Over 50 MBBS students at Glocal Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur have been running pillar to post to get transferred to another institution – for the past four years.
Glocal Medical College finally shut down this year in January for flouting guidelines of the Medical Council of India (MCI) after it failed a series of inspections. Orders were issued in 2017 to debar the college from admitting new students.
The students, who all took admission in 2016, have qualified NEET and therefore are eligible, but they have no college to call their own. The group is uncertain if they will be able to finish the MBBS course and get their degrees. Apart from these 50 students, 24 students from the same college have already been transferred to MCI-recognised private medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh.
Other colleges that were also disbarred by the MCI over the last few years, the students said, have also transferred their students – albeit after a series of protests and legal battles.
“In other medial colleges, classes are taking place online. But we don’t know what to do. Our college is shut, we don’t have study material and no serious step is being taken to transfer us to another college. Our career is at stake,” said a student, on the condition of anonymity.
In 2016, the students got admission into Glocal after a mop-up round, a list that NEET declares after completing selection rounds. A year later, the students started noticing discrepancies in the way the college and hospital were functioning. There were complaints about fake patients and false data about surgeries and treatment being fed to the MCI.
On January 27, 2017, the MCI issued a discharge letter for students whose name was not found in the list released by the Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DGME) – a government body that oversees medical education.
However, students at three private medical colleges – Saraswati Medical College, Venkateshwara Medical College and Krishna Mohan Medical College – challenged the letter in the same year at Lucknow high court.
On July 15, 2017, the court quashed the discharge letter and gave the judgement in students’ favour allowing them to continue their studies in their respective colleges.
However, the MCI challenged the judgement in the Supreme Court, standing firm on their stance. The judges at the apex court didn’t interfere with high court’s decision and therefore, the students in those three colleges are continuing their studies till date.
Now, the 50 students at Glocal, after hearing about the above case and MCI’s discharge letter issued in 2017, filed a fresh case at the Allahabad high court on August 2, 2019, challenging this order.
The court then allowed them to approach the Supreme Court but the judges, on July 20, 2020, dismissed their petition.
Meanwhile, on January 3, 2020, the Uttar Pradesh government cancelled the college essentiality certificate – document required to be able to establish a college – and transferred only 24 students leaving 50 students in limbo.
In The Wire’s exclusive report in January 2018, it was found that when MCI denied permission to Glocal, which belongs to Prasad Education Trust, a middleman allegedly assured the trust that the court would grant them the permission to operate. To that end, money was allegedly paid.
According to the CBI investigation in the matter, the accused had obtained judicial orders from high court and Supreme Court in favour of the trust. The Wire had published the transcript of the telephone conversation between the two accused parties.
Soon after, Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan had filed a complaint demanding an investigation against the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, and senior judges of the Allahabad high court and Supreme Court.
The website, however, now shows that admissions are open with the following note:
“Permission to Establish a New Medical College in the Name and style of Glocal Medical College, Super Speciality Hospital and Research centre has been granted by Government of India Ministry of Health & Family Welfare vide letter No : U-12011/13/2016-ME-1 Dated 20 August 2016.”
‘Our future is uncertain’
Meanwhile, those 50 students who were not transferred started knocking doors at various authorities but to no avail.
“If those 24 [students] can be sent to a new college, why can’t we? Our parents had to take education loan and even mortgage the property to be able to send us to college,” said a student. “Sitting at home, with no college and an uncertain future in the middle a pandemic has severely affected our mental health.”
In addition, the 50 students say that they have every right to be able to continue their education and to be transferred to a different college.
“Students with all India rank (AIR) 414761 has been transferred whereas those with AIR 38769 is not. We are NEET-qualified students and our scores were well above the cut off when we came here for admission. This is absolutely unjustified,” said one of the students.
The students have already completed four years of their medical education and have even operated with cadaver – a dead human body used by medical students to study anatomy.
In addition, they were paying the college fee till last year and their families, so far, have spent more than Rs 30 lakh each. One student, whose father died recently after contracting coronavirus, is worried about the financial situation at home.
“If other colleges under the same scenario could be allowed to continue their studies, why are we being continuously debarred like this ?” reads the joint letter.
“We want the state government to take quick action in this matter and transfer us to another college as soon as possible.”
Featured image credit: Official website of Glocal Medical College.