HCMI Education Versus Narendra Pal Singh

HCMI Education Versus Narendra Pal Singh

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2481 OF 2016
HCMI Education …Appellant
Versus
Narendra Pal Singh …Respondent
J U D G M E N T
M. M. Sundresh, J.
1. Heard learned counsel appearing for the parties. When the matter was taken
up for hearing on 28.06.2022, there was no representation on behalf of the
respondent. So, after hearing the counsel for the appellant, we adjourned the
matter to 01.07.2022 in order to extend an opportunity to the respondent. As
we find the same situation continues to prevail by the absence of the
respondent, we are inclined to dispose of this appeal upon once again
hearing counsel for the appellant.
1
FACTS IN BRIEF:
2. The respondent before us approached the appellant for seeking admission in
Philippines to the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
course. Accordingly, an admission was secured with M/s Emilio Aguinaldo
(for short ‘College’) for the academic year 2007-2008. Fees were paid by
the respondent through the appellant. The appellant gave sufficient
indication that it was acting on behalf of not only the College, but also the
Government vide an advertisement by inviting Respondent through
Pamphlet, Brochure supplied accordingly:-
a. “The Republic of Philippines and the Commission on Higher Education
has appointed Healthcare Management International (HCMI) as their sole
authorized representative of India.
b. HCMI Mission is to provide students with an opportunity to attain
quality education overseas by introducing them to reputable universities,
thus, allowing them to make apt choices. HCMI do this by partnering with
reputable universities that deliver relevant, up-to-date knowledge.
c. Access to quality medical education
d. Information packages on courses and fee structures.
e. Guidance for loans through trusted banks, if required.
f. Information on eligibility requirements.
g. Guidance in processing student visa.
h. Counselling in making an apt decision.
i. Step by step guidance through the application process.”
3. The respondent joined the College upon receiving the offer letter dated
31.08.2007. Vide Resolution No. 583 of 2007 of the Commission on
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Higher Education (CHED), the College got the application for approval to
offer MBBS programme effective from 2007-2008.
4. The respondent joined the College, which was arrayed as respondent No. 2,
and set ex-parte before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, U.T.
Chandigarh. By the resolution dated 22.09.2008, the Republic of Philippines
approved to abolish the MBBS programme from the School Year (S.Y.)
2008-2009 making it applicable to the students who got admitted for the
year 2007-2008. The following is the resolution passed:
Republic of the Philippines
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION
EXCERPTS FROM THE MINUTES OF 321TH REGULAR
COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON THE 22ND DAY OF
SEPTEMBER 2008 AT HEDC CONFERENCE ROOM, HEDC
BUILDING, C.P. GARCIA AVE. U.P. DILIMAN, QUEZON
CITY
RESOLUTION NO. 491 – 2008
“WHEREAS Republic Act No. 2382 otherwise known as the medical Act of
1959 prescribes among other things the minimum required curriculum for
the degree Doctor of Medicine (MD) which is a bachelors degree in science
or arts;
WHEREAS, the primary medical degree to practice medicine in the
Philippines is the degree Doctor of Medicine (MD);
WHEREAS, the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is a
medical degree offered in countries like Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan
3
and Sri Lanka, which requires completion of Grade XI and XII as minimum
requirement for entry into this program;
WHEREAS, a number of medical schools in the Philippines have offered the
MBBS program in spite of the absence of a CHED Memorandum Order
prescribing the curriculum of such program;
WHEREAS, the offering of such degree without the corresponding CHEDapproved curriculum has led to concern and confusion regarding the
capability to practice medicine in the Philippines and abroad;
WHEREFORE, upon motion duly made, seconded and unanimously
carried, the Commission En Banc adopted to resolve as follows:
RESOLVE, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Commission approves
the abolition of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Program effective S.Y. 2008-2009.
RESOLVED FURTHER, that with regard to the existing students of the said
program, the Technical Panel for Health Professions Education is requested
to study, review and submit recommendation to the Commission En Banc
for further decision, and that all medical schools be furnished copies of this
resolution.”
5. Consequent thereon, an alternative course was offered and the MBBS
students were re-directed to the BS Biology, pursuant to the CEB Resolution
No. 491-2008, with reference to such students who already got
admitted/accepted under MBBS Course. For better appreciation, the
aforesaid order is also placed on record:
Republic of the Philippines
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION
CHED MEMORANDUM ORDER
No.46
Series of 2008
4
SUBJECT: ABOLITION OF THE BACHELOR OF MEDICINE,
BACHELOR OF SURGERY (MBBS) PROGRAM EFFECTIVE
ACADEMIC YEAR 2008-2009.
“In accordance with pertinent provisions of Republic Act 7722, otherwise
known as the Higher Education Act of 1994 and pursuant to CEB
Resolution No. 491-2008 dated September 22, 2008 the abolition of the
Bachelor of - Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) proqram is hereby
made effective School Year 2008-2009.
Colleges and universities which accepted MBBS students are instructed to
comply with the following:
1. MBBS students shall be re-directed to the BS Biology Program.
2. HEIs that have no BS Biology and M.D. programs shall transfer their
MBBS students to other HEIs that have recognized BS Biology and M.D.
programs, listed in either WHO Directory or FAIMER and are willing to
accept said students.
3. The abovementioned HEIs shall assess the subjects taken in Grades 11
and 12 as well as some subjects already taken in MBBS for credit towards
BS Biology. In excess of the BS Biology requirements, some MBBS subjects
may be credited towards the M.D. program after this group of students have
passed in validating examination administered by the concerned HEIs.
4. There shall be no double crediting of subjects. Subjects in Grades 11 and
12 and those taken in the MBBS that were credited towards BS Biology
shall no longer be credited to the M.D. program.
5. NMAT shall be required of students-in this group as it is required of other
students for admission to the MD program.
6. The duration of the BS Biology program for this group of students should
not be less than three (3) semesters and one (1) summer or a minimum total
of ninety-two (92) units.
For strict and immediate compliance.
Quezon City, Philippines
October 20, 2008”
6. On the incipient view, the respondent did not take the aforesaid offer, but
instead has chosen to come back to India with immediate action by filing his
representation to the appellant. Thereafter, he lodged the complaint,
5
notwithstanding the offer made by the appellant to mitigate the loss with
respect to the additional one year, as offered by the Republic of Philippines
for the bridge course after the abolition of the MBBS programme.
7. All the Forums below, including the National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission (hereinafter referred to as the ‘National Commission’), rejected
the appellant’s response and accordingly it was asked to pay a sum of
$12000, apart from compensation and costs. Aggrieved thereby, the
appellant is before us.
8. The counsel for the appellant contends that though the complaint per se is
not maintainable against the educational institution, apart from lack of
territorial jurisdiction, the issue can be decided on merits as the matter is
seized of by a larger Bench in Civil Appeal Diary No. 12901 of 2020 dated
15.10.2020 as to whether the educational institution is amenable or not, to be
decided by a Consumer Forum.
9. It is submitted that the appellant is only a facilitator and, in any case, it has
no control over the decision of the Republic of Philippines. It is a policy
decision taken by the said country and the fact that the respondent got
admitted with the concerned College and completed one year is not in
6
dispute. The decision of the Republic of Philippines (Office of CHED) being
a subsequent one, there cannot be any liability fasten upon the appellant.
10. Before venturing into the above contentions raised, the scope of the appeal
invoking Section 27A of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 which was
invoked at the time of filing of the appeal, requires consideration. Section
27A facilitates a further appeal to this Court against the order passed by the
National Commission. Such an appeal can be adjudicated upon by this
Court both on facts and law. Since the appeal provides for adjudication on
the aforesaid two aspects, this Court can decide the matter not only on the
law but facts as well.
11. On merit, we find considerable force in the submission made by the learned
counsel for the appellant. Though the documents would indicate that the
appellant was acting on behalf of CHED also, it played no role in the policy
decision made. The said documents are to be understood contextually. The
role of the appellant stops with the admission being secured, which it did.
The policy decision of the Republic of Philippines cannot be questioned
before the Consumer Forum.
12. In any case, such a policy decision cannot be the basis for seeking redressal
against the appellant. The appellant cannot be considered to be a part of the
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Republic of Philippines or the Office of CHED for the policy decision
changes made, which was made not pertaining to a single institution, but the
whole Republic.
13. On facts, the respondent did complete one year. At the time of admission
and continuation in the year 2007-2008 there was no problem with the
MBBS course. It was only in pursuance to the decision as aforesaid made
by the Republic of Philippines, the students were offered to continue with
the alternative course, which the appellant has not chosen whatsoever. This
is an aspect that the Forums have failed to take note of in the correct
perspective.
14. On the said analysis, we are inclined to set aside the orders passed and
dismiss the complaint. As there is no vicarious liability that can be fastened
on the appellant and the appellant’s role cannot be stretched to the policy
decision of the Republic of Philippines, the appeal stands allowed.
…….………………………J.
 (ABHAY S. OKA)
.……………………………J.
 (M.M. SUNDRESH)
New Delhi,
July 11, 2022
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