(1.) The petitioners who are the final year MBBS students in G.S.L. Medical College, Lakshmipuram, Rajahmundry and failed in the practical examinations pray for writ of mandamus declaring the action of the respondent Nos.2 and 3 in not considering the representation dtd. 13/9/2021 of the petitioners and not conducting re-examination of the practicals for final MBBS part-II examinations in obstetrics and gynecology as illegal, arbitrary and for a consequential direction to respondents to conduct the re-examination of practicals.
(2.) Petitioners' case succinctly is thus:
The petitioners' college is affiliated to 2nd respondent University which has issued notification for conducting MBBS Part-II Final Examination in August, 2021. As per the practice, the 2nd respondent will first conduct the prtactical examination and then theory examination. The University issued the schedule for the practical and theory examinations and allotted Rangaraya Medical College (for short 'RMC'), Kakinada as examination center for the students of G.S.L. Medical College, Rajahmundry, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences (for short 'KIMS'), Amalapuram and RMC, Kakinada. As per MCI/NMC regulations, the practical examinations shall be conducted by four examiners - two external examiners and two internal examiners and examination shall be conducted for a batch consisting of twenty students per day. The 2nd respondent appointed one internal examiner each from RMC and G.S.L. Medical College depriving the students of Rajahmundry of having two internal examiners. Similar pattern was followed for the students of KIMS, Amalapuram. However, RMC, Kakinada is concerned, two internal examiners were appointed from the said college.
(a) The practical examinations shall be conducted by the aforesaid four examiners physically in the examination hall by observing the performance of the students. Holding of practical examinations through online is not prescribed by MCI/NMC/University. However, only three examiners were physically present and the fourth examiner decided to conduct practical examination online through whats app which is contrary to the rules and regulations. Added to it on the date of examination the RMC, Kakinada could not provide proper networking facility for holding the examination and thereby there was lot of disturbance and breakdown in the communication through whats app. The internal examiners tried to inform the same to the fourth/external examiner. However, he has not listened to the remarks or observations of the internal examiners and he unilaterally awarded marks to the students without conducting the examination properly and without consulting them. Immediately the students reported about the irregularity in holding the practical examination to the 2nd respondent. The internal examiners also informed about the improper conduct of examination by the fourth examiner to the 2nd respondent. It came to petitioners' knowledge that the students of KIMS, Amalapuram also faced similar problem during practical examination. They also came to know that as against the norm of conducting examination for 20 students per day, examination was conducted for more than 20 students. The petitioners thus requested the 2nd respondent to conduct re-examination. However, there was no response. The petitioners secured good marks in the theory examination but surprisingly they failed in the practical examinations. In similar circumstances re-examination of the practicals were earlier conducted by the 2nd respondent University. Hence, the writ petition.
(3.) Respondents 2 and 3 filed counter contending thus:
(a) The MBBS course is governed by the regulations prescribed by the Apex body i.e., the 4th respondent / National Medical Commission (NMC). Being a professional course each student shall acquire sufficient skills in both theory and practical examinations towards training of students and to undertake responsibilities of physician of first contact. Accordingly, the University conducted practical examinations by following norms and advisories issued in the light of Covid-19 pandemic by the 4th respondent.
(b) The University issued notification for conducting of MBBS Final year Part-II theory examinations from 3/8/2021 followed by practical examinations from 24/8/2021. For supplementary examinations less number of students will take the exam and therefore as per regular practice, nearest colleges were clubbed for examination centre. As such RMC, Kakinada was fixed as clubbed-examination center for students of RMC, Kakinada, GSL Medical College, Rajahmundry and KIMS, Amalapuram.
(c) The final MBBS Part-II theory and practical examinations were conducted as per guidelines dtd. 25/11/2020, 9/4/2021 and 19/4/2021 of the 4th respondent. All the principals were advised that they shall ensure strict compliance of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and respective State / UT Government regarding Covid-19 preventive measures including social distance etc.
(d) The following guidelines were issued by the 4th respondent:
1) No person shall be appointed as an examiner in any of the subjects of the professional examination leading to and including the final professional examination for the award of the MBBS degree unless he / she has taken at least five years previously, a doctorate degree from a recognized University or an equivalent qualification in the particular subject as per recommendation of the council on teachers' eligibility qualifications and has had at least five years of total teaching experience in the subject concerned in a college affiliated to a recognized University at a faculty position.
2) There shall be at least four examiners for 100 students, out of whom not less than 50% must be external examiners. Of the four examiners, the senior most internal examiner will act as the Chairman and coordinator of the whole examination programme so that uniformity in the matter of assessment of candidates is maintained. Where candidates exceed 100, one additional examiner, for every additional 50 candidates shall be appointed.
3) Non medical scientists engaged in the teaching of medical students as whole time teachers, may be appointed examiners in their concerned subjects provided they possess requisite doctorate qualifications and five year teaching experience of medical students after obtaining their postgraduate qualifications. Provided further that the 50% of the examiners (Internal and External) are from the medical qualification stream.
4) External examiners shall not be from the same university and preferably be from outside the State. (5) The internal examiner in a subject shall not accept external examinership for a college from which external examiner is appointed in his subject.
5) A university having more than one college shall have separate sets of examiners for each college, with internal examiners from the concerned college.
6) External examiners shall rotate at an interval of 2 years.
7) There shall be a Chairman of the Board of paper-setters who shall be an internal examiner and shall moderate the questions.
8) Except Head of the department of subject concerned in a college/institution, all other with the rank of reader or equivalent and above with requisite qualifications and experience shall be appointed internal examiners by rotation in their subjects; provided that where there are no posts of readers, then an Assistant Professor of 5 years standing as Assistant Professor may be considered for appointment as examiner.
(e) Apart from the above regulations, the 4th respondent issued revised advisory vide letter dtd. 19/4/2021 for conducting Final MBBS Part-II Theory and Practical examinations in view of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in the Country. As per said advisory, the NMC, New Delhi has given a provision that if the external examiners are not able to travel, they may conduct the exams online and the internal examiners should be available physically for the conduct of examinations. Accordingly, University appointed four examiners i.e., 02 internal examiners and 02 external examiners duly allowing the externals for conducting examinations online as per NMC advisory. When the practicals are conducting in a clubbed- examination center, the first internal shall be from the college wherein the examination center is fixed for all the students and the second internal shall be from the respective college. Accordingly,the faculty of RMC, Kakinada acted as first internal examiner and the faculty from G.S.L.Medical College, Rajahmundry acted as second internal examiner.The practical examination for the students of GSL Medical College, Rajahmundry in the subject of OBG was conducted on 24/8/2021. Four examiners i.e., two internals and two externals have conducted the examination. No technical problem or other problem was reported by the examiners or students to the University during the practical examination. The four examiners have assessed the performance of the students and gave the statement of marks of all the students. Basing on those marks results were generated. Hence, the contention of the petitioners that one external who conducted examination online has not properly assessed their performance is not correct. The marks awarded to each candidate were the total marks given by all the four examiners. A similar W.P.No.10878 of 2021 filed by some petitioners, was dismissed by this Court.
(f) It is further contended that the University has already issued notification for conducting the next theory examinations for the regular and supplementary batches from 18/1/2022 followed by practical examinations. The failed candidates can apply for the said examinations as supplementary candidates as per the norms of the 4th respondent. Hence the writ petition may be dismissed. ;