PG Doctors' Refusal To Work In Govt Hospitals Infringe Fundamental Rights Of Poor Patients: Madras High Court Upholds Bond Agreement

Upasana Sajeev

26 April 2024 1:04 PM GMT

  • PG Doctors Refusal To Work In Govt Hospitals Infringe Fundamental Rights Of Poor Patients: Madras High Court Upholds Bond Agreement

    The Madras High Court recently remarked that Doctors, who undergo postgraduate studies at low cost by utilizing taxpayer's money should serve the poor and needy in the State. Justice SM Subramaniam also remarked that doctors, who refused to work in government hospitals after completing the PG course, were infringing the fundamental rights of the poor and needy patients who were...

    The Madras High Court recently remarked that Doctors, who undergo postgraduate studies at low cost by utilizing taxpayer's money should serve the poor and needy in the State.

    Justice SM Subramaniam also remarked that doctors, who refused to work in government hospitals after completing the PG course, were infringing the fundamental rights of the poor and needy patients who were undergoing treatment in the government hospitals.

    “If these Doctors after undergoing medical specialty courses, refusing to work in Government Hospital are infringing the fundamental right of the poor and needy patients, who all are undergoing treatment in Government Hospitals at free of costs. Thus, such an approach of the Doctors cannot be appreciated, since medical profession is a noble profession and the conduct of the Doctors must be in consonance with the Rules made by the Medical Council of India and the Government. Tax payers money in huge are spent for the doctors to undergo Post Graduate Medical Courses. Poor people contribute by paying tax in various forms,” the court observed.

    The court was hearing a plea by persons who were temporarily appointed to the post of Assistant Surgeons in compliance with a bond agreement. The petitioners had approached the court requesting to consider their duty during the COVID-19 pandemic period as part of the two-year service as per the conditions in the bond.

    The state opposed the plea and submitted that the COVID-19 pandemic was an emergency during which the postgraduate students were bound to attend to patients even while undergoing the course. It was argued that the Government was paying monthly stipends to all postgraduate students and it was part of their duty to attend to patients.

    The court noted that the Government had already reduced the period from two years to one year through a Government Order and the petitioners had to complete one year of service in the Government Medical College in compliance with the bond conditions.

    Considering the State's expenditure on postgraduate students, the court opined that the public had a right to expect the Specialists to utilize their service during their training for the benefit of the sick, poor, and needy. The court added that the candidates had signed the bond after carefully reading the bond agreement and were not forced to sign the bond.

    The court added that if the attitude of the doctors were allowed, it would encourage an attitude of not paying attention to poor people at whose expense they were educated which was unacceptable. The court also noted that in many cases, the candidates violated the bond period which already led to a considerable shortage of Doctors in Government Medical Institutions.

    The court also noted that the National Medical Commission had laid down conditions with reference to the training program of Post Graduate Students which specifically said that the COVID duty done by medical officers after completion of the PG course alone would be treated as Bond Service and that rendered by Post Graduates during the PG course could only be considered as the study period.

    Though the petitioners argued that the courts had given relief to other persons with similar claims, the court noted that the NMC's guidelines were not properly considered. The court also observed that even the Government was not justified in reducing the bond period from two years to one year.

    The court thus observed that the petitioners had to serve in the Government Medical College as per their bond agreements and thus dismissed the pleas.

    Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr.Suhrith Parthasarathy

    Counsel for the Respondents: Mr.K.Tippu Sulthan Government Advocate

    Citation: 2024 LiveLaw (Mad) 173

    Case Title: S Sahana Priyanka and Others v State of Tamil Nadu

    Case No: W.P.Nos.10799, 10826 & 10829 of 2024

    Click here to read/download the judgment

    Next Story