Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 22910 of 2013. Case: Educare Charitable Trust Vs Union of India & Anr.. Supreme Court

Case NumberSpecial Leave Petition (Civil) No. 22910 of 2013
Party NameEducare Charitable Trust Vs Union of India & Anr.
JudgesK.S.Radhakrishnan & A.K. Sikri, JJ.
IssueConstitution of India - Article 136; Dentists Act, 1948 - Sections 10-A, 20; Kerala University of Health Science Act, 2010
Judgement DateSeptember 17, 2013
CourtSupreme Court

Judgment:

A.K. Sikri, J.

  1. In this petition, invoking the provisions of Article 136 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner seeks leave to appeal against the judgment dated 2nd July 2013 passed by the High Court of Kerala. Writ Petition of the petitioner has been dismissed by the aforesaid judgment.

  2. The petitioner, which is a Charitable Trust working in the field of education, has established a Dental College which was established few years ago. During the Academic Year 2007-08, course in Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) was started by it with an annual intake of 50 students. This was done after taking due -permission from the Central Government under Section 10-A of the Dentists Act, 1948 on the recommendation of Dental Council of India (DCI). The Government of Kerala has issued requisite Essentiality Certificate. The college run by the petitioner is affiliated with University of Calicut as that University had granted necessary Consent of Affiliation. The Dental College also stands affiliated to the Kerala University of Health Sciences, established by the Kerala University of Health Science Act, 2010.

  3. In the year 2012, the petitioner wanted to expand the size of BDS, being desirous of increasing the capacity from 50 to 100 seats. Intention was to do so with effect from current Academic Year i.e. 2013-14. The scheme was rejected by the Government vide order dated 31.12.2012 on the ground that it did not fulfil the eligibility criteria for such an increase. Against this order of refusal of the Central Government, the petitioner had approached the High Court of Kerala seeking quashing of the said order and for issuance of Writ of Mandamus commanding the Central Government to forward the application of the petitioner for intake of students, to the DCI for technical scrutiny and further to direct the DCI to make appropriate recommendation to the Central Government for issuance of letter of permission during the Academic Year 2013-14 itself. As pointed out in the beginning of this order, the said Writ Petition has been dismissed by the High Court.-

  4. In order to appreciate the controversy and the grievance of the petitioner, it would be necessary to traverse few facts.

  5. On 8th August 2012, the petitioner had submitted the scheme to the Government of India for increasing the admission capacity. This request of the petitioner was considered but the Central Government could not process the same as at the time of submission of the application, the petitioner had yet to get the recognition of the BDC course with 50 seats i.e. the existing capacity, which is a pre-condition for forwarding the application. The Central Government had issued various letters, last of which was dated 19th December 2012, asking the petitioner to obtain the recognition. Last date for forwarding the application by the Central Government to DCI for approval of such scheme was 31.12.2012. Since the petitioner could not bring the said "Essential Documents" even upto the last date i.e. 31-12-2012, the Central Government returned the application with liberty to the petitioner to apply afresh in the next Academic Year i.e. 2014-15.

  6. As per the petitioner, its college fulfilled all the norms required for increase of intake of students from 50 to 100 seats. In so far as matter of recognition is concerned, the petitioner squarely blames the DCI for dragging its feet and, therefore, it is pleaded that the petitioner could not be made to suffer for no fault on its part. In this behalf, it was pointed out that the Executive Committee of the DCI in its meeting held on 26.11.12 had duly recommended to accord recognition. -Recommendation of the Executive Committee was considered by the General Council of the DCI which met on 27/28.11.2012. This Governing Council also approved the proposal. Nothing further was to be done by the DCI but to send letter of recommendation to the Central Government. Had it been done immediately or within few days thereafter, the petitioner could have got the recognition of the BDS course much before 31st December 2012, which was the last date. The grudge of the petitioner is tht the DCI slept over the matter and sent the communication regarding recognition of the petitioner -college to the Central Government only on 7th January 2013 thereby causing the last date to expire. The Central Government had notified the recognition on 23rd January 2013 but with effect from July 2012. In this conspectus, it was the submission of the petitioner that the right of the petitioner to seek enhancement of seats from 50 to 100 could not be defeated by the respondents when the delay was at their end. It was pleaded that thought as per the time frame set out in the Schedule, last date for forwarding the application was 31st December, 2012, Note (2) appended beneath the said Schedule enables the Central Government to modify the same in respect of any class or category of applicants. In the present case, there was valid reason to exercise such discretion but it was not done. For this reason, another prayer was made in the Writ Petition to the effect that the Central Government be directed to -modify the time schedule for the petitioner by invoking the power under Note (2) to the Regulations.

  7. The aforesaid plea of the petitioner did not cut any ice with the High Court. It held that as per Regulation 18 of the DCI (Establishment of New Dental Colleges, Opening of New Higher Course of Study or Training and Increase of Admission Capacity in Dental Colleges) Regulations, 2006, the applicant has to submit application in Form 3 when it wants to increase of seats. Qualifying criteria is laid down in Regulation 19 and as per Clause (a) thereof, it is mandatory that the college is recognized with the existing admission capacity. This condition was not fulfilled by the petitioner and it was not possible for the Central Government to forward the application to the DCI for technical scrutiny. In these circumstances, if the Central Government did not exercise its discretion to modify the time schedule, in terms of Note (2) of the Regulations, direction could not be issued to the Central Government to exercise that power in a particular manner as it was purely within the discretion of the Central...

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