15 Sep 2023 11:30 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday (September 15) directed the National Medical Commission to respond to a complaint that 70 percentage of medical colleges do not pay any stipend or are not paying the minimum set stipend to doctors who are doing MBBS internships.A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud directed the National Medical Commission(NMC) to file a tabulated chart and explain...
The Supreme Court on Friday (September 15) directed the National Medical Commission to respond to a complaint that 70 percentage of medical colleges do not pay any stipend or are not paying the minimum set stipend to doctors who are doing MBBS internships.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud directed the National Medical Commission(NMC) to file a tabulated chart and explain (i) whether the above statement regarding lack of stipend for medical interns is true and (ii) what steps the NMC is taking to ensure compliance with norm of paying internship stipend.
The development took place when the bench was hearing a petition filed by medical interns seeking payment of stipend by the Army College of Medical Sciences(ACMS). Senior Advocate Colonel (Retired) R Balasubramanium, appearing for the ACMS, submitted that the colleges are run by the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) on a no-profit basis with the intention of serving the children of armed personnel. The senior counsel pointed out that the institution is not receiving any governmental aid.
However, the bench stated that financial constraints cannot be a reason to deny stipend to the students.
"Can you say we won't pay the safai karamcharis because we are non profit? It's profit for you but it is livelihood for them. Can you say we won't pay the teachers?...We cannot extract work from young doctors...there may not be parental support for everyone", CJI Chandrachud said. CJI pointed out that the Supreme Court is paying Rs.80,000 per month for the law clerks as the stipend and said that the ACMS should pay at least Rs 1 lakh.
Balasubramanium stated that the survival of the institution is also a factor to be considered. He informed the bench the state fee regulatory commission of the Delhi has reduced the fees of the college -which is affiliated to the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University - from Rs. 4,32,000 to 3,20,000.
The bench at this point compared the rates of stipend paid in other government colleges and asked the petitioners how much they are expecting. The petitioner's counsel Advocate Charu Mathur replied, "Rs.25,000".
The bench therefore directed the ACMS to start paying Rs.25,000 per month as stipend to the medical interns. At present, there are hundred interns.
"The interns are required to be paid stipend during the period of internship. Mandate of regulations adopted by the NMC cannot be breached", the bench stated in its order.
At the same time, the Court took into account the fact that the college is being run as a welfare measure for army children and is not strictly commercial. Therefore, it gave liberty to the college to approach the Fee Regulatory Committee in Delhi with a statement of likely financial impact of the Court directions. Based on such a statement, the committee shall make a determination on whether enhancement of fee is necessary to meet the additional outgoing, the Court ordered. This concession was given by the Court considering the fact that the fees in the college is substantially subsidised.
As regards students who have already completed the internship in the immediately previous batch, the Court said that it is inclined to fix a lump sum payment.
At this point, Advocate Vaibhav Gagghar made the submission that 70% of the colleges are not paying stipends. The bench directed the NMC's counsel Advocate Gaurav Sharma to respond to this statement and file an affidavit.
The next date of hearing will be known once the order is uploaded. Story will be updated accordingly.
Case : Abhishek Yadav and others v. Army College of Medical Sciences | W.P.(C) No. 730/2022
Click Here To Read/Download Order