In the month of August 2015, the government came out with a decision of not giving the ‘No objection’ certificate to doctors migrating abroad for further studies. The justification of the same came as there is a large issue of vacant posts to be tackled back at home and in such circumstances, ” Brain Drain” of medical practitioners to foreign countries needs to be avoided. Hence the decision came, with the government deciding not to issue No Obligation to Return to India certificate to migrating doctors.
Read more at Medical Dialogues: Government not to issue ‘No objection’ certificate for migrating doctors
The policy became life changing for one Dr Sunil Moothi, who while being an MBBS doctor, had been working in the US as a research Scientist for little less than three years, and had been forced to return to India following the policy. Given the nature of his work in the US, his return of India brought him to a state of Joblessness.
The doctor soon knocked the doors of the Bombay High court, challenging the decision of the central government. His lawyers clearly pointed out in the court, that though being an Indian medical graduate, Noothi is not practicing medicine in US, rather is engaged in research. A Bio medical Researcher at the University of Kentucky, he had been associated as a post doctoral scholar with its department of Microbiology, Immunology and molecular genetics since 2013. He had also been funded over $1.5 million on his project to find cure for blood cancer.
The Bombay High court, Aurangabad Bench responding to his plea, observed
It is clear that though the petitioner has obtained degree of M.B.B.S. and has got himself registered as a practitioner under the Karnataka Medical Registration Act, 1961, he actually neither practised as a Doctor/Medical Practitioner, nor intends to practise as such. If that be so, the policy decision taken by respondent no. 1(b) of not issuing NORI certificate to any Doctor for the purpose of stemming brain drain of Doctors and to cope up with the acute shortage of Doctors in India, cannot be made applicable to the petitioner. It is obvious that even if he resides in India, he is not going to render his services to the citizens of India as a Doctor because of his inclination in research work. It may be stated that research work requires special aptitude, intelligence, dedication, perseverance and deep concentration.
The circumstances, the refusal on the part of the respondents in issuing NORI Certificate in favour of the petitioner, making it difficult for him to prosecute his research work as contained in the letter (ExhibitD), dated 20.08.2013, does not appear to be fair, reasonable and proper. The research work taken up by the petitioner is likely to help the entire mankind. Therefore, it was expected of the respondents to encourage the petitioner for doing the research work by issuing NORI Certificate instead of creating technical hurdles in his commendable research project. At the most, the respondents could have imposed a condition that in case the petitioner starts practising medicine, the NORI Certificate would stand cancelled and he would be required to come back to India.
The court then ruled in the favour of the doctor, directing the Ministry of Health to issue him the requisite NORI certificate. The court was seen concluding
In our view, the policy decision taken by respondent No.1 (b) of not issuing NORI Certificate to the person holding medical qualifications cannot be made applicable to the petitioner who is a Research Scholar and not a Medical Practitioner.
The respondents are directed to reconsider the claim of the petitioner for grant of NORI Certificate in view of the fact that he is not a Medical Practitioner and is a Research Scholar. Respondent No. 1 (b) shall take decision on the claim of the petitioner for issue of NORI Certificate within three months from today on its own merits keeping in mind the fact that the petitioner is a Research Scholar and not a Medical Practitioner
Attached is the full judgement