J&K HC | Doctors who have not completed their 3 years of probationary period may be allowed to pursue PG courses conditionally

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J., disposed of a petition with the direction given to the petitioner to apply for study leave from the post of Medical Officers in State Health Department to undergo PG Medical Courses in Government Medical Colleges of the State.

The facts were that the petitioner was appointed as Medical Officer in 2019. In the meantime, the petitioners also applied for Entrance Examination, i.e. (NEET) for undergoing PG Medical Courses in Government Medical Colleges of the State. The petitioners qualified the NEET examination in 2019. It was submitted that since the petitioner was serving as Medical Officer in State Health Department, he should be allowed to undergo Post Graduation in the discipline, which should be allotted after applying study leave as per notified rules.

The Court held that in case the petitioners intended to join PG Course, they would either have to forgo the appointment or apply to the respondents for study leave, if permissible. They cannot be permitted, on their own, to undergo PG courses while being in the service of respondent-department. Such unauthorized absence from duty would entail loss of appointment and discharge of the petitioners from their appointment. Thus the Court held that the petitioners were free to apply for study leave. It might be the case that they might not be eligible to get the study leaves till they complete their three years’ mandatory service as required under the aforesaid SRO, but the Government, in appropriate cases to mitigate individual hardship, may relax the aforesaid three years prescription. The minutes of meeting of the Commissioner/ Secretary Health and Medical Education stated that “…6. to facilitate the career progression of the in-service doctors who have not completed their three years of service/probationary period may also be allowed to pursue their PG Courses with the condition that the period spent by them on PG Courses shall be treated as leave”.

Thus the petition was disposed of by permitting the petitioners to approach the respondents for grant of study leave. [Sukhil Raina v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 291, Order dated 01-04-2019]

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