MCI for uniform bond conditions for medicos across the country:
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has informed the Madras High Court that it has recommended a uniform procedure to be followed by all States for the execution of bonds by medical students who agree to serve State hospitals for a particular period in return for highly subsidised education in government institutions.
Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy were informed by V.P. Raman, counsel for MCI (replaced with the National Medical Commission since September 25), that the recommendations were made to the Centre in July, following deliberations with representatives of the governments of 19 States.
The MCI had constituted a committee to come up with a uniform bond policy in accordance with directions issued by the Supreme Court in 2019. While deciding a case involving the Association of Medical Super Specialty Aspirants and Residents and the Centre, the court had stressed the need for uniform bond conditions.
Accordingly, the panel recommended that the bond period for MBBS candidates should not exceed one year, and the bond value should not be over ₹10 lakh for those admitted under the all-India quota (AIQ). The bond value alone could be increased to a maximum of ₹15 lakh for students admitted under the State quota. After a year of bond service, the candidates could be allowed to serve for one more year.
The State governments must induct the candidates into government service within three months of completion of internship, failing which the bonds would stand terminated. Further, those who opt for the Defence Services must be exempted from rendering compulsory bond service. For PG students, the bond tenure should be restricted to a maximum of two years for State quota candidates and one year for AIQ candidates. Their bond values should not exceed ₹20 lakh and ₹15 lakh respectively. In so far as super speciality courses are concerned, the committee recommended a common bond policy of two years and ₹20 lakh.
The submissions were made during the hearing of several writ petitions filed by doctors who pursued PG degree and diploma courses under the AIQ in government medical colleges in Tamil Nadu between 2012-13 and 2015-16. The government neither provided them jobs in government hospitals as per the bond conditions nor returned their original certificates.
Disapproving of the course of action adopted by the government, Chief Justice Sahi, in his 166-page judgment, held that the government ought to have offered the petitioners jobs within the bond period of two years. Failure to do so would render the bonds infructuous, and all their original certificates must be returned forthwith, he ordered.
Though the petitioners contended that the State government was not entitled to demand the execution of bonds by AIQ candidates, the first Division Bench negatived the contention. The judges said that those who had signed the bonds before taking up the course could not be allowed to challenge the validity of the same bonds after completing the course.
“The idea of compelling pass-outs to serve the State hospitals is neither unjust nor against the students. It subserves a benevolent public purpose, namely that the people of the State are able to receive the best of medical attention,” the Bench said, adding that the State was also duty-bound to provide the best facilities to medical students.