SC pulls up Kerala govt for promulgating ordinance to ‘blatantly nullify’ apex court order

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NEW DELHI, APR 05,
The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government for promulgating an ordinance to “blatantly nullify” last year’s apex court order freezing illegal medical admissions made in the State.
Staying the Kerala Professional Colleges (Regularisation of Admission in Medical Colleges) Ordinance of 2017, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit passed a scathing order, accusing the government of trying to bull-doze the court.
“In our prima facie view, the ordinance in question blatantly seeks to nullify the binding effect of the order passed by this court. Prima facie it was not open to declare this court’s order as void or ineffective as was sought to be done by way of ordinance,” the Supreme Court observed in its order.
“We therefore, stay the operation of the ordinance and make it clear that no student shall be permitted to reap any benefit of any action taken and they shall not be permitted to attend the college or the classes or continue in medical colleges in any manner pursuant to ordinance,” the Supreme Court ordered.
It warned that that any violation of the order “shall be treated seriously by this court”
On March 22 last year, the apex court cancelled the admission of 180 medical undergraduate students to Kannur Medical College and Karuna Medical College in Kerala owing to irregularities in admission procedure.
The apex court had ordered the termination of 150 admissions in Kannur Medical College and 30 in Karuna Medical College, thus sending a strong message to private professional colleges that there would be zero tolerance if irregularities were found in admissions even at the cost of de-railing the academic future of the students involved.
The State government reacted by promulgating the ordinance on October 20, 2017 in order to regularise the 180 admissions. This was followed up with the State Assembly unanimously passing a Bill on April 4, 2018 to replace the ordinance.
Challenging the ordinance, the Medical Council of India meanwhile approached the Supreme Court.
The Council, represented by senior advocate Vikas Singh and advocate Gaurav Sharma, argued that the ordinance negates the principle of equality and equal protection of laws in as much as there would be no difference in illegal admissions made by the two colleges and other admissions made in accordance with law.
The Council submitted that regularising illegal medical admissions, if allowed, would have severe repercussions as private medical colleges would get impetus to admit students without following proper procedure.
The medical body, seeking an immediate stay of the ordinance, said that “the Legislature in exercise of its legislative powers cannot strike down any judgment /decision passed by the constitutional courts”.
Agreeing, the Supreme Court said it was not prima facie open for the State to “sit over the judgment and validate those very admissions and to venture into regularising them”.

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