A man desirous of joining the Central Reserve Police Force as Constable has his dream cut short as the Force as well as the Delhi High Court held that the medical treatment for his varicose veins might have made him fit for civilian jobs but not for military/paramilitary posts which entails working in extreme conditions.
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Pratibha Rani declined to grant relief to a man who had moved court praying for quashing of a letter dated May 2016 by which he was declared medically unfit for recruitment in CRPF, India’s largest Central Armed Police Force.
He had also prayed for a re-examination of his medical condition by a larger medical board at AIIMS or PGIMS, Chandigarh, or PGIMS, Rohtak.
The petitioner had, in pursuance to an advertisement in 2015 for recruitment to the Central Armed Police Forces, NIA and SSF, applied for recruitment in CRPF and qualified the written examination following which he was told to appear for the physical fitness and medical examination.
On May 23, 2016, the petitioner was declared medically unfit on three counts -- varicose vein (left), tremors (fine), and tachycardia. He was informed about his right to file an appeal against the findings of the Medical Examination Board and was advised to apply for a review medical examination after obtaining necessary medical certificate from a medical practitioner within 15 days, failing which his candidature for recruitment as Constable (GD) in CAPFs would be treated as cancelled without any further notice.
The petitioner got himself treated for varicose veins at a hospital in Rohtak from May 28 to May 30, 2016. He was discharged on May 31 and the very same day, he got himself medically examined by the Chief Medical Officer, General Hospital, Jhajjar, who declared him to be fit for recruitment to the post of Constable (GD) in CAPFs.
After undergoing correctional surgery and on being declared fit, the petitioner applied for a review medical examination, which was conducted on 2016 but the review medical board declared him unfit. It is the allegation of the petitioner that the review medical board declared him unfit without even examining him and he once again approached the hospital in Rohtak where he was subjected to a Colour Doppler Varicose Vein Test and was declared fit.
Thereafter, the petitioner once again requested the Force to have him medically examined by a larger medical board but his request received no response.
He then moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court only to withdraw the petition for want of jurisdiction and approached the Delhi High Court where he prayed that the letter by which he was declared medically unfit for recruitment as constable in CRPF be quashed and that a medical board be constituted to examine him at AIIMS or at PGIMS Rohtak or Chandigarh.
His counsel Tarjit Singh submitted that it was a minor correctional surgery and even as per the Guidelines for Recruitment Medial Examination in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles, mild varicocele i.e. if veins are palpable after valsalva manoeveour, otherwise invisible, is a minor acceptable defect. Thus, the petitioner could not have been declared unfit.
The Centre, however, relied on the Revised Guidelines for Recruitment Medial Examination in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles and also on a study showing reappearance of varicose veins despite treatment.
“The mere fact that the petitioner had to undergo correctional surgery for varicose veins shows that it did not fall under the category of ‘Minor Acceptable Defects’, as stipulated under Guideline No.7(e) of the Guidelines. Thus, the case of the petitioner cannot be treated to be that of ‘mild varicocele’.
“The review medical examination report clearing the petitioner for Tremor and Tachycardia but declaring him unfit for varicose vein (left leg operated) itself shows that he has been subjected to complete medical examination by the Review Medical Board. Thus, his claim that the Review Medical Board has given the report without subjecting him to medical examination, stands falsified from his Dossier. The petitioner has admittedly been operated on for varicose vein. The Review Medical Board has examined him and declared him ‘unfit’ in terms of Guideline No.6 (29) of the Guidelines,” the court noted.
“The ramifications/side effects with regard to the operated cases of varicose vein are that it ultimately leads to impairment of circulation of the blood and the individuals, who have their varicose veins operated, have a predisposition of developing varicose veins in other vessels. A study on the subject reveals that the patient with varicose veins have pain/heaviness of legs, inability to walk/stand for long hours, itching and leg cramps at night and they can also have dermatitis in the region, which may lead to the development of ulcers. Given the above position, the petitioner may be medically fit for civilian jobs, as declared by Swastik General Surgery and Laparoscopy Hospital, Rohtak and Chief Medical Officer, General Hospital, Jhajjar, but not for military/paramilitary posts, which entails working in extreme conditions and involves much more physical activity.
“Thus, the decision by the Medial Board and the Review Medical Board declaring the petitioner to be unfit cannot be faulted and requires no intervention by this Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India,” the bench concluded.