MBBS Doctors challenge Karnataka Compulsory Rural Service Act: HC issues notice to State, Centre, NMC
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has recently issued notice to the State Government, Central Government, and the National Medical Commission (NMC) while listening to a petition filed by a bunch of medical students challenging the validity of the Karnataka Compulsory Service Act.
The 44 students who have now completed MBBS course from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, in the petition filed on April 5 questioned the legality of the Karnataka Compulsory Service by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act 2012 ("Compulsory Act"), which mandated one year of compulsory Government service.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, the students moved the HC after the DME in the notification dated 15.02.2021 directed the colleges to withhold all the original documents of students who have completed their medical courses. The petitioners questioned the notification issued by the Directorate of Medical Education asking medical colleges, including the college from which the petitioners completed their course, to withhold all original documents of students who have completed the course to enable them to undergo one-year compulsory service.
Though the High Court in August 2019 upheld the constitutional validity of the Act, the petitioners contended that the law on compulsory government service cannot continue to operate after the Central government notified the National Medical Commission (NMC) Act, 2019, which came into force in September 2019.
Apart from challenging the legality of the Compulsory Service, the plea also sought to quash Rule 11 of the Karnataka Selection of Candidates for Admission to Government Seats in Professional Educational Rules 2006, as it relates to candidates admitted to the MBBS course executing bonds which is ultra vires to the Karnataka Professional Education Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fees) Act 2006, Karnataka Educational Institutions Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act 1984 Act, as well as National Medical Commission Act 2019, reports Live Law.
The plea also sought directions for quashing the Rule 12 of the Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Completed Medical Courses (Counselling, Allotment and Certification ) Rules 2015, dated 24-7- 2015 as it relates to issuance of completion certificate to candidates who have successfully completed rural service as not only ultra vires to the Karnataka Professional Education Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fees) Act 2006 but ultra vires the University Grants Commission Act 1956 and National Medical Commission Act 2019 .
The High Court had upheld the constitutional validity of Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act, 2012 and Rules of 2015, which made in mandatory for students who had completed medical courses to perform compulsory service before getting awards or degrees and diplomas.
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that in a recent judgment as well, while relief to the post-graduation medical students, who took admission in 2017-18 and 2016-17, from "Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act, 2012", the HC denied the submissions by the petitioners regarding the validity of the Act in question.
However, in this fresh plea, the candidates have contended that after the National Medical Commission (NMC) came into existence there was a paradigm shift that took place in medical education. Following this, the States lost their rights to regulate the medical college admissions through policymaking and legislation.
Now, the power to regulate the medical courses in the country remains in the hand of Central Government only through the NMC.
Thus, in the plea, the counsel for the students contended that the notification issued by the DME stemmed out of the Compulsory Act which has become a non-est law in light of the NMC Act and by the upholding of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) by the Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Apex Court.
It has been also contended on the behalf of the students that many states in India do not have such compulsory rural service scheme. This resulted in inequality for the students pursuing their medical education in different states of the country and it violated the fundamental rights as well. Pointing out that the apex court had asked the Central government to frame a uniform policy on compulsory government service as many States had no such service and about 11 States had compulsory service period for different years, the petitioner said State cannot impose such service as such a power now vested only with the NMC.
The single judge bench comprising of Justice R Devdas took note of the submissions made by Additional Government Advocate (AGA) that "as of now the State Government, Director of Medical Education/The Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Department has not called for any Counseling in respect of the allotment of Primary Health Centres/ Government Hospital for Compulsory Rural Service."
Addressing the concerns of the petitioner students regarding the Directorate of Medical Education notification that directed the colleges to withhold all original documents of students who have completed their medical courses, the HC bench took note of the submissions by the AGA that "the Marks Cards of the students may be directed to be issued. The State Government may pass necessary orders," as mentioned in the HC order dated 12.04.2021.
Now, scheduling the case to be next heard on April 21.04.2021, the HC bench has issued notice to the State and Central Government along with the National Medical Commission, reports The Hindu.
To view the original court order, click on the link below.