The Supreme Court has rejected a writ petition challenging the imposition of compulsory bond for admissions to postgraduate medical courses and super speciality courses by several State Governments, including Odisha.
The Odisha Government’s counsel Shibashish Misra had brought to the notice of the apex court that all the 45 seats in the super speciality courses in the State are filled up on the basis of merit in the all-India counselling. The fee charged in the Government colleges is Rs 45,000 per year and the stipend of Rs 56,826 is paid to the doctors undergoing super speciality courses. There is a serious shortage of super speciality doctors in the State and the Government’s decision to introduce the bond system is in public interest.
A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta observed that the objective with which the State Governments have introduced compulsory service bonds is to protect the fundamental right of deprived sections of the society guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Taking note of the fact that certain State Governments have rigid conditions in the compulsory bonds to be executed by the appellants and the felt need of uniformity in the matter, the apex court suggested for suitable steps to be taken by the Union of India and the Medical Council of India to have a uniform policy regarding the compulsory service to be rendered by the doctors who are trained in Government institutions.
The petition was filed by the Association of Medical Super Speciality Aspirants and Residents who had sought quashing of the compulsory bond conditions.
Notably, as per the revised service bond policy for medical students in Odisha, students pursuing MBBS, post-graduation and super specialisation medical courses in Government colleges shall have to serve for minimum two years in the State. Those who fail to adhere to it will be penalised. If any candidate does not serve the State for the period after completion of the MBBS course, he or she will have to pay a penalty of Rs 50 lakh. While compensation against the bond for PG students is Rs 1.5 crore, those pursuing super speciality courses will deposit Rs 2 crore.