Higher studies of doctors cannot be thwarted by anyone, Madras HC relief to DNB General Surgery aspirant
Madurai: Ruling that once a Doctor is able to get admission in PG Medical course, or any other higher Speciality course, that kind of chance cannot be thwarted by anyone including the Government or an Employer, the Madras High Court has allowed the plea of the doctor. In holding so, the HC has issued directions to the state for releasing the documents of the medico so he can pursue DNB General Surgery (Broad Speciality) course.
The observation was made by the Madurai bench of honorable Justice Suresh Kumar during a hearing of the petition filed by the doctor seeking directions from the court to the state authorities to return the original certificates of the petitioner including SSLC, HSC, CRRI Completion Certificate, Degree Certificate, MCI Registration Certificate, Community Certificate, Course cum Conduct Certificate for the purpose of admission into DNB General Surgery (Broad Speciality) Course in the Dr.Rangarajan Memorial Hospital.
Via the petition, the medico submitted and informed the court that he was appointed as Assistant Surgeon (General) and was posted at Government Primary Health Centre, Erwadi, Paramakudi Health Unit District. Since he wanted to pursue Post Graduate Course in Medical Service, he participated in the competitive examination and ultimately, he had been selected for admission to the course of Post Graduate in DNB General Surgery (Broad Speciality) and accordingly, the allotment order was given by the National Board of Examinations, according to which, the petitioner was asked to report to the allotted Institution on or before 20.08.2020.
In anticipation of such a selection, the petitioner had decided to leave his job. Accordingly, he had tendered his resignation in July already. However, it was not accepted and his certificates were not returned.
As a result, the petitioner was not able to join the allotted Institution till date for the admission to DNB course, for which he was selected. Therefore, in this regard, he had then given a representation also to the state authority and the same also since had not been considered, he submitted in his plea.
Aggrieved, the petitioner medico had moved the court seeking relief.
In response to the petition, the Counsel contending on behalf of the government submitted that according to the conditions in the appointment order, the petitioner should serve the government for three years and would not be permitted to pursue a PG medical course within two years. The said condition read:
"The individual should serve in Government for a period of not less than three years excluding any period spent on training, leave or higher education. Also, the individual should abide by the condition that after joining duty he /she will not be permitted to undergo Post Graduate course within the period of two years, excluding the period of leave"
It was submitted that within two years period, the petitioner would not be permitted to go for any PG Medical course and therefore, in the pretext of joining in the PG Course, the petitioner cannot seek for the certificates referred to in the prayer and leave from the job. The counsel added that since the petitioner is working in the Rural Health Centre in a remote area and during the COVID-19 period, basic medical facilities are to be given to the needy people in the rural area and only for the said purpose, the Government established various rural health care centres, like the Primary Health Care Centre in rural areas and accordingly, these Doctors were appointed to serve the needy people in that locality.
It was further argued that due to COVID-19 situation, since the Government is already struggling for want of more doctors and if the existing Doctors are leaving, by citing one reason or other, that would further aggravate the situation.
After hearing the submissions from both sides, the bench noted:
No doubt, now, we are passing through very difficult period in our life time, where, not only our country but the whole world, is struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic situation, where, the Doctors in the medical field, supporting staff and paramedical staff are in the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.
No doubt, the petitioner is a Doctor, who has been recently appointed and he is working in a rural area of the State. Therefore, his services is required for the betterment of the rural and needy people in that locality
But at the same time, in the field of Medicine, we need more qualified people with updation, that alone will help the Society at large, as they can bring so much laurels in the field of Medicine for the benefit of humanity
Accounting that a chance of studying higher specialty course comes after a great deal of struggle, the bench observed,
Moreover, if a Doctor with U.G. qualification is getting a chance to go for higher course like P.G. Medical Course or subsequently Super Speciality course, for which, after great struggle, by participating in the competitive exam, once the Doctor is able to get admission in P.G. Medical course, or any other higher Speciality course, that kind of chance cannot be thwarted by anyone including the Government / Employer
we have to balance both sides, as in one side, the Government needs more Doctors to serve the Society at large in a better way and on the other side, the Doctors have to equip themselves by acquiring more and more qualification.
Further, the bench said that once the petitioner decided to quit his job for the purpose of joining PG Medical course, the concerned authorities have no right to withhold his services by citing the reasons of COVID-19. It added that once the petitioner has been selected in the P.G. Medical course, and within a time frame as fixed by the Selection Authority, unless and until the petitioner reports to the Institution, where he has been selected and going to be admitted, he may be in a position to lose the chance of getting admission, that will be an irreparable loss on the part of the petitioner, which will not be easily compensated.
Concluding on the case, the bench, while disposing of the petition, issued a set of directions to the state as follows:
"(i) The Director of Public Health is directed to accept the resignation submitted by the petitioner dated 28.07.2020, to the third respondent, which was forwarded to the first respondent, on 29.07.2020, who in turn would forward the same immediately to the 2nd respondent, if not already forwarded and at the same time, return back all the original certificates such as SSLC, HSC, CRRI Completion Certificate, Degree Certificate, MCI Registration Certificate, Community Certificate, Course cum Conduct Certificate to the petitioner forthwith, enabling him to join in the P.G. Medical Course as per the allotment order given by the fourth respondent / National Board of Examinations, dated 17.08.2020 and the needful as indicated above shall be immediately undertaken without any further loss of time, by the respondents;
and (ii) In view of the above, the Hospital is directed to keep one seat of Post Graduate in DNB General Surgery (Broad Speciality) Course vacant, for a period of one week enabling the petitioner to submit the certificates, pursuant to the direction issued above."