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Key Takeaways

  • On 08th October 2021, Justice R. Devdas of the High Court of Karnataka granted interim relief in favor of 38 MBBS graduates of St. John’s Medical College(SJMC).
  • The relief was sought against the state government notification published on 4th October 2021, ordering a mandatory rural service of one year.
  • The petition of Dr. Gali Samrat and 37 others was initially based on “Karnataka State Revised Information Bulletin for Centralized Counseling for Post Graduate Admissions to Degree/Diploma Medical and Dental Course”
  • The relief was granted temporarily until further examination of the case.

Background

  • Karnataka State Revised Information Bulletin for Centralized Counseling for Post Graduate Admissions to Degree/Diploma Medical and Dental Course sets out eligibility criteria and the procedure to follow for medical and dental degree/diploma students.
  • It has been recently amended to include a special clause regarding the eligibility criteria to SJMC. Clause 5.4 (a) (ii) specifically mentions that students who enrolled post the 2015 enactment to pursue a rural service for a period of one year.
  • The clause is applicable for all graduates, postgraduates, or followers of specialized courses offered by SJMC.
  • 13 petitioners served two years periods and the rest (25) had already signed to serve for a period of 1-year rural service at SJMC adhering to the rules set out by the Information Bulletin for Centralized Counseling for Post Graduate Admissions to Degree/Diploma Medical and Dental Course.
  • Clause 11 of the said Information Bulletin states a mandatory service period of 1 year is required unless the service period has been already served by a candidate.
  • The Additional Advocate General, who appeared on behalf of the state, argued that the basis of clause 11 does not specifically exempt candidates of SJMC.
  • Further, the AAG referred to the judgment delivered in the case of Bushra Abdul Aleem V. The State of Karnataka & others where the court upheld the set-out rules in the Act.
  • Clause 11 does not specifically mention clause 5.4 as an exemption even though the said clause 11 states “unless students have gone through rural service" hence creating the exception.
  • Moreover, neither clause 5.4(ii) nor 11 mentions the stage at which the rural service should be carried out; whether it’s after ending final exams but before graduation or after graduation or any other period, creating a lacuna in the Information Bulletin. Therefore it can be interpreted accordingly by the parties.

Observations by the court

  • “A prima facie case has been established by the petitioners by adhering to clause 5.4(a)ii by way of following a mandatory rural service by 15 petitioners serving for 2 years period of time and the rest being a period of 1 year. Therefore, the petitioners cannot be compelled to undergo mandatory services under clause 11."
  • “It is evident that the petitioners who furnish a certificate from SJMC that they need undertaken rural service are entitled to release of their testimonials/ marks cards and Registration and NOC from Karnataka Medical Council, which shall, however, be subject to the ultimate outcome of this writ petition”
  • “The Court finds that the separate clause within the Bulletin issued by the Director of Medical Education, Government of Karnataka and therefore the Karnataka Examinations Authority, clearly shows a separate application for scholars of SJMC within the said Bulletin itself”
  • “The granted interim order shall be subject to the final outcome of this writ petition is made clear. If the petitioners don’t achieve this writ petition, they shall undergo compulsory services in terms of the provisions of law. The respondent-State is additionally permitted to maneuver an application for vacating the interim order if it’s found that there was no separate exemption given under the revised bulletin .”
  • The petition has not been examined and finalized yet by the High Court of Karnataka. The temporal interim relief can be either confirmed with an interim order if the court decides the case in favor of 38 petitioners including Dr. Gali Samrat. Or else the court can set aside the interim relief and grant judgment in favor of the state whilst issuing an interim order if they plead, for a mandatory order to follow the rural service for petitioners.

Questions

  • What are your views on the judgement?
  • What do you mean by an ‘interim relief’.

Share your views in the comments section below.

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