53 PG medical doctors reach HC after govt withholds their documents on rural service
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court has recently issued notice to concerned authorities while considering a plea by a bunch of post-graduate medical students, who moved the court over a dispute with the State Government regarding bonds for rural service.
This comes after the State Government withheld their documents, including their certificates, Aadhaar cards as the doctors, after completing their two years of medical education from Civil Hospital campus, failed to serve in the rural areas as required by their bonds, adds TOI.
While considering the plea, the High Court bench comprising of Justice Bhargav Karia on Tuesday issued notice to the authorities and sought their reply by September 21.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the Gujarat Government while providing details regarding the healthcare facilities in the State had revealed before the assembly that during the course of last two years, more than 83 per cent MBBS graduates have opted out of the mandatory rural service.
Out of the 2,269 MBBS pass-outs in the last two years as of December 2020, as many as 1,894 did not turn up for their services in rural areas, while only 373 youth displayed their loyalty towards the state, which is a paltry 16.43 percent.
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, the bonds required these PG doctors to serve in the rural areas after getting their degrees. In case they failed, they were required to forfeit Rs 50 lakh bond amount. However, the students claimed that those bonds were never executed and thus they were not bound by its conditions.
The State Government authorities, on the other hand, clarified that the doctors are required to serve in the rural areas for three years as per the bonds. As the terms of the bonds have not been fulfilled the Government decided not to give them their certificates, marksheets and other personal documents back.
As a result, the doctors are not able to do private practice as well. Thus, challenging the Government's stand these doctors have moved to the High Court through their advocates Sharvil Majmudar and senior advocate Mihir Joshi. They have questioned the Government's decision of withholding their documents and have demanded immediate release of the same.
Earlier, around 251 postgraduate and super-speciality doctors practising in Gujarat had moved the Gujarat High Court challenging the move by the State Health Department, which had lodged FIR against 799 bonded doctors under provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
This had come after the Gujarat Health Department had issued orders and called 1,415 bonded expert doctors to join Covid-19 duty and for their appointment as Class-1 posts of experts from May 7. However, the Government hadn't got satisfactory response from the doctors and thus the commissioner of health had issued an order on June 20 to all district health officers and medical officers of the municipal corporations, asking them to direct concerned police stations to lodge FIRs against 799 bonded doctors.
At that time, the High Court had expressed that it was disturbed by the unwillingness on the part of the doctors to join the service at the time of need.
TOI adds that a similar case was being heard by the High Court where an MBBS graduate from GMERS college had sought legal help as the Government withheld documents saying that he should either pay Rs 2 lakh towards bond or serve in the rural areas for two years. The father of the student argued before the court that if the documents were not released the student wouldn't be able to survive abroad because he would not be able to get employed.
Responding to the plea, the HC bench has asked the Government under which rule it withheld the documents of a student and mentioned, "This is nothing but barbarism." When the counsel for the Government tried to defend the stand of the State saying that the execution of the bond got delayed as the Government had taken a sympathetic approach.
However, the Court clarified that the Government cannot ruin a person's career by withholding the documents, if they were sympathetic at the first place. The bench also criticized the Government for showing sympathy to those who are not worthy and run away after studies instead of serving in the rural areas.