Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant, JJ has directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to allot a post graduate seat in Obstetrics and Gynecology at GMC, Bhopal to a lady doctor after noticing that she was entitled to incentive marks as per a State policy.

The appellant, a mother of a 5-year-old, has been working as a Medical Officer with the State of Madhya Pradesh on a regular basis for over 11 years. Out of the 11 years of service, she has served for 6 years in District Betul which is a notified tribal district and has served in a Community Health Centre at Katangi in the District of Balaghat for the remaining period.

It is important to note that the State of Madhya Pradesh has a policy of 30% reservation for In-Service doctors, employed with the State as also granting them the incentive marks at the rate of 10 % marks per year upto a maximum of 30% marks. However, for getting the same, as per the applicable procedure the Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO) of the concerned District has to forward a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in the requisite format to the Directorate of Health Services of Madhya Pradesh (DHS) which in turn forwards it to the Department of Medical Education, Madhya Pradesh (DME). After the receipt of NOC by the DME, any Medical Officer employed with the State is categorised as an ‘In-Service Doctor’ and made eligible for the benefit of 30% reservation as also the 30% incentive marks.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court had dismissed the Writ Petition of the Petitioner on the ground that the clock cannot be set back as allotment for 2nd Round of counselling were over and the Petitioner could not procure and produce the NOC in time for suiting her eligibility and entitlement as an In-Service candidate, which disentitled her from any benefits. It was, however, argued before the Supreme Court that the High Court proceeded on a grossly and factually erroneous ground that the Petitioner never registered for the Counselling, when the said fact was never disputed by the State and the Petitioner herself had filed the document proving her online Registration with the State as per the prescribed procedure available on the official portal of the DME, MP.

The Supreme Court held that as an in-service candidate, the appellant was entitled to the award of incentive marks in accordance with the applicable rules and would, hence, be also entitled to the allotment of the vacant seat which was set apart in the interim order dated 11.04.2022, wherein one seat was directed to be kept vacant in the MS Obstetrics and Gynecology in GMC, Bhopal.

The said observation came after noticing that the issue at hand only pertained to whether there was compliance with procedural requirements. The appellant secured 317 marks in the NEET–PG entrance examination and considering that in-service candidates are entitled to the allocation of certain preference marks, the eligibility of the appellant as an in-service candidate was not disputed.

The Court, hence, directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to process the application of the appellant as an in-service candidate and award her incentive marks in accordance with law. On that basis, the appellant be allotted the seat kept vacant for her.

[Rajni Shende v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 504, decided on 18.04.2022]

For Petitioner(s): Siddharth R Gupta, Adv, Abhikalp Pratap Singh, AOR, Shivam Baghel, Adv., Sunita Gupta, Adv., Pranjal Agarwal, Adv.

For Respondent(s): Saurabh Mishra, AAG and Mrinal Elker Mazumdar, Adv.

Uttarakhand High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Manoj K. Tiwari, J., dismissed a writ petition that was filed by the petitioner who was serving as Medical Officer in Community Health Centre. She had participated in NEET-PG for admission to Masters Degree Course in Medicine and according to her, she was entitled to admission against the P.G. seat in General Medicine Course in Government Medical College, Haldwani by virtue of more marks; but, the said seat had been wrongly allotted to respondent 5.

The counsel for respondent 2, Shailendra Nauriyal contended that since petitioner had not got herself registered with the Counseling Board for admission to P.G. Courses while respondent 5 had got herself registered, the petitioner’s claim could not be considered for admission during first counseling. He further submitted that the petitioner got herself registered with the Counseling Board for second counseling and, in second counseling; she has been allotted to a Pediatrician Course in Government Medical College.

The Court while dismissing the petition stated that Petitioner herself is to be blamed for not applying for registration at the relevant point of time. No one can claim to be given admission only in Government Medical Colleges, especially when common counseling is held for admission to Government as well as Private Medical Colleges and admission would be given as per score of marks in NEET-PG. [Sushmita Ringwal v. State of Uttaranchal, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 495, decided on 18-08-2020]

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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Sangeet Lodha, J., dismissed a writ petition seeking directions from the Court for re-examination of medical test for the position of Assistant Commandment in Central Police Forces.

The present case arose from a challenge by the petitioner against the action of the respondent declaring the petitioner medically unfit for the position of Assistant Commandant in Central Police Forces (CPFs). The respondent Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had issued an advertisement inviting applications for the recruitment of Assistant Commandant in CPFs. The petitioner, being already employed as Sub Inspector in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), applied for the said post. He underwent the selection process and was declared successful. During the petitioner’s medical examination he was declared unfit on certain grounds. The petitioner was directed to appear before the Review Medical Board, where he was again declared unfit.

The petitioner submitted that he got himself examined separately in his unit by the Medical Officer of CRPF, who certified the petitioner to be fit for appointment on the post of Assistant Commandant. Thereafter, he got himself examined by the Medical Board consisting of civilian doctors who also certified that the petitioner is medically and physically fit and can perform any kind of duty. Thus, it was contended by the petitioner that he was wrongly declared as being physically and medically unfit for recruitment to the post of Assistant Commandant.

A reply was filed on behalf of the respondents, who stated that the petitioner on being found qualified in Physically Efficiency Test (PET), a detailed medical examination conducted by the CPFs Medical Board consisting of three specialists viz. Physician, Surgeon and Ophthalmologist and was thereafter declared as medically unfit. They reiterated that the Review Medical Board also declared the petitioner as medically unfit.

The Court upon perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case stated that the petitioner being declared as medically fit by the Medical Board consisting of civilian doctors merely on the basis of the certificate which does not specify the tests that were conducted by them for examination cannot be considered for the Court to direct for re-examination of the petitioner, more so after a lapse of fifteen years. [Satya Narayan v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine Raj 363, decided on 06-03-2020]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Court of Appeal of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Division Bench of K.K. Wickremasinghe and K. Priyantha Fernando, JJ., dismissed an appeal filed aggrieved by the judgment of High Court which convicted the three appellants for the count of murder punishable under Section 296 to be read with Section 32 of the Penal Code, sentencing them to death and the fourth appellant was convicted for a lesser offence punishable under Section 314 of the Penal Code. The appellants contended that prosecution had failed to prove the charge against the 1st Appellant beyond a reasonable doubt, there appears a conflict of evidence between the witnesses; evidence led at the trial negates common murderous intention on the part of 2nd and 3rd appellant and thus imputation of vicarious liability was legally and factually flawed.

The deceased was a police officer. His wife was a school teacher and the deceased and the wife were living in the teacher’s quarters inside the school premises. The witness stated that when she had gone for band practices she saw the 2nd and 3rd appellant had gone to the quarters that the deceased was living and had tapped on the door and then they were seen fighting and then the deceased went inside and the appellants moved towards the road. After a while the deceased had come out of the house, dressed in his police uniform and had gone towards the road, then the 2nd and 3rd Appellants and the 4th  Accused carrying poles had come towards the deceased and had assaulted him. Another witness had told that the 1st Appellant had stabbed the deceased.

The Court while dismissing the appeal held that the Trial Judge had considered all the evidence adduced at the trial, analyzed the same and rightly decided that the 1st Appellant stabbed the deceased that caused his death, there was no evidence of the 1st Appellant using his right of self-defence, at the trial and there was found no conflict between the evidence of the witnesses that would affect their credibility. Lastly, as per the established facts, the intention was clear that it was to kill the deceased when that injury was caused. There were 10 more injuries observed by the Medical Officer who conducted the autopsy on the body of the deceased, thus the High Court has rightly come to the correct conclusion that the prosecution has proved the charge of murder against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Appellants beyond a reasonable doubt. [Maduwanage Francis Wimalaratne v. Attorney General, Court of Appeal Case No. HCC 226-227 of 2012, decided on 17-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Bench of T.V. Nalwade and Mangesh S Patil, JJ., refused to quash a criminal case registered against a Medical Officer (applicant) for an offence punishable under Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) IPC.

Seema (now deceased), who was pregnant at the time relevant, was admitted to the Government Hospital for her delivery. She was admitted at about 8:50 am. The duty time of the applicant (Medical officer of the Hospital) was from 8 am onwards, but he was not present in the hospital. Therefore, Seema was admitted by a nurse and she delivered a child at about 9.10 am. After delivery, Seema suffered bleeding. Realising development of the complications, the nurse informed the applicant on the phone. However, he did not turn up till 10 am, and ultimately Seema passed away. The applicant was booked under Section 304-A on the complaint of Seema’s father.

Represented by Ganesh V. Mohekar, Advocate, the applicant sought quashing of the case. Per contra, S.B. Joshi, Additional Public Prosecutor opposed his application.

As per the High Court, there was sufficient record to infer that Seema’s death occurred due to the applicant’s negligence. Rejecting applicant’s submission that it was anyway a high-risk case due to ‘placenta postrioely low lying’, the Court said: ” In that case also it can be said that it is the duty of the medical officer to remain present and when it is a case of high risk his presence is a must. The record is sufficient for the present purpose to infer that he was never diligent in discharging his duty and on that day due to his negligence Seema died.”

Relying on Jayshree Ujwal Ingole v. State of Maharashtra, (2017) 14 SCC 571, it was held that all the tests to ascertain applicant’s negligence were satisfied. [Dr Ravindra v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 616, Order dated 09-04-2019]