Delhi HC refuses to postpone FMGE June 2021 exam
New Delhi: In the latest development, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the plea by foreign medicos seeking postponement of the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) by one month. The screening test is scheduled to take place on June 18, 2021.
After listening to the submissions made by both the petitioner doctors and the Centre, the High Court bench of Justice Amit Bansal observed on Friday, "I am not inclined. Dismissed."
This comes after seeking direction on the National Board of Examinations (NBE) to postpone the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination, a bunch of medicos had approached the Delhi High Court citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.
The FMGE-Screening Test has been introduced through Screening Test Regulations 2002. As per the regulations, "An Indian citizen/Overseas citizen of India possessing a primary medical qualification awarded by any medical institution outside India who is desirous of getting provisional or permanent registration with apex medical regulator or any State Medical Council on or after 15.03.2002 shall have to qualify a screening test conducted by the prescribed authority for that purpose as per the provisions of section 13 of the Act."
Medical Dialogues had recently reported the medicos who have pursued their medical education from abroad have come under the banner of Association of MD Physician and objected to appearing for the FMG examination scheduled to take place on June 18, 2021. The association had pleaded to delay the examination at least by one month and allow the candidates to vaccinate themselves before appearing for the same.
However, opposing the plea, the Centre had submitted before the Court that FMGE is merely a screening test and the candidates who are unable to write the examination now, may appear for the same in December.
During the previous hearing, the counsel for the petitioner doctors had submitted "There are 46 Centres in India. When people move from one place to another they have to come with a negative RT PCR report and they have to lodge themselves in the city. I have to come one day prior to the exam... I also have to come early and not be allowed to carry mobile phones and other valuables inside... so I have to bring somebody along with me to take care of my valuables...," seeking a 4-week postponement, allotment of more centres, and facilities for the candidates to place their belongings in the exam centre.
Responding to this, the Centre had argued that around 18,600 students have registered to appear for the examination and there are already 98 centres across 52 cities, which is already double the number of centres available in the pre-covid era. The counsel for the Centre further argued that the petition itself was flawed since the Association did not have the authority to file petition on the behalf of the students.
In response, the HC vacation bench had asked the petitioner to place on record the resolution authorizing the association to file the present petition. Apart from this, the Court had also directed the Centre to submit any document showing that Covid considerations were taken while conducting the exams in mid-June.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, during the hearing of the case on Friday, the counsel for the petitioner argued that the exam was earlier postponed by a month when there was no pandemic. However, he further pointed out that considering the current situation, when the threat of Covid-19 is higher than ever, the repeated pleas of the doctors were not being taken into account.
He further argued that conducting the examination on June 18 would be in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, adding that even if a doctor didn't wish to appear for the examination in June there was no provision made to carry forward the fees for the test to the next year or any process to refund it, reports Bar and Bench.
The counsel for the Centre argued that the screening test would ensure an increase in the number of practising doctors during the pandemic, adding that all the necessary safety protocols were being followed on the basis of the suggestions made by the examination committee.
The Centre, National Medical Commission and National Board of Examination all opposed the petition and submitted before the Court that ever since the emergence of the pandemic, the test had already been conducted twice. 17,198 and 18,576 aspirants appeared in the test held in August 2020 and December 2020, respectively, they submitted.
After listening to all the contentions, the Delhi HC vacation bench on Friday dismissed the plea saying, "I am not inclined. Dismissed."
With the HC orders, the NBE has now released the conduct of FMGE June 2021 in view of the COVID appropriate behaviour.