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'Medical Manual Not Sole Repository Of All Ailments': Delhi High Court Denies Relief To JAG Candidate Declared Unfit Due To High Haemoglobin

Nupur Thapliyal
7 Jan 2022 3:25 PM GMT
Medical Manual Not Sole Repository Of All Ailments: Delhi High Court Denies Relief To JAG Candidate Declared Unfit Due To High Haemoglobin
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Medical standards in Armed Forces should be adhered to more strictly, the Court added.

The Delhi High Court has held that the Medical Manual (Manual of Medical Examination and Medical Standard for Various Entries into Army, TRG Academies and Military School) cannot be stated to be the sole repository of all ailments that may make a person medically unfit for appointment in the Armed Forces. A bench comprising of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Manmohan added that the...

The Delhi High Court has held that the Medical Manual (Manual of Medical Examination and Medical Standard for Various Entries into Army, TRG Academies and Military School) cannot be stated to be the sole repository of all ailments that may make a person medically unfit for appointment in the Armed Forces.

A bench comprising of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Manmohan added that the Medical Manual cannot lay down all the complex ailments or grounds that would make a candidate unfit for appointment to Armed Forces, whose demands are most extracting with the personnel being posted to extreme weather conditions.

"The doctors conducting the medical examination are the best judge to understand the complexity of the human body and the myriad of ailments that it may suffer from and the repercussions thereof," the Court said.

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by a law graduate who had applied for the post of Judge and Advocate General (JAG) in 'JAG ENTRY SCHEME 27TH COURSE (OCT 2021)'. After completing two stages of the selection process, he was recommended as the top candidate in his batch, for a medical examination.

The Special Medical Board however verbally communicated to the petitioner that he was medically unfit on the ground of 'Polycythaemia' and that his haemoglobin levels were 17.1 g/dl, which was high.

The petition was therefore filed seeking directions on the respondents authorities to re-conduct his medical examination and also to issue a joining letter to him enabling him to report to the Officer Training Academy.

On preferring an application seeking an Appeal Medical Board, he was informed that his haemoglobin levels were 17.1 g/dl and that his PBS test reports were normal, however, he was again declared medically unfit for 'Polycythaemia' as his haemoglobin levels were still high.

He had then applied for Review Medical Board wherein he was again declared medically unfit on the ground of 'Polycythaemia'. After getting himself tested in a private laboratory, his CBC report was normal with haemoglobin levels at 16.1 g/dl, which were well within the biological level for a healthy adult male as per international medical standards.

It was thus argued on behalf of the petitioner that the Medical Manual prescribed only the lower limit and not the upper limit or ceiling for haemoglobin levels and therefore, the rejection of his candidature was without any basis.

The Court had directed one of the doctors, who had examined the petitioner at the RMB stage, to appear before the Court. The doctor informed the Court that Polycythaemia in the Armed Forces can lead to problems both at high altitudes and in deserts.

"In our opinion, in the Armed Forces, the medical standard should be even more strictly adhered to only for the reason that the armed personnel have to perform their duties in the most strenuous and hostile atmosphere and terrains," the Court observed.

Dismissing the petition, the Court was of the view that the various test reports relied upon by the petitioner could not justify any interference with the medical opinion of the respondents, especially since the petitioner did not deny the result of the three tests reports.

Case Title: MILASH ARROL NORONHA v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 10

Click Here To Read Order 


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