Covid-19 Duty By Medical Students Pursuing Super Speciality Courses Can Be Set Off Against Compulsory Bond Service Period: Madras High Court
Madras HC on 2nd February 2023 in a relief to five doctors has held that the period of service rendered by them during Covid-19 can be adjusted towards the two years of compulsory bond service. This was seen in the matter of Dr. Jayakrishnan MP v. State of Tamil Nadu, W.P.No. 26556 of 2022 & W.M.P.No. 25617 of 2022 the matter was presided over by Coram The Honourable MR. Justice C.V.Karthikeyan.
FACTS OF THE CASE
Justice CV Karthikeyan held that the Govt should extend an arm to the doctors as there was no refusal to undergo the compulsory bond period but only a request to adjust the period already served during Covid-19. I hold that the Govt has to extend arm to them and adjust that particular service rendered towards the 2 years of bond service which they had to undergo. There is no refusal on their part to undergo the two years period, but they only expect to seek adjustment of the period already spent while treating covid 19 patients.
The State had countered the plea by stating that the petitioner doctors cannot take advantage of the service rendered treating Covid-19 patients during their study and expect that period to be adjusted with the 2 years period.
The court however disagreed with the submission of the respondents. It noted that the petitioners had voluntarily offered their medical services to treat the Covid-19 patients. While doing so, they had undergone the same risk that other medical professionals had undergone. The court therefore agreed with the submission of the petitioners that they were being discriminated.
I hold that the petitioners herein would be reasonably justified if they were to opine that they stood discriminated when compared with those Postgraduate, medical professionals, who were not studying Super Specialty Courses merely because they were students doing Super Specialty Courses.
The court added that even though the petitioners could have easily avoided duty & sought protection by stating that they were students, they did not do so and instead voluntarily offered their services. Therefore, the refusal by the respondents could not withstand judicial scrutiny as the same would amount to discrimination to the petitioner doctors. The court therefore directed the respondents to adjust the period already completed and to return the educational certificate of the petitioners. I would therefore give a direction to the respondents to accommodate adjusting the period already completed with the bond period and return their educational certificates within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
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Judgement Reviewed by YAKSHU JINDAL