1. This petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution seeks, by appropriate writ, direction or order, quashing of the resolution of respondent No. 1, the Medical Council of India, conveyed in letter dated November 15, 1966, and as a consequence it is prayed that respondent No. 1 Council may be directed to give effect to their resolutions dated November 8, 1959 and April 5/6, 1963, which are filed as annexures A and E, with the petition. The substance of the relief asked for is that petitioners Nos. 2 and 3, who are medical students, should be declared eligible to seek admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course at the Medical College, Nagpur, or elsewhere on their passing the condensed L.M.P. course.
2. Certain facts giving the background of this petition are necessary to understand the nature of the relief and the circumstances in which it is being asked for. In the former State of Madhya Pradesh of which Vidarbha was a part, a course of medical education was conducted in the Robertson Medical School, Nagpur, run by the then State Government. This was a course of three and a half years to which a student was admitted after passing the matriculation examination. This course was probably called at the initial stage a course leading to the Diploma of Medical and Health Practitioner but is now known as a course of Diploma in Medical Practice. It will be convenient to refer to this course as D.M.P. course. Though the course was started in 1948, after the reorganisation of States, the State Government decided to close admissions to this course in 1958. Thereafter, even the Robertson Medical School where instruction for this course was given ceased to function since 1961, until it was re-opened on August 26, 1965. There was also a course admitting students to what is called the condensed M.B., B.S. course which was conducted in the Government Medical College at Nagpur.
3. We may also mention that previously in the former Central Provinces and Berar, there was a medical course for licentiates called the L.M.P. course. This course was probably conducted from 1914 to 1944, Admission to this course was open to matriculates. Hereafter this course will be referred to as the regular L.M.P. course for which a student had to undergo training for a period of four years.
4. It appears that the medical personnel who had obtained the diploma of D.M.P. were anxious to improve their own qualifications and status and had approached the State Government for giving facilities of higher education to enable them to become eligible for registrable qualifications by making arrangements for a condensed course of education leading to the degree of M.B., B.S. for such personnel. On May 16, 1959 the Deputy Secretary to the Government of Bombay in the Local Self-Government and Public Health Department addressed a letter to respondent No. 1, the Medical Council of India (hereinafter referred to as the Council). Annexure A at pages 17 and 18 of the paper-book is a copy of this letter. In that letter Government pointed out to the Council that the question of revival of the L.M.P. course for the benefit of the students in the Robertson Medical School which prepared students for the D.M.P. course was under consideration. It appears from this letter that from 1944 however, students wishing to join the L.M.P. course were required to have passed the Inter Science Examination as a qualifying examination for entry into the course. It is in this background that in para. 3 of this letter, the Government made the following query to the Council:
In the circumstances, Government would leave it to the Council to decide the exact details and duration of the course which a student of the R. M. School, Nagpur, should be required to undertake and whether or not it should be made compulsory for him to pass Inter Science Examination before he could be admitted to the condensed course to enable him to qualify for a diploma equivalent to the old L. M. P.
5. On receipt of this communication from the State Government, the Executive Committee of the Council considered the matter on November 8, 1959 and the recommendation of the Executive Committee was, accepted by the Council itself by its resolution dated November 21, 1959. The relevant part of that resolution, so far as the facilities in respect of the D. M. P. course were concerned, is as follows:
The Council however 'desire that' persons who 'have already' obtained D. M. P. qualification and whose qualification has been recognised by the Vidarbha Medical Council and also those who are allowed to continue D. M. P. course provided no further admissions are made in that school, may be asked to undergo further training of two years and also be asked to appear at an examination conducted by the State Government. If they are successful in such an examination they may be regarded to possess qualification equivalent to L. M. P. and included in-Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the I. M. C. Act, 1956.
This resolution thus permitted those students who had obtained the diploma of D.M.P. to be admitted to the condensed L.M.P. course of two years. It is common ground that this diploma of L.M.P. is included as a recognised diploma in Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the Indian Medical 'Council Act, 1956. The above resolution of the Council was communicated by the Secretary of the Council by his letter dated December 1, 1959 (annexure C). On receipt of this communication, the Assistant Secretary to the Government of Bombay formally intimated to the Secretary of the Council that the proposals made in this letter were acceptable to the State Government.
6. Normally, being armed with this resolution, the State Government might have started or should have started admissions to the condensed L.M.P. course soon thereafter. But it appears that the course was actually started as late as August 26, 1965 when persons holding the diploma of D.M.P. were admitted to the condensed L.M.P. course. This course was also started in the Robertson Medical School at Nagpur.
7. It is, however, necessary to notice certain intervening events which have in fact given rise to this petition at the instance of the petitioners. The Assistant Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra addressed a letter to the Registrar, Nagpur University, Nagpur, (respondent No. 3), now called the Government Medical School at Nagpur, on September 23, 1961. A copy of this letter is filed as Annexure 1 at pages 91 and 93 with the return filed by respondent No. 3. In this letter the specific proposal made by the State Government was whether the University may recognise the training undergone by the D.M.Ps. during three and a half years of their medical course adequate and suitable for their admission to the M.B., B.S. course. The reason for making this proposal is given in this letter in some detail, but we are not concerned with it as ultimately that proposal was not accepted by the University. The proposal was considered in the Faculty of Medicine of the Nagpur University and that Faculty did not accept the suggestion made in the letter of the Assistant Secretary.
8. On August 9, 1963 the President of the Council addressed a letter to the Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra on the subject of the condensed M.B., B.S. course for D.M.P students. That letter is important and was as follows:
The Secretary, Medical Council of India, vide his letter No. M. C. I. 13 (3)/63-Med./5837 dated the 11th July 1963, had forwarded to you the resolution of the Medical Council of India together with copies of the relevant correspondence as also the courses for the D. M. P. students to get the L. M. P. diploma after which they could follow the condensed M, B., B. S. course.
It has already been made clear to you that the D. M. P. students cannot directly appear for the M.B.B.S., degree examination unless they get the L. M. P. qualification as per resolution of the Medical Council of India dated 8th November 1959, which has already been sent to you ( copy enclosed for ready reference) and the acceptance of the same by your Government vide your letter No. SRC-1057-8G378-Q, dated the 8th January 1960.
The Surgeon General with the Government of Maharashtra has written a letter on the 10th June 1963 to the Registrar, Nagpur University, in this regard and also another letter to the Secretary, Medical Council of India, on 28th July 1963, regarding the same matter. I understand that there is still some misunderstanding which need be clarified to the Nagpur University and the Medical College, Nagpur.
I would, therefore, request you to pay your attention to this matter as otherwise it is likely to create complications at a later stage and then it would be very difficult to solve them.
9. Here it may be convenient to notice a resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Council on April 5/6, 1963 to the following effect:
The Executive Committee further resolved to bring to the notice of Maharashtra Government that the condensed M.B.B.S. course for D.M.P. students under no circumstances would be made permissible as the council has already decided that D. M. P. students should first undergo a condensed course to obtain a recognised Licentiate qualification like L. M. P. and after getting a licentiate diploma they can get registered and follow tile condensed M.B.B.S. course. Any action differently taken shall not entitle the students (D. M. P.) to be registered. Council may consider the question of withdrawal of the recognition of the degree of such University which undertakes training of such students.
This resolution was communicated to the State Government by the Assistant Secretary by his letter dated June 21, 1963 to which a reference is made in the proceedings of the Faculty of Medicine as per annexure B at page 25 of the paper-book.
10. After the condensed L.M.P. course was started in 1965 and the D.M.P. students were admitted to this course, petitioner No. 1 Association received a letter from the Surgeon General with the Government of Maharashtra dated March 20, 1966 as per annexure G at page 29. In this letter, the Surgeon General intimated to the President of the Association that the Indian Medical Council has been informed about the starting of condensed course at Nagpur for D.M.P. holders in order to get it recognised. He further stated that as regards the condensed M.B., B.S. course, those L.M.P. students who have passed I.Sc. can only get admission and not all. This letter naturally must have created consternation amongst the D.M.P. students who had been admitted to the condensed L.M.P. course as to their prospects of getting admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course. The Association seems to have represented this matter to the Council and sought clarification. In reply to this communication, the Secretary of the Council sent a letter on November 15, 1966 explaining the position of the Council and stated as follows:
The Executive Committee is of the opinion that the D.M. P. students from the R. M. School, Nagpur, who have done their condensed L. M. P. course in pursuance of the earlier decision of the Medical Council of India, be allowed admission to the condensed M. B., B. S. course, provided they have passed I. Sc. Examination.
The Executive Committee further decided that those candidates who had not passed the I. Sc. Examination and desire to undergo condensed M. B., B. S. course should in the first instance be admitted to the Pre-Medical/Pre-Professional or equivalent course extending over one year and only after passing out the examination they may be admitted to the condensed M. B. B. S. course.
11. On receipt of this letter, petitioner No. 1 Association made two representations, one on February 8, 1967 as per annexure I, and another on March 15, 1967 as per annexure J, against this decision of the 'Council. It appears that a further reminder was sent on April 6, 1967, but no reply or clarification having been received, this petition was filed in this Court on May 29, 1967.
12. The contention of the petitioners is that the Council could not decide to insist on D.M.P. students having the qualification of passing Inter Science examination in order to make them eligible for admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course which was not a condition precedent laid down when their case of further education was considered and they were allowed to undergo the condensed L.M.P. course with the eligibility of being further allowed to join the condensed M.M., B.S. course. The petitioners rely on the communication from the President and the decision of the Council as per the resolution dated November 8, 1959 communicated on December 1, 1959 and accepted by the State Government on the basis of which the condensed L. M. P. course was started to enable those D.M.P students to qualify as J.J.M.Ps. in the first instance. They also rely on the resolution of the Council passed on April 5/6, 1963 which, according to the petitioners, in terms states that the D.M.P. students after getting a licentiate diploma may get registered and follow the condensed M.B., B.S. course. It is pointed out that in this resolution, and in the context of previous history and antecedent facts, there is no mention that those D.M.P. students would be required to pass Inter Science examination before they could be admitted to a condensed M.B., B.S. course even though they may get a licentiate diploma by following the condensed L.M.P. course.
13. As against this contention, the defence on behalf of respondent No. 1 Council is that it has all along taken the position that any one who wants to seek admission to a degree course like the M.B., B.S. must have basic qualification of having passed Inter Science or equivalent examination and that that was always an implied condition of admission to any M.B., B.S. course, whether it was a full term course or a condensed course. It is urged that when the State government first contacted the Council by their communication dated May 16, 1959, the only point that was then raised was the eligibility of the D.M.P. students to be admitted to the L.M.P. course without passing Inter Science examination. There was no question at that time of D.M.P. students seeking admission to the M.B., B.S. course, and therefore the question of this basic qualification of eligibility to the M.B., B.S. course, namely, of having passed Inter Science examination, was not germane or mooted.
14. The 'Council's further case is that it had passed a resolution as far back as April 3, 1965, reiterating the view of the Council that the original view stands and it is reiterated with firm emphasis that Inter Science (medical group) is an essential pre-requisite minimum qualification for admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course to the holder of recognised licentiate qualification. The Council, through its Deputy Secretary, addressed a communication on April 19, 1965, on the subject of condensed M.B., B.S. course in India for licentiates. This communication is addressed to the Principals/Deans of all the Medical Colleges Health Secretaries of all the State Governments; Registrars of all the Universities; Directors of Medical/Health Services of all the States; All State Medical Councils; Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Health, New Delhi; Director-General of Health Services, New Delhi; Director-General, Armed Forces Medical Services, New Delhi; General Secretary, Indian Medical Association, New Delhi; and General Secretary, All India Medical Licentiates' Association, Calcutta. Paragraph 1 of this letter is as follows:
I am to state that the question regarding the eligibility qualifications for the medical licentiates to get admitted into the condensed M. B., B. S. course was under consideration of this Council. In this connection, I am directed to inform you that the Medical Council of India at its meeting held on 3rd April, 1965 accepted the following recommendations of the Executive Committee:
Resolved that the original resolution of the Council stands and reiterate with firm emphasis that I. Sc. (Medical Group) is an essential pre-requisite minimum qualification for admission to the condensed M. B., B. S. Course to holders of recognised licentiate qualifications. The second paragraph of this letter is equally important and is as follows;
The Medical Council of India also accepted the further recommendations of the Executive Committee which I am directed to forward herewith for your information and guidance with the request kindly to give as much publicity as possible to the same by displaying it on the Notice Boards etc., so that the maximum number of licentiates could avail the opportunity to undergo the condensed M. B., B. S., course within the stipulated time limit:
The Executive Committee further reviewed the question regarding allowing concessions to licentiates to undergo the condensed M. B., B. S. course in reference to the decision of the Council taken on 6th April 1063, when this concession was allowed to continue up to 1966.
After careful consideration of the whole matter, the Executive Committee is of the firm opinion that this concession should not be allowed to continue indefinitely. The Executive Committee therefore recommends to the Council that admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course should only be allowed up to 1970 in respect of those candidates who were admitted to the licentiate course before February, 1963.
The Executive Committee further resolves that due publicity be given to this resolution so that those who are interested to take up the condensed M. B., B. S. course may avail the opportunity before the stipulated time limit.
15. The Council had earlier considered an analogous question in 1964 in the context of refugees from East Pakistan. On July 25, 1964, the Executive Committee of the Council adopted a resolution to the effect that the question of allowing admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course to the refugee students from East Pakistan who have not passed the Inter Science or equivalent examination was considered and the Committee was of the firm opinion that the condensed M.B., B.S. course can only be allowed in the case of those candidates who hold a recognised licentiate qualification and who had taken up Inter Science (Medical Group) or any equivalent examination before entrance to the licentiate medical course. The Council, therefore, urged that the view that the Council has consistently taken is that no one can be admitted to the condensed M.B., B.S. course who has not obtained the qualification of Inter Science (medical group) before seeking such admission.
16. In our opinion, the contention raised on behalf of the Council totally ignores the special case which was being considered and provided for by them in view of the correspondence between the Council and the State Government regarding the case of the D.M.P. students concerned in this petition.. As early as 1959 when the question was first mooted by the State Government through the letter of the Deputy Secretary dated May 16, 1959, it was specifically pointed out that the D.M.Ps. had cleared a three-and-half year medical course after matriculation and that they wanted facilities for obtaining qualification equivalent to L.M.P. and if these are extended to them, whether it was necessary that they should also clear Inter Science examination first. The letter also referred to a pertinent fact, namely, that during 'the period from 1914 to 1944 matriculates were being admitted to the L.M.P. course. In reply to this letter, the Council permitted these D.M.P. students to undergo further training of two years and appear at the examination to be held by the State Medical Faculty, and if they passed such an examination, they were to be regarded to possess qualification equivalent to L.M.P, included in Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1'956. Thus, this proposal which emanated from the Council itself made a departure in two matters. In the first place, it permitted exemption from the requirement of appearing at the Inter Science examination for being admitted to the L.M.P. course. What is far more important is that it brought down the duration of the L.M.P, course to a period of two years from the normal period of four years and called it a condensed L.M.P. course. Thus, this category of licentiates which was permitted was an altogether separate and distinct category of licentiates, and this resolution of the Council in November 1959 permitted the D.M.P. students to undergo training for such a condensed course and get L.M.P. diploma included in Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the Indian Medical Council Act. We cannot lose sight of this important distinguishing feature in considering the construction now being put on behalf of respondent No. 1 as to what was intended to be conveyed and understood by this resolution.
17. It is true that considerable time was allowed to elapse by the State Government before taking actual steps for commencing the condensed L.M.P. course. But it appears that the chief reason for this delay was a fresh thinking which had started in the Secretariat, namely, whether it was not possible to allow these D.M.P. students directly to the admitted to an M.B., B.S. course like the condensed M.B., B.S. course, which time seems to have been lost in fretting guidance on this matter from the University and the Council. The Council took a firm attitude that the D.M.P students could not be admitted straightaway to an M.B., B.S. course under any circumstances. In conveying this decision of the Council, the Council sent its communication dated June 21, 1963, in the light of the resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Council on April 5/6, 1963. We have already referred to that resolution previously, and in our opinion, the following words in this resolution, namely
that the condensed M.B.,B.S., Course for D.M.P. students under no circumstances would be made permissible us the council has already decided that D. M. P. students should first undergo a condensed course to obtain a recognised Licentiate qualification like L. M. P. and after getting a licentiate diploma they can get registered and follow the condensed M. B., B. S. Course
would hardly leave any room for doubt or dispute that by this resolution the Council approved of an opportunity being given to those D.M.P. students who would undergo a condensed course to obtain a recognised licentiate qualification like the L.M.P. and after getting a licentiate diploma they would be eligible for being registered for the condensed M.B., B.S. course. In this resolution, there is not a whisper or a suggestion that such students, i.e. D.M.P. students, who were to undergo a further condensed course of L.M.P., would be required to secure a qualification of Inter Science (medical group). We are unable to read any such qualification or condition either in the main resolution or in the communication thereof by the Council.
18. Reliance is placed in this context on the resolution of the Council passed on April 3, 1965, which was communicated by it to several authorities mentioned above; but that resolution seems to pertain to an altogether different topic. The subject under consideration while passing that resolution appears to be the demand of licentiates to be allowed to join the condensed M.B., B.S. course even though such a licentiate may not have passed Inter Science (medical group) examination. It is true that the firm decision of the Council was that such permission may not be given, but we are unable to hold that this resolution of April 3, 1965, has anything to do with, or that the Council had in mind at that time, the case of the D.M.P. students which was dealt with by the Council on an independent basis much earlier in 1963. The points of distinction between the two varieties are also not far to seek. The D.M.P. students were a class of students who had already undergone a medical course after matriculation for three and a half years; they were required to undergo the condensed L.M.P course for another two years; and it is only such students having spent not less than five and a half years in medical course who were permitted by the resolution dated April 5/6, 1963, to be eligible for admission to the condensed B.M., B.S. course. If in the case of such class of students, the Council relaxed the condition of passing Inter Science (medical group) examination, it is quite understandable.
19. It also appears that the Council had been approached from time to time for relaxing the condition of Inter Science pass (medical group) as a condition for admission to the M.B., B.S. or condensed L.M.P. courses in the past. In 1943 during the period of the Second 'World War, the Council had permitted such relaxation by their resolution dated October 23, 1943 and the relaxation was so extensive that a matriculate or a student who had obtained the Cambridge School Certificate Examination could straightaway seek admission to the course leading to M.B., B.S. degree and not to the condensed course. This may be due to exigencies created by the war conditions. This relaxation was to be in force according to this resolution during the period of war and for three years thereafter. Similarly the second part of the letter dated April 19, 1965, which we have reproduced above, also indicates that the concession of allowing licentiates to be admitted to the. condensed M.B.. B.S. coarse was to be allowed up to 1966 in some cases, and in case of those admitted before February 1963 up to 1970.
20. It is in the background of these facts and the communications received from the Council from time to time in the case of those D.M.P. students that the competence of the resolution passed on October 28, 1966, has to be judged. Unfortunately, the Council has not placed on record the minutes and the proceedings of the meeting at which this resolution was passed. Its text is to be found at page 86 of the paper-book among the documents filed on behalf of the Council. What was the occasion for passing the resolution or with reference to which circumstances the resolution came to be passed is a matter of which we have not had the benefit of knowing, Even the return does not say anything about this. The resolution is worded as follows:
The Executive Committee was of the opinion that the D.M.P. students from the Robertson Medical School, Nagpur, who have done their condensed L. M. P. course in pursuance of the earlier decision of the Medical Council of India, be allowed admission to the condensed M, B., B.S. course provided they had passed the I. Sc. Examination.
The Executive Committee further decided that those candidates who had not passed the I. Sc. examination and desire to undergo the condensed M.B.,B.S. course should, in the first instance, be admitted to the pre-medical/pre-professional or equivalent course extending over one year and only after passing out the examination, they be admitted to the condensed M. B., B. S. course.
21. In this resolution there is no reference to the previous resolution of the Council itself passed by the Council on April 5/6, 1963. In that resolution, as we have already pointed out, there is a specific mention that the D.M.P. students should first undergo a condensed course to obtain a recognised licentiate qualification like L.M.P. and after getting a licentiate diploma they can get registered and follow the condensed M.B., B.S. course. We find it difficult to reconcile these two resolutions on the same subject and in respect of the same students. We are not also apprised of any compelling reasons for the Council to take a different view in respect of D.M.P, students regarding their eligibility for admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course after they had secured a licentiate qualification like the condensed L.M.P., as suggested by the Council itself. We are, therefore, unable to hold that the Council could, after having permitted the petitioners to follow a course of education and training in compliance with its resolution dated April 5/6, 1'963, change its decision at a subsequent date to their prejudice by now insisting that such D.M.P. students who have obtained a licentiate qualification must also pass Inter Science (medical group) examination as a condition of admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course.
22. There is yet another aspect of this controversy to which attention must be drawn. It pertains to the role of the Medical Council of India, the powers possessed by it in the matter of medical education, and the extent to which it has controlling voice in the determination of these questions.
23. The Medical Council of India was founded under a statute passed by the Indian Legislature in 1933 called the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933. The genesis of this legislation is to be found in the Statement of Objects and Reasons with which the Bill on the subject was introduced in March 1932. Till this Act was put on the statute book, there was no Medical Council of an All-India status, though there were Provincial Medical Councils in existence concerned with their respective Provinces functioning independently of each other. The question of creating a central agency invested with some authority to guarantee a uniform minimum standard of qualifications throughout India and to the civilized world at large had been under consideration for several years, but till then there was no consensus of opinion in favour of establishment of such a Council. The immediate cause for taking steps for the establishment of such Council appears to be the action of the General Medical 'Council in Great Britain deciding to withdraw temporarily the recognition of medical degrees of Indian Universities. By this action the international status of those degrees had been endangered, and, therefore, to safe-guard this status and to provide for the maintenance of uniform minimum standards of medical education in the country, it became imperative to resume the consideration of the proposal for the establishment of an All-India Medical Council. The establishment of such All-India Medical Council was, therefore, accepted in principle and the Bill was drafted with that object. This Act passed in 1933 was in force till 1956 when the present Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, replaced it on the statute book.
24. It will now be necessary to see the pattern of the Medical Council of India which was brought about by the Act of 1933 and to compare and contrast it with the powers and functions of the Medical Council of India which now operates under the present Act of 1956. Section 3 of the Act of 1933 provides for the constitution and composition of the Council. The mode of election of members to the Council from the specified categories is given in Section 4. The Council was to function through the executive of seven members and have a President and a Vice-President. Section 11 is one of the important sections of that Act. The Act included in the First Schedule medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in the Provinces of India and they were recognised as recognised medical qualifications for the purposes of that Act. Under Sub-section (2) of Section 11, any medical institution in a Province of India which granted a medical qualification not included in the First Schedule could apply to the Central Government to have such qualification recognised, and the Central Government, after consulting the Council, was empowered, by notification in the Official Gazette, to amend the First Schedule so as to include such qualification therein. It may be mentioned that the Act of 1933 had only two Schedules in contrast with three Schedules which are appended to the Act of 1956. Section 12 of the Act of 1933 dealt with medical qualifications granted by medical institutions outside the Provinces, i.e. by medical institutions outside the Provinces of India, and anyone having such a qualification was considered to have sufficient qualification for enrolment on any Provincial Medical Register. Under Section 13 a specific power was given to the Council during the period of four years after the commencement of the Act to enter into negotiations with the authority in any State or country outside the Provinces which is entrusted by the law of such State or country with the maintenance of a register of medical practitioners, for the settling of a scheme of reciprocity for the recognition of medical qualifications, and the course of such negotiations was to be reported to the Central Government, along with the decisions of the Council to recognise or to refuse to recognise the medical qualifications proposed by such authority for recognition in the Provinces. To the extent to which the decisions of the Council to recognise medical qualifications were accepted by the Central Government, they were to be embodied in a resolution and published in the Official Gazette specifying with sufficient accuracy all medical qualifications finally approved for recognition in the Provinces. A scheme of reciprocity for the recognition of medical qualifications could also be introduced after a period of four years after the commencement of the Act and the Central Government was required to amend the Second Schedule in pursuance of such a scheme. Under Section 15, every medical institution in the Provinces which granted a recognised medical qualification was bound to furnish such information as the Council required from time to time as to the courses of study and examinations to be undergone in order to obtain such qualification, as to the ages at which such courses of study and examinations are required to be undergone, and such qualification is conferred, and generally as to the requisites for obtaining such qualification. A more substantial power of inspection of examinations was invested in the Council under Section 16 under which the Executive Committee was empowered to appoint medical inspectors to attend at any or all of the examinations held by medical institutions in the Provinces for the purpose of granting recognised medical qualifications. Under Section 16A, which was added a little later in 1942, the Council could appoint visitors to attend at any or all of the examinations held by medical institutions in the Provinces for the purpose of granting recognised medical qualification. The power to recommend withdrawal of recognition was also given to the Council under Section 17. Under Section 18 the Council, with the previous sanction of the Central Government, could make Regulations generally to carry out the purposes of the Act and specifically for some of the enumerated purposes.
25. This, in short, was the scheme of the powers and functions of the Medical Council of India constituted under the Act of 1933. We asked the learned Counsel for the Council whether any Regulations had been framed by the Medical Council of India in exercise of its powers under Section 18 of the Act of 1933. A copy of such, regulations framed by the Council had been produced before us and it shows that these Regulations came into operation with effect from April 1, 1937. But even a cursory perusal of these Regulations will >show that they do not contain any provision either prescribing standards of education or the requirements of conditions to be satisfied for admission to any of the medical courses at the Universities or at other medical institutions maintained in the Provinces.
26. Thereafter in 1,956 came to be passed the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (No. CII of 1956) which is still in force with the amendments made to it from time to time. It is necessary to notice only the salient changes made in the powers and functions of the Council in the light of the experience that might have been gained with the functioning of the Council for over 20 years. There does not appear to be a substantial change of much consequence in the analogous provisions of Sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the new Act from those in the previous Act. Similarly, the power to call for and obtain information from every University and medical institutions in India which grants a recognised medical qualification continues to be vested in the Council under Section 16 of the new Act.
27. Substantial and important changes have been made in the Act of 1956 by the Central Act No, XXIV of 1964 so far as the powers and functions of the Medical Council of India are concerned. The power to appoint inspectors or visitors to attend at the time of examination has been further enlarged in some respects and an express power is given by the amended provisions of Section 19 to make a representation to the Central Government in case it appears to the Council that the courses of study and examination to be undergone in, or the proficiency required from candidates at any examination held by, any University or medical institution, or that the staff, equipment, accommodation, training and other facilities for instruction and training provided in such University or medical institution or in any college or other institution affiliated to that University do not conform to the standards prescribed by the Council. An important provision has been added as Section 19-A to the Act regarding the minimum standards of medical education. That section is as follows:
19A. (1) The Council may prescribe the minimum standards of medical education required for granting recognised medical qualifications (other than post-graduate medical qualifications) by Universities or medical institutions in India.
(2) Copies of the draft regulations and of all subsequent amendments thereof shall be furnished by the Council to all State Governments and the Council shall, before submitting the regulations or any amendment thereof, as the case may be, to the Central Government for sanction, take into consideration the comments of any State Government received within three months from the furnishing of the copies as aforesaid.
(3) The Committee shall from time to time report to the Council on the efficacy of the regulations and may recommend to the Council such amendments thereof as it may think fit.
28. It will be seen that for the first time by this Section 19-A the Council has been given express power to prescribe the minimum standard of medical education required for granting recognized medical qualifications and this prescription has to be made by the Council being- required to furnish draft Regulations to all State Governments and before submitting its recommendations or proposed Regulations or amendments to the Central Government, a duty is cast on the Council to take into consideration the comments of any State Government received within the prescribed time. This important innovation, while arming the Council with the power to prescribe minimum standards, at the same time ensures an opportunity to the parties concerned and the State Governments to make representations regarding the Regulations proposed to be made in this behalf which are bound to affect instruction in medical education given in their respective States.
29. The only other important provision of the Act of 1956 which is required to be noticed is the independent power of the Central Government to make rules to carry out the purposes of the Act given under Section 32 thereof, the rules being required to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament, and the power to make Regulations given to the Council under Section 33. By the amendment effected in 1964 express power is given to the Indian Medical Council to make Regulations regarding, among others, the following- matters:
(j) the courses and period of study and of practical training to be undertaken, the subjects of examination and the standards of proficiency therein to be obtained, in Universities or medical institutions for grant of recognised medical qualifications ;
(k) the standards of staff, equipment, accommodation, training and other facilities for medical education;
(l) the conduct of professional examinations, qualifications of examiners and the conditions of admission to such examinations ;
(m) the standards of professional conduct and etiquette and code of ethics to be observed by medical practitioners; ...
We may mention that by the addition of Section 20-A, the Council seems to have been made the custodian of the standards of professional conduct and etiquette and is authorised to prescribe a code of ethics for medical practitioners. For this purpose, express powers to make Regulations in that behalf have also been given to the Council.
30. One of the questions that has arisen for consideration in this petition is what was the function of the Council vis-a-vis the prescription of courses to maintain such standards and the prescription of qualifications for admission to examinations and the manner in which that function ought to be exercised according to the scheme of the Act, It was urged on behalf of respondent No. 1 Council before us that the fact that under the provisions of Section 11(2) of the Act, the Central Government was required to consult the Council in the matter of recognition of any medical qualification for inclusion in the First Schedule implied a power in the Council to prescribe standards of education for obtaining such medical qualification, and this interpretation was reinforced by reference to the preamble to the Act which states that the Act is made to provide for the reconstitution of the Medical Council of India, and the maintenance of a Medical Register for India and for matters connected therewith, as well as the preamble to the Act of 1933 which declared that the Act was being passed because it was expedient to constitute a Medical Council in India in order to establish a uniform minimum standard of higher qualifications in medicine for all Provinces. 'We are unable to see how merely by reference to the preambles in the two Acts the consultative status which was granted to the Council would be exalted to the position of an authoritative body empowered to prescribe standards of medical education until the Act was so amended in 1964. It is undoubtedly true that the opinion of an exalted body consisting of professional experts in the matter of medical education would be received with respect, and obviously for that purpose the Legislature made it obligatory on the Central Government to have the benefit of such consultation and opinion. But as far as we can see, throughout the the Act as it then was till the amendments were made in 1964, the ultimate authority to take decision in matters was with the Central Government. Even after the amendments made in 1964, the power that is given to the Council is the power to frame Regulations, but the Regulations become effective only after they are sanctioned by the Central Government. We are, therefore, at a loss to understand how the various resolutions passed by the Council could have anything but advisory value though undoubtedly that was an advice coming from, a disinterested source and was entitled to every respect, and wherever possible, to acceptance by the authorities concerned in the implementation of the scheme of the Act. But we do not think that beyond this consultative status of the Council, where the Council does not choose to exercise its power of framing Regulations for prescribing standards of medical education, which power has been expressly vested in it under Section 19-A and for which specific power to make Regulations has been given under Section 33 by amending the clauses, the Council is not required to bring about the same result.
31. It is a well-known principle of construction of statutes that where a power is given to an authority to do a thing and the manner of exercising that power is also indicated, then the authority is expected and required by the law to exercise the power only in the manner and to the extent indicated in the Act. In this connection, reliance was placed on a decision of the Supreme Court in Dargah Committee v. State of Rajasthan : 2SCR265 . 'We have been taken through the whole of the decision, but we do not think that the principle on which that case was decided is of assistance to the respondent Council in so far as their failure to frame Regulations for prescribing the standard of education and other ancillary matters is concerned. We are touching on this topic merely to show that the resolutions passed from time to time have a relatively limited consequence. They are advisory in character and cannot replace the force or authority of Regulations which the 'Council is empowered to frame if it wants to lay down standards and make them a binding rule of conduct on all those who are entrusted with the task of imparting medical education in this country. We need not pursue this matter further inasmuch as we have come to the conclusion that the last resolution passed by the Council dated October 28, 1966, could not have the effect of wiping away the permission already given to the petitioners-students making them eligible for admission to the condensed M.B., B.S. course provided they satisfied the conditions of the resolution dated April 5/6, 1963, i.e. that they hold the Diploma in Medical Practice and have cleared the condensed L. M. P. course as prescribed by the Council.
32. In view of our decision above, we must quash the resolution of the Medical Council of India, which is a statutory body and which is entitled to render an appeal or advice, as it may have an adverse effect on the right of these students to be considered eligible to the condensed M.B., B.S. course. Accordingly we quash the resolution of the Council dated October 28, 1966. The result is that the petition is allowed. As the petitioners have succeeded, they are entitled to costs against respondent No. 1.