Chennai : In a blow to the CBI, the Madras High Court has ruled that the agency has no business to initiate criminal proceedings against self-financing medical colleges, which had resorted to forgery and other means to obtain approval from the Medical Council of India (MCI).

Advancing the curious argument that violation of MCI norms was only an “offence” and not a “crime”, Justice Aruna Jagadeesan reasoned that the CBI had no powers to investigate such cases.

The verdict, which is bound to have serious implications for medical education in the country, was delivered while dismissing two criminal revision petitions from the CBI challenging a lower court order dropping criminal proceedings against two private medical colleges in Tamil Nadu.

The judge further reasoned that shortfall in faculty and submission of forged documents would only disentitle a medical college from getting renewal of its approval from the MCI. Such cases could only be dealt with by the MCI.

Doctors, who had illegally lent their names to colleges as teaching faculty, could have their names removed from the MCI register.

“The MCI Act only provides for withdrawal of recognition granted to such colleges as per Section 19 of the MCI Act. Nowhere is it stated either in the MCI Act or the regulations that such violation would result in penal consequences,” the judge observed. Therefore, violation of rules may be an offence against the statute and not a crime.

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