FMGE 2021: Delhi HC to Hear Doctors' Plea Challenging Charges Imposed for Postponing test
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday said it will hear on Jul 12, a plea by doctors challenging imposition of cost and certain adverse observations made by the court while dismissing their petition seeking to postpone the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) screening test due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country.
A vacation bench of Justices C Hari Shankar and Subramonium Prasad said there was no justification for taking up the matter now and listed it before the roster bench on July 12.
"You are only challenging the costs and adverse observations, let it come before the roster bench," the court said.
Petitioner, Association of MD Physicians, has filed an appeal challenging a single judge's June 11 order imposing a cost of Rs 25,000 and making certain remarks while dismissing the petition seeking to postpone the exam which was scheduled for June 18.
The association, which also has as members some foreign medical graduates who have completed their primary medical courses in institutions abroad, had said there are a limited number of cities being notified as centres for the FMGE screening test and a large number of candidates will be forced to travel without having received even one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The single judge, while dismissing the petition had said there was no doubt that while arriving at the decision to hold the FMGE- June, 2021 on the scheduled date, the respondents, National Board of Examination (NBE) and National Medical Commission (NMC) have considered all aspects of the matter.
The court had said the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic reached its peak in India in April and early May and thereafter the numbers have been steadily declining and it would be in public interest if more doctors were added to the workforce in order to be prepared for a possible third wave.
"Even otherwise, there is no legal right in favour of the petitioner Association, representing 41 candidates, to seek postponement of an examination for which more than 18,000 candidates have registered. The candidates who are not comfortable taking the FMGE-June, 2021 are free to take it in the next session.
"The fact of the matter is that the COVID-19 pandemic is a reality that one has to live with, for at least some time in the future, but all essential activities will have to go on, albeit with necessary precautionary measures," it had said.
The court had further said that the association had approached the court at a highly belated stage, that is, June 6, when the Information Bulletin for the FMGE- June, 2021 had been out since April 16 and the peak of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was seemingly behind us.
Advocate T Singhdev, representing NMC, had earlier contended, "We need more doctors as the third wave of the virus is coming. This is an exam for the entire nation and not only for these few petitioners. If they do not want to take the exam now, they can give it in December but they cannot stall the test for everyone else in the country."
The association had sought to set aside the time schedule for conducting the June 2021 FMGE in the April 15 notice and the April 16 information bulletin titled 'Foreign Medical Graduate Exam Screening Test information bulletin June 2021 session' published by the NBE.
The plea had said that in accordance with the Indian Medical Council Act and Screening Test Regulations 2002, persons possessing medical qualifications awarded by a foreign institution are required to qualify the FMGE Screening Test in order to receive recognition for their medical qualifications and to be registered to the State medical councils to practice medicine in India.
The plea had said on one hand the authorities have postponed the National Eligibility Entrance Test (Post Graduate) -2021 due to the ongoing pandemic, on the other hand, they have decided to conduct the FMGE screening test at times when the country is overcoming the second wave and preparing for the third wave of the pandemic.
Challenging the April notice and the information bulletin, the petitioners contended that the decision of the authorities was arbitrary and unreasonable and sought postponement of the FMGE to a later date.