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PG Medical Courses: MP High Court Refuses To Grant Incentive Marks To In Service Doctors Who Served In COVID Affected Districts

Zeeshan Thomas
14 Jan 2022 2:54 PM GMT
Section 20 of Contempt of Court Act 1971, Article 215 of the Constitution of India, Contempt proceedings, limitation of one year, Madhya Pradesh High Court, Justice Vishal Dhagat,

Image Courtesy: Lokesh Mewara

While holding that in the absence of specific categorization, Government Doctors and medical officers working in Civil and District Hospitals are also entitled to benefit of reservation meant for in-service doctors in the PG Medical Courses, the Madhya Pradesh High Court, however, refused to grant 10% additional/incentive marks to such doctors who had served in COVID-19 affected districts.

Essentially, the bench of Justice Sujoy Paul and Justice Arun Sharma was dealing with a plea filed by MBBS-qualified doctors who are rendering their services as regular employees in the State Department of Health Services and who reached the HC seeking entitlement to 10% additional/incentive marks by treating their place of posting for the last 1.5 years as a "difficult area" [for purpose of admission in PG Medical course].

Partly dismissing their prayer, the Court ultimately held that "difficult area" did not mean include "difficult services" and therefore, there was no question of granting them additional/incentive marks for the same.

Case in brief

Petitioners are two Medical Officers serving at District Hospitals at Indore and Harda, respectively. They were seeking benefit under the state policy of providing 30 percent reservation for "in-service candidates" in P.G. Degree seats. They were also seeking the incentive of marks under the state policy for in-service candidates working in "difficult areas".

Petitioners argued that as per M.P. Chikitsa Shiksha Pravesh Niyam, 2018 and the notifications that followed, they come within the definition of "serving employees" as they are Medical Officers. Hence they should be extended the benefit of reservation. This issue has been dealt with in this article.
Regarding the second issue, it was argued that even though they worked in urban areas of Indore and Harda, they worked during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic at District Hospitals, putting their own as well as their families' life at stake.
Hence, the definition of "difficult areas" used before the pre-covid era in the notification should evolve to be in sync with the present situation, they argued through their Counsel
Siddharth R. Gupta
Refraining from interpreting the "difficult areas" from the lens of the petitioners, the Court opined that the same was a policy decision and hence, it could be interfered with on very limited grounds.
"It would not re-write or insert something in the policy and it is the state which is best suited to do the same," remarked the Court as the Court held that hte Petitioners could not claim the benefit of incentive of marks.
In view of this, the Petition was Partly allowed.
Case title - Dr. Vijendra Dhanware & Another v. The State of Madhya Pradesh and others  Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 4

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