Bond signed, rural stint for medicos must: Karnataka high court | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Declining the plea of a batch of MBBS students, the high court said they were bound to undertake one-year compulsory rural service since they voluntarily executed bonds with the state government.
“It is high time that the medical professionals understand the concept of duty in their response to Covid-19,” the court added, saying their services would be required for the anticipated third wave.
“The legal relationship between the petitioners and the state is that latter will provide education in medicine by way of subsidised fees on the condition that qualified doctors would serve in the rural areas of the state for a specific period of time. This has to be taken as a composite bargain between the state and the students,” Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum said in the order issued on Tuesday.
Rural stint for doctors: Ray of hope for people, says HC
Directing a batch of MBBS graduates to fulfil their service bond stipulating one year of rural service, the Karnataka high court said they are a “ray of hope” for the public at large in the present context of the pandemic and a possible third wave.
If the state calls upon fresh graduates to compulsorily serve for one year with substantial remuneration and if the state ensures that the doctors and other health workers stay at their workplace, the threat to the public would be taken care of, the court said. The court said the service bonds calling upon the doctors to undergo rural service appears to be reasonable.
“The doctors have a duty to treat and the State is looking upon the doctors and is expecting them to come forward and counter this pandemic. It is high time that fair and responsible colleagueship and diverse medical specialties need to be promoted in the prevailing circumstances. We have already seen a disaster which has threatened humanity and valuable lives are already lost,” Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum observed in the order issued on Tuesday.
The judge cited the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Association of Medical Superspeciality Aspirants, upholding the legislative competence of the state government to issue executive instructions imposing condition of service bonds and holding that all doctors who have executed the compulsory bonds are bound by the conditions. The principles laid down by the Supreme Court are applicable to the petitioners who have executed bonds during admission to the undergraduate course, the judge said.
Further pointing out that the petitioners have not been able to demonstrate that by introduction of compulsory rural service, the standard of medical education as prescribed by the National Medical Commission Act is diluted or lowered, the judge said the subject of compulsory service does not fall within the ambit of the said legislation.
Petitioners Dr Prarthana N and others had challenged the June 8 notification of the state government calling upon undergraduates who have secured government seats and completed their MBBS exams in the academic year 2021 to register for rural posting. A corrigendum was issued on June 17. The date for starting government service was June 30 and a penalty of Rs 10 lakh payable by those who fail to abide by the rural service rule.
The petitioners said the notification is discriminatory and arbitrary as it excludes other undergraduates of the same batch (management quota) and is also contrary to Karnataka Compulsory Service by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act 2012 and the Karnataka Compulsory Service by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act Rules, 2015. They contended that they have to pursue higher education and in order to do so, need to appear for NEET, preparation for which would be affected by the rural service stipulation.
On the legal aspects, the petitioners asserted that the NMC Act has ushered in a paradigm shift and states have lost the right to regulate medical college admissions through policymaking and legislation.

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