Medical Manual not sole repository of all ailments that make candidate unfit for Armed Forces appointment: HC

Published On 2022-01-11 04:00 GMT   |   Update On 2022-01-11 04:00 GMT

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court in a recent judgment noted that the Medical Manual cannot be stated to be the sole repository of all ailments that may make a person medically unfit for appointment in the Armed Forces. As per a media report in the Live Law, the bench consisting of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Manmohan noted, "The doctors conducting the medical examination are...

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court in a recent judgment noted that the Medical Manual cannot be stated to be the sole repository of all ailments that may make a person medically unfit for appointment in the Armed Forces. 

As per a media report in the Live Law, the bench consisting of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Manmohan noted, 

"The doctors conducting the medical examination are the best judge to understand the complexity of the human body and the myriad of ailments that it may suffer from and the repercussions thereof. Medical Manual cannot lay down all the complex ailments/grounds that would make a candidate unfit for appointment to Armed Forces, whose demands are most extracting with the personnel being posted to extreme weather conditions."

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The court was hearing a petition filed by law graduate seeking to re-conduct the petitioner's medical examination and to issue a joining letter to the petitioner enabling him to report to the Officer Training Academy, Chennai for Short Service Commission (JAG) (MEN) 27th Course. The petition had applied to the 'JAG ENTRY SCHEME 27TH COURSE (OCT 2021): SHORT SERVICE COMMISSION (NT) COURSE FOR LAW GRADUATE (MEN AND WOMEN)', for the post of 'Judge and Advocate General'.

However, after completing two stages of the selection process, the petitioner was verbally communicated that he is medically unfit on the ground of 'Polycythaemia' and his haemoglobin levels are 17.1 g/dl, which is high by the Special Medical Board held at the Military Hospital, Allahabad. 

He then applied for a Review Medical Board (in short, 'RMB') which was conducted at Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune after which he was verbally informed, once again, that he is medically declared unfit on the ground of 'Polycythaemia. 

He, however, got himself tested at a private laboratory wherein his CBC report was normal with haemoglobin levels at 16.1 g/dl, which are well within the biological level for a healthy adult male as per international medical standards. The repeated tests conducted by the petitioner had ruled out the possibility of him suffering from 'Polycythaemia'.

The petitioner therefore submitted that the 'Manual of Medical Examination and Medical Standard for Various Entries into Army, TRG Academies and Military School' (hereinafter referred to as the 'Medical Manual') prescribes only the lower limit and not the upper limit/ceiling for haemoglobin levels. He argued that the rejection of his candidature is manifestly arbitrary and unreasonable. 

He further submits that the other tests which the petitioner got conducted on his own accord clearly show that the petitioner is not suffering from 'Polycythaemia', adding that his tests show a minor difference as compared to the biological WP(C)13904/2021 Page 4 of 8 permissible limit of haemoglobin in a healthy adult male. 

The bench then subsequently had directed one of the doctors, who had examined the petitioner at the RMB stage, to appear before the Court. He told the cpurt that Polycythaemia in the Armed Forces could lead to problems both at high altitudes and in deserts. It observed, "In our opinion, in the Armed Forces, the medical standard should be even more strictly adhered to only for the reason that the armed personnel have to perform their duties in the most strenuous and hostile atmosphere and terrains."

Dismissing the petition, the court noted that the various test reports relied upon by the petitioner could not justify any interference with the medical opinion of the respondents, especially since the petitioner did not deny the result of the three tests reports, reports the Live Law

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