  the  MCI and the DCI with  the  previous  approval  of  the  Central  Government,  as contemplated under Section 33 of the 1956 Act and under Section  20  of  the 1948 Act, would not bestow upon the Regulations framed by the MCI  and  DCI, which are in  the  nature  of  subordinate  legislation,  primacy  over  the Constitutional provisions indicated above.  A feeble attempt has  been  made by Mr. Gupta  to  suggest  that  admission  into  institutions  run  by  the Christian Church depended on selection of students  by  the  Diocese.   This procedure, according to Mr. Gupta, was against the  concept  of  recognition of merit.

148. In our judgment, such a stand  is  contrary  to  the  very  essence  of Articles 25, 26, 29(1) and 30 of the Constitution.  In view  of  the  rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the  Constitution,  the  provisions  of Article 30 should have been redundant, but for the definite object that  the framers of the Constitution  had  in  mind  that  religious  and  linguistic minorities should have the fundamental right to  preserve  their  traditions and  religious  beliefs  by  establishing  and   administering   educational institutions of their choice.  There  is  no  material  on  record  to  even suggest that the Christian Medical College, Vellore, or its counter-part  in Ludhiana,  St.  John’s  College,  Bangalore,  or  the  linguistic   minority institutions and other privately-run institutions, aided and  unaided,  have indulged in any malpractice in matters of  admission  of  students  or  that they had failed  the  triple  test  referred  to  in   P.A.  Inamdar’s  case (supra).  On the other  hand,  according  to  surveys  held  by  independent entities, CMC, Vellore and St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, have  been placed among the top Medical Colleges in the country and have produced  some of the most brilliant and dedicated doctors in the country believing in  the philosophy of the institutions based on Christ’s  ministry  of  healing  and caring for the sick and maimed.

149.  Although, there is some difference of  opinion  as  to  the  right  to freedom of religion as guaranteed  under  Article  25  of  the  Constitution being confined only to  individuals  and  not  organizations  in  regard  to religious activities, Article 26(a) very clearly indicates that  subject  to public order, morality and  health,  every  religious  denomination  or  any section thereof shall have the right to establish and maintain  institutions for religious and charitable purposes.  The emphasis  is  not  on  religious purposes alone,  but  extends  to  charitable  purposes  also,  which  would include the running  of  a  hospital  to  provide  low-cost,  but  efficient medical care to all, which the CMC, Vellore, and  other  private  missionary hospitals of different denominations  are  doing.   So  long  as  a  private institution satisfies the triple  test  indicated  in  P.A.  Inamdar’s  case (supra), no objection can be taken to the procedure followed by it over  the years in the matter of admission of students into  its  M.B.B.S.  and  Post- graduate courses in medicine and other  disciplines.   Except  for  alleging that the admission procedure was controlled by the Church, there is  nothing even remotely suggestive of any form of maladministration  on  the  part  of the medical institutions being run by the Petitioner Association.

150.      This brings us to the issue regarding the impact of  the  NEET  on the right of  the  religious  and  linguistic  minorities  in  view  of  the provisions of  Article  30(1)  of  the  Constitution.   Although,  the  said question has been dealt with to some extent while  dealing  with  the  other issues, certain aspects thereof still need to be touched upon.  As has  been mentioned hereinbefore, having regard to the provisions of Article  19(1)(g) of the Constitution, the provisions of Article 30 would have been  redundant had not the framers of the Constitution had some definite object in mind  in including Article 30 in the Constitution.  This Court has  had  occasion  in several matters to consider  and  even  deal  with  the  question.   In  the Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society case (supra), it was  held  that  the right under Article 30(1) is more  in  the  nature  of  protection  and  was intended to instill  confidence  in  minorities  against  any  executive  or legislative  encroachment  on  their  right  to  establish  and   administer educational institutions of their choice.  While the aforesaid  observations help  in  understanding  the  intention  of  the  Constituent  Assembly   in including Article 30 in the Constitution as a fundamental right  untrammeled by any restrictions, as in the case of other fundamental  rights,  the  real spirit of the said Article has been captured by Justice V. Krishna  Iyer  in Jagdish Sharan’s case  (supra), wherein His  Lordship  observed  that  merit cannot be measured in  terms  of  marks  alone,  but  human  sympathies  are equally important.  His Lordship’s further observations that  the  heart  is as much a factor as the head in assessing the social value of  a  member  of the medical profession, completes the picture.  This, in fact, is  what  has been attempted to be conveyed by Mr. Harish Salve,  appearing  for  the  CMC Vellore, while submitting that under  Article  30  of  the  Constitution  an educational institution must be  deemed  to  have  the  right  to  reject  a candidate having superior marks as against a  candidate  who  having  lesser marks conformed to the beliefs, aspirations and  needs  of  the  institution for which it was established.

151.      One of the eleven questions which came to  be  considered  by  the Eleven Judge Bench in the  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  case,  namely,  Question 5(a),  was  whether  the  minority’s  rights  to  establish  and  administer educational institutions of their choice would  include  the  procedure  and method of admission and selection of students.  While dealing  with  one  of the five issues reformulated by the Chief Justice as to  whether  there  can be Government regulations in case of private institutions  and,  if  so,  to what extent, it was indicated in the majority judgment  that  the  right  to establish and administer broadly comprises  various  rights,  including  the right  to  admit  students  in  regard  to  private   unaided   non-minority educational institutions.  It  was  further  observed  that,  although,  the right to  establish  an  educational  institution  can  be  regulated,  such regulatory measures must, in  general,  be  to  ensure  the  maintenance  of proper  academic  standards,  atmosphere   and   infrastructure   (including qualified staff) and the prevention of maladministration by those  in-charge of management, and that the fixing of a rigid fee structure,  dictating  the formation and composition of the Governing Body,  compulsory  nomination  of teachers and staff for appointment or nominating  students  for  admissions, would be unacceptable restrictions.

152.    As far as private unaided professional colleges are  concerned,  the majority view was that it would be  unfair  to  apply  the  same  rules  and regulations regulating admission to  both  aided  and  unaided  professional institutions.   In  that  context,  it  was  suggested  that  it  would   be permissible for the University or the Government at  the  time  of  granting recognition, to require a private unaided institution to provide for  merit- based selection, while, at the same time, giving the  management  sufficient discretion in admitting  students,  which  could  be  done  by  reserving  a certain percentage of seats for admission by the  management  out  of  those students who had passed a common entrance test held  by  itself,  while  the rest of the seats could be filled up on the  basis  of  counselling  by  the State agency, which would take care of the poorer and backward  sections  of society.

153.            However, as far as the aided private  minority  institutions are concerned, the inter-play between Article 30 and Article  29(2)  of  the Constitution  was  taken  note  of  in  the  majority  decision  and   after considering the various decisions on the said issue, including the  decision in D.A.V. College Vs. State of Punjab [(1971) 2 SCC 269] and  the  Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College  Society  case  (supra),  reference  was  made  to  the observations made by Chief Justice Ray, as His Lordship then was,  that,  in the field of administration, it was not reasonable to  claim  that  minority institutions would have complete autonomy.   Checks  on  the  administration would be necessary in order to ensure that the administration was  efficient and sound and would serve the academic needs of the institution.   Reference was also made to the concurring judgment of Khanna, J., wherein the  learned Judge, inter alia, observed that the  right  conferred  upon  religious  and linguistic minorities under  Article  30  is  to  establish  and  administer educational  institutions  of   their   choice.    Administration   connotes management of the affairs of the institution and  such  management  must  be free of control so that the founders  or  their  nominees  could  mould  the institution as they thought fit and in accordance with the ideas of how  the interest of the community in  general  and  the  institution  in  particular would be best served.  The learned Judge was of the view that the  right  of the minorities to administer educational institutions did  not  prevent  the making of reasonable regulations in respect of such institutions,  but  such regulations  could  not  impinge  upon  the  minority   character   of   the institution and a balance had to be maintained between  the  two  objectives – that of ensuring the standard of excellence of the  institution  and  that of preserving the right of minorities  to  establish  and  administer  their educational institutions.

154.      The learned Judges  also  approved  the  view  taken  in  the  St. Stephen’s College  case  (supra)  regarding  the  right  of  aided  minority institutions to give  preference  to  students  of  its  own  community  for admission.   Their  Lordships,  however,  had  reservations  regarding   the rigidity of percentage of students belonging to the  minority  community  to be admitted.

155.  While answering Question 4 as to whether the admission of students  to minority  educational  institutions,  whether  aided  or  unaided,  can   be regulated by the  State  Government  or  by  the  University  to  which  the institution is  affiliated,  the  learned  Judges  held  that  admission  of students to unaided minority educational institutions, namely,  schools  and under-graduate colleges, cannot be regulated by the State or the  University concerned, except for providing the qualifications  and  minimum  conditions of eligibility in the interest of academic standards.   The  learned  Judges further held that the right to admit students, being an essential  facet  of the right  to  administer  educational  institutions  of  their  choice,  as contemplated under Article 30 of the Constitution, the State  Government  or the University may not be entitled to interfere with that right, so long  as the admission to the unaided educational institutions was on  a  transparent basis and merit was adequately taken care of.  The learned  Judges  went  on to indicate that the right to administer, not being  absolute,  there  could be regulatory measures for ensuring educational  standards  and  maintaining excellence thereof, and it was more  so  in  the  matter  of  admissions  to professional institutions.

156.  In answering Question 5(a), as to whether the rights of minorities  to establish and administer educational  institutions  of  their  choice  would include the procedure and method of admission  and  selection  of  students, the learned Judges held  that  a  minority  institution  may  have  its  own procedure and method of admission as well  as  selection  of  students,  but such a procedure must be fair and transparent and the selection of  students in professional and higher educational colleges should be on  the  basis  of merit and even an unaided minority institution should not ignore  the  merit of the students for admission while exercising its right to  admit  students to professional  institutions.   On  the  question  whether  the  rights  of minority institutions regarding admission of students and to  lay  down  the procedure and method of admission would be affected, in any way, by  receipt of State aid, the learned Judges were of the view that while giving  aid  to professional institutions, it would be permissible for the authority  giving aid to prescribe conditions in that regard, without, however, affecting  the right of such institutions to  actually  admit  students  in  the  different courses run by them.

157.  What can ultimately be culled out from the various  observations  made in the decisions on this issue, commencing from the  Kerala  Education  Bill case  (supra)  to  recent  times,  is   that   admissions   to   educational institutions have been held to be  part  and  parcel  of  the  right  of  an educational institution to administer and  the  same  cannot  be  regulated, except for  the  purpose  of  laying  down  standards  for  maintaining  the excellence of education being provided in such institutions.   In  the  case of  aided  institutions,  it  has  been  held  that  the  State  and   other authorities may direct a certain  percentage  of  students  to  be  admitted other than by the method adopted by the institution.  However, in  cases  of unaided institutions, the position is that except for laying down  standards for maintaining the excellence of education, the  right  to  admit  students into the different courses could not be interfered with.   In  the  case  of aided minority institutions, it has been held that the authority giving  aid has the right to insist upon  the  admission  of  a  certain  percentage  of students not belonging to the minority community,  so  as  to  maintain  the balance of Article 19(2) and Article 30(1) of the Constitution.   Even  with regard to  unaided  minority  institutions,  the  view  is  that  while  the majority of students to be admitted should be from  the  minority  community concerned, a certain percentage of students from  other  communities  should also be admitted to maintain the  secular  character  of  education  in  the country in what has been described as a “sprinkling effect”.

158.            Mr. Parasaran’s submissions with regard to  the  concept  of “Rag Bag” legislation would not apply to the facts of these cases since  the amendments to the Regulations of 1997, 2000 and  2007  were  effected  under Entry 66, List I of the Seventh Schedule and no recourse was taken to  Entry 25 of the Concurrent List by  the  MCI  and  DCI  while  amending  the  said Regulations.

159.  This brings us to the last issue, which has   been  raised  before  us regarding the impact of the Presidential Orders made under Article  371D  of the Constitution of India.  As pointed out by Mr. L. Nageshwar Rao,  learned Senior Advocate, special enactments have been made in the States  of  Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu regarding admission  of  students  in  the  different medical colleges and institutions being run in the said  States.   The  said legislation being under Entry 25 of List III of the Seventh Schedule to  the Constitution,  the  question  which  arises  is  whether  the  amended   MCI Regulations  would  have  primacy  over  the  said  State  enactments.   The question is answered by Article 371-D of  the  Constitution  which  empowers the President to make special  provisions  with  respect  to  the  State  of Andhra  Pradesh,  including  making  orders  with  regard  to  admission  in educational institutions.  Clause 10 of Article 371-D provides as follows:            “The provisions of this article and of any  order  made  by  the            President thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding  anything            in any other provision of this Constitution or in any other  law            for the time being in force.”

Accordingly, the enactments made in the  States  of  Andhra  Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will remain unaffected by the impugned Regulations.  We  have already held that the Regulations  and  the  amendments  thereto  have  been framed by the MCI and the DCI with the previous permission  of  the  Central Government under Entry 66, List I, but that the Regulations  cannot  prevail over the constitutional guarantees under Articles 19(1)(g),  25,  26,  29(1) and 30 of the Constitution.

160.  Apart from the legal aspects, which have been  considered  at  length, the practical aspect of holding a single  National  Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test needs to be  considered.   Although,  it  has  been  submitted  by  the learned Additional Solicitor General that a  single  test  would  help  poor students to avoid sitting for multiple tests, entailing payment of fees  for each separate examination, it has to be  considered  as  to  who  such  poor students could be.  There  can  be  no  controversy  that  the  standard  of education all over the country is not the same.   Each  State  has  its  own system and pattern of education, including the medium  of  instruction.   It cannot also be disputed  that  children  in  the  metropolitan  areas  enjoy greater privileges than their counter-parts in most of the  rural  areas  as far as education is concerned, and the decision of  the  Central  Government to support a single entrance examination would  perpetuate  such  divide  in the name of giving credit to merit.  In a  single  window  competition,  the disparity in educational standards in different parts of the country  cannot ensure a level playing field.  The practice of  medicine  entails  something more than brilliance in academics,  it  requires  a  certain  commitment  to serve humanity.  India  has  brilliant  doctors  of  great  merit,  who  are located mostly in urban areas and whose availability in a  crisis  is  quite uncertain.  What is required to provide health care to  the  general  masses and particularly those in the rural areas, are committed physicians who  are on hand to respond to a crisis situation.  Given the large number of  people who live in the villages in difficult  conditions,  the  country  today  has more need of such doctors who may not be specialists, but are  available  as general physicians to treat those in need of medical care and  treatment  in the far flung areas of the  country,  which  is  the  essence  of  what  was possibly envisaged by the framers of the Constitution in  including  Article 30 in Part III of the Constitution.  The desire to give due  recognition  to merit is laudable, but the pragmatic realities on  the  ground  relating  to health care, especially in the rural and tribal areas where a large  section of the Indian population resides, have also to be kept in mind  when  policy decisions are taken in matters such as this.  While  the  country  certainly needs brilliant doctors and surgeons and  specialists  and  other  connected with health care, who are  equal  to  any  in  other  parts  of  the  world, considering ground realities,  the  country  also  has  need  for  “barefoot doctors”, who are committed and are available to  provide  medical  services and health care facilities in different areas as part of  their  mission  in becoming doctors.

161.  In the light of our aforesaid discussions and the views  expressed  in the various decisions cited, we have  no  hesitation  in  holding  that  the “Regulations on Graduate Medical Education (Amendment) 2010 (Part  II)”  and the “Post Graduate Medical  Education  (Amendment)  Regulation,  2010  (Part II)”, whereby the Medical Council of India introduced  the  single  National Eligibility-cum-Entrance  Test  and  the  corresponding  amendments  in  the Dentists Act, 1948, are ultra vires the  provisions  of  Articles  19(1)(g), 25, 26(a), 29(1) and 30(1) of the Constitution, since they have  the  effect of denuding the States, State-run Universities and all medical colleges  and institutions,  including  those  enjoying  the  protection  of   the   above provisions, from admitting students to  their  M.B.B.S.,  B.D.S.  and  Post- graduate  courses,  according  to  their   own   procedures,   beliefs   and dispensations, which has been  found  by  this  Court  in  the   T.M.A.  Pai Foundation  case  (supra),  to  be  an  integral  facet  of  the  right   to administer.  In our view, the role attributed to and  the  powers  conferred on the MCI and the DCI under the provisions of the  Indian  Medical  Council Act,  1956,  and  the  Dentists  Act,  1948,  do  not  contemplate  anything different and are restricted to laying down standards  which  are  uniformly applicable to all medical colleges and institutions in India to  ensure  the excellence of medical education in India.  The  role  assigned  to  the  MCI under Sections 10A and 19A(1) of the 1956 Act vindicates such a conclusion.

162.  As an off-shoot of the above, we also have no  hesitation  in  holding that the Medical Council of India is not empowered under  the  1956  Act  to actually conduct the NEET.

163.  The Transferred Cases and the Writ Petitions are,  therefore,  allowed and  the   impugned   Notifications   Nos.   MCI-31(1)/2010-MED/49068,   and MCI.18(1)/2010-MED/49070, both dated 21st December, 2010, published  by  the Medical Council of India along with Notification Nos. DE-22-2012 dated  31st May, 2012, published by  the  Dental  Council  of  India   and  the  amended Regulations sought to be  implemented  thereunder  along  with  Notification Nos. DE-22-2012 dated 31st May, 2012, published by  the  Dental  Council  of India, are hereby quashed.  This will not, however,  invalidate  actions  so far taken under the amended Regulations, including  the  admissions  already given on the basis of the NEET conducted by the Medical  Council  of  India, the Dental Council of India and other private medical institutions, and  the same shall be valid for all purposes.

164.  Having regard to the nature of the cases  decided  by  this  judgment, the parties thereto will bear their own costs.

……………….CJI.                                                              (ALTAMAS KABIR)

…………………J.                                                             (VIKRAMAJIT SEN)

New Delhi Dated: July 18, 2013.

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA                          CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION                            T.C. (C) NO.98 OF 2012 CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE VELLORE & ORS.                              …PETITIONERS                                    VERSUS UNION OF INDIA AND ORS.                 …RESPONDENTS                                     WITH                         T.C. (C) NO.99/2012 and batch

ANIL R. DAVE, J.

1. I have carefully gone through the elaborate judgment delivered by  the       learned Chief Justice.  After going through the judgment, I could  not       persuade myself to share the same view.

2. As the learned Chief Justice is to retire within a few days, I have to       be quick and therefore, also short.  Prior to preparation of our draft       judgments we had no discussion on the subject due to paucity  of  time       and therefore, I have to express my different  views  but  fortunately       the learned Chief Justice has discussed the facts, submissions of  the       concerned counsel and the legal position in such a detail that I  need       not discuss the same again so as  to  make  the  judgment  lengthy  by       repeating the submissions and the legal provisions, especially when  I       am running against time.

3. Sum and substance of all these petitions is that the  Medical  Council       of India  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  ‘the  MCI’)  should  not  be       entrusted with a right to conduct National  Eligibility-cum-  Entrance       Test (hereinafter referred to as ‘the NEET’) and whether  introduction       of the NEET  would  violate  fundamental  rights  of  the  petitioners       guaranteed under the provisions of Articles 19(1)(g),  25,  26,  29(1)       and 30 of the Constitution of India.

4. The submissions are to the effect that if the MCI or  any  other  body       conducts examination in the nature of the NEET, the  petitioners,  who       are managing medical colleges, would not be in a position to  exercise       their discretion in relation to giving admission to  the  students  in       their colleges and therefore, their fundamental right guaranteed under       Article 19(1)(g) and the rights of  the  minority  institutions  under       Articles 29 and 30 would be violated.  The submission is to the effect       that the minority institutions should have full and  unfettered  right       to select the students who are  to  be  imparted  education  in  their       colleges.  Any restriction or regulation  of  whatsoever  type,  would       violate their fundamental rights.  Thus, what is to be  seen  by  this       Court is whether the system sought to be introduced by the  MCI  under       the provisions of the Indian Medical Council  Act,  1956  (hereinafter       referred to as ‘the  Act’)  is  violative  of  any  of  the  legal  or       constitutional provisions.  In the  process  of  deciding  so,  in  my       opinion, this Court also has to examine whether it  would  be  in  the       interest of the society and the students aspiring to study medicine to       have a common examination in the nature of the NEET.

5. Sections 19A and 20 of the Act, which  have  been  reproduced  in  the       judgment delivered by the learned Chief Justice,  permit  the  MCI  to       prescribe the minimum standards of medical education.  Section  33  of       the Act also empowers the MCI to make regulations  to  carry  out  the       purposes of the Act.  Thus, the said  provisions  enable  the  MCI  to       regulate the system of medical education throughout the country.

6. Let me first of all consider the scope of the aforestated sections and       the provisions of the  Act  in  relation  to  the  regulation  of  the       standards of education to be imparted in medical colleges.   It  is  a       matter of sound common sense that to have doctors well versed  in  the       subject of medicine and having proficiency in their field,  we  should       have suitable and deserving  students  who  should  be  imparted  good       medical education and there should  be  strict  supervision  over  the       education system so as to see that the students who are not up to  the       mark or are not having the highest  standards  of  education  are  not       declared successful at the examinations.

7. To achieve the aforestated ideal, the system should be  such  that  it       should have effective regulations at  three  different  stages  –  The       first stage is the admission of the students to medical colleges.  The       students who are admitted to the medical course should be suitable and       should have the right aptitude so that they can be  shaped  well  into       the medical profession after being  imparted  proper  education.   The       second stage is with regard  to  determination  of  syllabus  and  the       manner of imparting education and for the said purpose, the regulating       authorities should see that proper medical training is  given  to  the       students and for the  said  purpose  sufficiently  equipped  hospitals       should be there as teaching institutes.  It should also be  seen  that       sufficient number of patients are treated at the hospitals so that the       students can get adequate practical training where  the  patients  are       being treated.  Finally, the examinations, which the students have  to       pass to prove their  worth  as  successful  students  should  also  be       strictly regulated.  If there is any lacuna or short-coming at any  of       the above three stages, it would  adversely  affect  the  professional       standards  of  the  students  passing   out   from   the   educational       institutions as physicians, who are trusted by the citizens  of  India       at critical moments, when someone’s life is  at  stake.   I  need  not       state anything more with regard to the importance of the medical field       or the physicians as it is  a  matter  of  common  knowledge  that  to       maintain good health and to cure the diseases and to avoid  or  reduce       trauma of a patient, existence of a trained and well groomed doctor is       a sine qua non.   All  these  facts  equally  apply  to  dentists  and       therefore, I am not specially referring to them every time.

8. By virtue of introduction of  the  NEET  to  be  conducted  under  the       supervision of the MCI, standards of the  students  at  the  stage  of       their admission to the medical colleges, be it for  admission  to  the       M.B.B.S. course or the post graduation studies in  medical  faculties,       would  be  regulated.   Similarly,  for  imparting  education  to  the       students studying in the field of Dentistry, Dental Council  of  India       (For short ‘the DCI’) has to regulate admissions so  as  to  see  that       eligible and suitable students are admitted to the  different  courses       in the field of dentistry.

9. There is no need to discuss the importance of quality of  input,  when       something is to be produced, manufactured or developed.  Even when one       thinks of manufacturing an  article,  the  manufacturer  is  conscious       about the quality of the input and he would invariably select the best       input i.e.  such  raw  material  so  as  to  make  his  final  product       excellent.  Principle is not different in the field of education.   If       an educational institution wants an excellent output in the nature  of       a  well  trained,  well  educated,  well  groomed  professional,   the       institution must see that suitable and deserving  students  having  an       aptitude for  becoming  good  doctors  are  admitted  to  the  medical       college.  If among all good students, there are students who  are  not       up to the mark, who are lagging behind in their studies, who are  weak       in studies, it would not be possible to educate or groom such students       effectively and efficiently.  A weak student may lag behind due to his       lower  level  of  grasping  or  education   or   training.    In   the       circumstances, it becomes the duty of the regulating authority to  see       that quality of the students at the stage of admission  is  thoroughly       examined and only deserving and suitable students are given  admission       to the medical colleges so as to make them suitable members of a noble       profession  upon completion of their studies.  So as to see that  only       deserving and suitable students are admitted to the medical  colleges,       the MCI has introduced the NEET.  By virtue  of  introduction  of  the       NEET, the students aspiring to become  physicians  or  pursue  further       medical studies will have to pass the  NEET.   The  NEET  would  be  a       nationwide common examination to be held at different  places  in  the       country so that all students aspiring to have medical  education,  can       appear in the examination and ultimately, on the basis of  the  result       of the examination, suitability and eligibility of  the  students  for       admission to the medical profession can be determined.  This system is       a part of regulation whereby entry to the field of  medical  education       is regulated in such a way that only eligible  and  suitable  students       are given admission to medical colleges.

10.  If  the  NEET  is  conducted  under  the  supervision  of  the   apex       professional body, it would inspire confidence in the  system  and  in       that event, the selection of the students for admission to the medical       profession  would  be  on  merit  based  selection.    No   extraneous       consideration would come into play in the process of  selection.   The       process of selection would not be  influenced  by  irrelevant  factors       like caste and creed, community,  race,  lineage,  gender,  social  or       economic standing, place  of  residence  –  whether  rural  or  urban,       influence of wealth or power; and admission would be given only to the       students who  really  deserve  to  be  well  qualified  physicians  or       dentists.   Thus, there would not be any discrimination  or  influence       in the process of selection.  I may add here that though the  students       can be selected only on the basis of their merit, it would be open  to       the States to follow their reservation policy and  it  would  also  be       open to the institutions based on religious or linguistic minority  to       select students of their choice, provided  the  students  so  selected       have secured minimum marks prescribed at the  NEET.   From  and  among       those students, who have  secured  prescribed  qualifying  marks,  the       concerned institutions, who want to  give  priority  to  the  students       belonging to a particular class or  caste  or  creed  or  religion  or       region, etc. would be  in  a  position  to  give  preference  to  such       students in the matter of their admission  to  the  concerned  medical       college.  Thus, the purpose with which the Articles 25, 26, 29, and 30       are incorporated in our Constitution  would  be  fully  respected  and       implemented.

11. Furthermore, centralization of the selection process under holding the       NEET would help the students to appear at  the  examination  from  any       corner of  our  nation.   The  result  of  the  examination  would  be       published at the same time on one particular day  and  with  the  same       standard.   There would not be any problem with regard  to  equalizing       marks and merits of different students passing different  examinations       from different regions or states or  universities  or  colleges.   The       process of selection would be equal, fair, just and transparent.   All       the students would be in a position to compete from a common  platform       and the test will have credibility in the eyes of the students and the       society.  There are number  of  professional  institutions  which  are       having  only  one  professional  examination  and   there   are   some       institutions which also have one  common  entrance  test  which  would       decide competence and capability of a student for  being  admitted  to       the professional course and the system which is followed by  them  for       years is quite satisfactory and successful.   The  students  would  be       benefited because they will not have to appear at different places  on       different days at different examinations for the same purpose.  In  my       opinion, the aforestated factors, in practical life, would surely help       the students, the profession and the institutions which are not  money       minded and are sincere in their object of imparting medical  education       to the aspiring students.   The cost of appearing at the NEET would be       much less as the aspiring students will not have to  purchase  several       expensive admission forms and will not have  to  travel  to  different       places.

12. An apprehension has been voiced by the  counsel  for  the  petitioners       that  the  minority  institutions  or  the  educational   institutions       belonging to special classes would be adversely  affected  because  of       the introduction of the NEET.  In fact, the said apprehension  is  not       well founded.  The policy with regard to the reservation can  be  very       well implemented if the NEET is  introduced  because  the  NEET  would       determine standard or eligibility of a student who is to  be  imparted       education in the field of medicine.  The institution imparting medical       education will have to see that the student to be admitted  is  having       minimum standard of suitability and  the  institution  will  be  at  a       liberty to select a student of its choice if it  wants  to  promote  a       particular class of persons.   By  admitting  suitable  and  deserving       students having  an  aptitude  for  becoming  doctors,  the  religious       institutions would be  in  a  position  to  have  better  doctors  for       fulfilling their objective.

13. Moreover, the policy with regard to reservation for  certain  classes,       followed by the States would also not be adversely affected.  From the       deserving eligible students, who have procured qualifying marks at the       NEET and who belong to the reserved classes would be given  preference       so as to fulfill the policy with regard  to  reservation.   Thus,  the       students belonging to the reserved classes would also  not  suffer  on       account of holding the NEET.

14. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that introduction of the  NEET       would adversely affect the policy with regard to  the  reservation  or       the policy of the  States  pertaining  to  upliftment  of  downtrodden       persons belonging to certain classes.

15. The MCI has power to regulate medical education and similarly the  DCI       has also  the  power  to  regulate  the  education  in  the  field  of       Dentistry.  Meaning of the  word  ‘to  regulate’  would  also  include       controlling entry of undeserving or weak students into the profession,       who cannot be groomed in normal circumstances as  good  physicians  or       doctors or dentists.  The  term  ‘regulate’  would  normally  mean  to       control something by means of rules or by exercise of control  over  a       system.  It is an admitted fact that one of  the  functions  of  these       apex bodies  of  the  professionals  is  to  regulate  the  system  of       education.  In my opinion, we cannot put  any  fetter  on  the  system       introduced by these bodies, whereby they try to control entry of  weak       or undeserving or less competent  students  to  the  institutes  where       medical education is imparted.  Thus, in my opinion, the MCI  and  the       DCI are competent to exercise their right to  regulate  the  education       system under the provisions of the Act and under the provisions of the       Dentists Act, 1948, which permit them to  determine  the  standard  of       students who are to be admitted to these professional courses.

16. Hence, I am of the view that the MCI  and  the  DCI  are  entitled  to       regulate the admission procedure by virtue of the provisions of  their       respective Acts, which enable  them  to  regulate  and  supervise  the       overall professional standards.

17. I have now to see  whether  the  legal  provisions  which  permit  the       aforestated apex bodies  to  conduct  the  NEET,  so  as  to  regulate       admission of the students to medical  institutes,  are  in  accordance       with legal and Constitutional provisions.   The  aforestated  question       has been rightly answered by this court in  the  case  of  Dr.  Preeti       Srivastava and Another vs. State of M.P. and Others (1999) 7  SCC  120       to the effect that norms of admission will have a direct impact on the       standards of education.  This court has observed that the standards of       education in any institution or  college  would  depend  upon  several       factors and the  caliber  of  the  students  to  be  admitted  to  the       institutions would also be one of the relevant factors.  Moreover,  in       view of  entry  25  of  List  III  of  the  Seventh  Schedule  to  the       Constitution, Union as well as the States have power to  legislate  on       the subject of medical education, subject to the provisions  of  entry       66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule, which deals  with  determination       of  standards  in  institutions  for   higher   education.    In   the       circumstances, a State has the right to control  education,  including       medical education, so long as the field is  unoccupied  by  any  Union       legislation.  By virtue of entry 66 in List I to the Seventh Schedule,       the Union can make laws with respect to determination of standards  in       institutions for higher education. Similarly, subject  to  enactments,       laws  made  with  respect  to  the  determination  of   standards   in       institutions for higher education under power given to  the  Union  in       entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule, the State  can  also  make       laws relating to education, including technical education and  medical       education.  In view of the above position clarified in the case of Dr.       Preeti Srivastava  (supra),  the  NEET  can  be  conducted  under  the       supervision of the MCI as per the regulations framed  under  the  Act.       As stated hereinabove, Section 33 of the Act enables the MCI  to  make       regulations to carry out  the  purposes  of  the  Act  and  therefore,       conducting the NEET is perfectly legal.

18. In para 36 of the  judgment  delivered  in  the  case  of  Dr.  Preeti       Srivastava (supra), this Court  has  held  that  for  the  purpose  of       maintaining standards of education, it is very much necessary  to  see       that  the  students  to  be  admitted  to   the   higher   educational       institutions are having high caliber and therefore, in the process  of       regulating  educational  standards  in  the  fields  of  medicine  and       dentistry also the above principle should be  followed  and  the  apex       professional bodies should be permitted to conduct examinations in the       nature of the NEET.  Regulations made under the Act and  the  Dentists       Act, 1948 must be treated as part of the Act and therefore, conducting       the NEET cannot be said to be illegal.  Submissions were made  by  the       learned counsel for the  petitioners  that  as  copies  of  the  draft       Regulations, as required under  Section  19A  of  the  Act,  were  not       forwarded to the State Governments, the  said  Regulations  cannot  be       acted upon.  The said submission is of no importance  for  the  reason       that I am in agreement with the  submission  of  the  learned  counsel       appearing for the MCI that the said provision  is  not  mandatory  and       therefore, non-supply of the draft  regulations  would  not  adversely       affect the validity of the Regulations and the NEET.  It also  appears       from the language used in  Section  19A  of  the  Act  that  the  said       provision with regard to furnishing copies of the draft regulations to       all the State Governments is not mandatory and any defect in the  said       procedure would not vitiate validity  of  the  Regulations  or  action       taken in pursuance of the Regulations.

19. Similar question with regard to having a common test  had  arisen  for       admitting  students  aspiring  to  become  veterinary  surgeons.   The       question was whether it  was  open  to  the  apex  body  of  the  said       profession to conduct a common entrance test.  Ultimately,  the  issue       had been resolved by this court in the matter of Veterinary Council of       India vs. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, (2000) 1  SCC  750.       This court, after considering several issues similar  to  those  which       have been raised in these petitions, held that  it  was  open  to  the       concerned regulatory Council to conduct a common entrance test.

20. So far  as  the  rights  guaranteed  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the       Constitution with regard to practising any profession or  carrying  on       any occupation, a trade or business, are concerned, it is needless  to       say that the aforestated rights are not unfettered.  Article 19(6)  of       the  Constitution  permits  the  State  to  enact  any  law   imposing       reasonable restrictions on the rights conferred by Article 19(1)(g) in       relation to the professional or technical qualifications necessary for       practising any profession.  Enactments of the  Act  and  the  Dentists       Act, 1948, including Regulations made thereunder, which  regulate  the       professional  studies  cannot  be  said  to  be   violative   of   the       Constitutional rights guaranteed  to  the  petitioners  under  Article       19(1)(g) of the Constitution.  The framers of  the  Constitution  were       conscious of the fact that anybody cannot be given a right to practise       any profession without having regard to his  capacity,  capability  or       competence.  To be permitted  to  practise  a  particular  profession,       especially when the profession is  such  which  would  require  highly       skilled person to perform  the  professional  duties,  the  State  can       definitely regulate the profession.  Even if we assume  that  all  the       petitioner institutions are in business of imparting  education,  they       cannot also have unfettered right of admitting undeserving students so       as to make substandard physicians and dentists.  One  may  argue  here       that ultimately, after passing the final examination, all students who       had joined the studies would be at par and therefore, even if  a  very       weak or substandard student is  given  admission,  after  passing  the       final examination, which is supervised  by  one  of  the  apex  bodies       referred to hereinabove, he would be at par with  other  students  who       were eligible and suitable at the time when they were given admission.        In practical life, we do find a difference between a professional who       has passed his professional examination at the first or  second  trial       and the one who has passed examination after several trials.  Be  that       as it may, it is for the apex body of the professionals to  decide  as       to what type of students should  undergo  the  professional  training.       The function with regard to regulating educational activity  would  be       within the domain of the professional bodies and their  decision  must       be respected so as to see that the society gets  well  groomed  bright       physicians and dentists.  Thus, in my opinion, the introduction of the       NEET would not violate the right guaranteed to the  petitioners  under       the provisions of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

21. So  far  as  the  rights  guaranteed  to  the  petitioners  under  the       provisions of Articles 25, 26, 29 and 30 are concerned, in my opinion,       none of the rights guaranteed under the aforestated Articles would  be       violated by permitting the NEET.  It is always open to the petitioners       to select a student subject to his  being  qualified  by  passing  the       examination conducted by the highest professional body.   This  is  to       assure that the students who are to undergo the professional  training       are suitable for the same.  Regulations relating to admission  of  the       students i.e. admitting eligible, deserving and bright students  would       ultimately bring reputation to the educational institutes.  I fail  to       understand as to why the petitioners are keen to admit undeserving  or       ineligible students when eligible and suitable students are available.        I am sure that even a scrupulous religious person or  an  educational       institution would not like to  have  physicians  or  dentists  passing       through its  institution  to  be  substandard  so  as  to  bring  down       reputation  of  the  profession  or  the  college  in  which  such   a       substandard professional was educated.  Minorities – be  it  religious       or linguistic, can impart training to a student who is found worthy to       be given education in the  field  of  medicine  or  dentistry  by  the       professional apex body.   In my opinion, the Regulations and the  NEET       would not curtail or adversely  affect  any  of  the  rights  of  such       minorities as  apprehended  by  the  petitioners.   On  the  contrary,       standard quality of input would reasonably  assure  them  of  sterling       quality of the final output of the physicians or  dentists,  who  pass       out through their educational institutions.

22. An apprehension was voiced by some of the counsel  appearing  for  the       petitioners that autonomy of the petitioner institutions would be lost       if the NEET is permitted.  I fail to understand as to how autonomy  of       the said institutions would be adversely affected because of the NEET.         The  Government  authorities  or  the  professional   bodies   named       hereinabove would not be creating any hindrance in the  administrative       affairs of the institutions.  Implementation of the  NEET  would  only       give better students to such institutions  and  from  and  among  such       highly qualified and suitable students, the minority institutions will       have a right to select the students of their choice.  At  this  stage,       the institutions would be in a position to use their discretion in the       matter of selection of students.  It would be open  to  them  to  give       weightage  to  the  religion,  caste,  etc  of   the   student.    The       institutions would get rid of the work of  conducting  their  separate       examinations and that would be a great relief to  them.   Except  some       institutions having some oblique motive behind selecting students  who       could  not  prove  their  mettle  at  the  common   examination,   all       educational institutes  should  feel  happy  to  get  a  suitable  and       eligible lot of students, without  making  any  effort  for  selecting       them.

23. For the reasons recorded hereinabove, in my opinion, it cannot be said       that introduction  of  the  NEET  would  either  violate  any  of  the       fundamental or legal rights  of  the  petitioners  or  even  adversely       affect the medical profession.  In my  opinion,  introduction  of  the       NEET would ensure more transparency and less hardship to the  students       eager to join the medical profession.  Let us see the consequence,  if       the apex bodies of medical profession are not permitted to conduct the       NEET.  A student, who is good at studies  and  is  keen  to  join  the       medical profession, will have to visit  several  different  States  to       appear at different examinations held by different medical colleges or       institutes so as to ensure that he gets admission  somewhere.   If  he       appears only in one examination conducted by a  particular  University       in a particular State and if he fails there,  he  would  not  stand  a       chance to get medical education at any other  place.   The  NEET  will       facilitate all students desirous of  joining  the  medical  profession       because the students will have to appear only at one  examination  and       on the basis of the result of the NEET, if he is  found  suitable,  he       would be in a position to get admission somewhere in the  country  and       he can have the medical education  if  he  is  inclined  to  go  to  a       different place.  Incidentally, I may state here that  learned  senior       counsel Mr. Gupta had informed the Court that some  medical  colleges,       who are more in a profiteering business rather than in the noble  work       of imparting medical education, take huge amount by way of donation or       capitation fees and give admission to  undeserving  or  weak  students       under one pretext or the other.   He had also  given  an  instance  to       support the serious allegation made by him on the  subject.   If  only       one examination in the country is conducted and admissions  are  given       on the basis of the result of the said  examination,  in  my  opinion,       unscrupulous and money minded businessmen operating in  the  field  of       education would be constrained to stop their corrupt practices and  it       would help a lot, not only to the deserving students but also  to  the       nation in bringing down the level of corruption.

24. For the aforestated reasons, I am of the view that the petitioners are       not entitled to any of the reliefs prayed for in the  petitions.   The       impugned notifications are not only legal in the eyes of law  but  are       also a boon to the students aspiring to join medical profession.   All       the petitions are, therefore, dismissed with no order as to costs.

………………………………….J.                                                         (ANIL    R.    DAVE)

New Delhi July 18, 2013

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