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Bond Service Necessary: Division Bench at Guj HC stays single bench order

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Now, the MBBS passouts will have to sign the bond while taking admission in the PG medical courses in the Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) in Gujarat.

Ahmedabad: While upholding the state’s stand, the division bench at Gujarat High Court has stayed an earlier order of the single bench quashing Government Resolution (GR) which forced the students to furnish Rs 10 lakh bond as bank guarantee or solvency certificate for properties worth Rs 12 lakh as surety to compulsorily serve for 3 years in rural areas after post-graduation.

Now, the MBBS passouts will have to sign the bond while taking admission in the PG medical courses in the Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) in Gujarat.

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Medical Dialogues had earlier reported about the order passed by the single judge bench. At that time, the HC had struck down the requirement of mandatory 3-year bond service. These drew their powers from the government resolutions that were issued in 2017 and 2018 that had been quashed by the single bench court.

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The decision came given the petition by PG medical students from the single-judge bench of Justice Trivedi, which held the government’s diktat as “unreasonable” and in contravention of the Constitution.

In their petition, the medicos had pointed out the dilemma they face in rural areas on the educational front. The PG medicos had submitted that they do not get to learn anything for 3 years in rural areas because the hospitals lack facilities to treat patients. The policy also creates another class of citizens because those who are rich pay money and spare themselves from compulsory service in rural areas, and only those who cannot afford are required to serve.

The state government defended the compulsory bond services by speaking that much expenditure was incurred on the training of doctors and since qualified MBBS doctors are not available in rural areas. It was further submitted that between 2013 and 2018, 3,717 students executed bonds, and it has recovered Rs 41.52 crore from students who did not want to serve in rural areas.

The Court went through the matter and stated, “The expenditure incurred by the state on medical education cannot be permitted to be recovered from a class of students who have got admission in PG courses on their own merits.”

The court further said that such bond agreement and the conditions mentioned therein are opposed to public policy and therefore void. The government is in dominating position and the students are not similarly situated. They have no choice but to give assent to bond agreement, though the conditions are too harsh, unreasonable and onerous. Making students sign such bonds is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. The HC also stressed on students’ right to education and held the practice illegal because students do not sign on their “free will”.

The High Court further criticized the government circular by which it “literally tried to cause fear in the minds of the students” when it said that their stipend would be stopped, exam hall tickets would be denied to them, if they did not furnish the bond in the circular issued in February.

Read Also: Gujarat HC Strikes down 3 years Compulsory Bond Service Rule

Aggrieved by the said ruling, the state moved the division bench. Mirror reports two-judge bench upheld the resolution by setting aside the order issued by the single judge and observed that practising as a doctor is a noble profession and doctors should serve in rural areas as a part of the service to the society once they graduate. The government has fairly decided to seek bonds from them, it observed.

Admitting the appeal filed by the state government challenging the single judge’s order, the HC stayed the earlier order and issued a notice to the students who had challenged the requirement for service in rural areas and furnishing of a bond. A further hearing has been posted for October, adds TOI.

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Source: with inputs

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