Justice Anita Sumanth directed the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to put in place a mechanism whereby it should be enough if the home State withholds the educational certificates in order to ensure that the doctor, after completing higher speciality/fellowship courses, returns back and honours the undertaking to serve government hospitals for a specified number of years because of having studied medicine at a very low fee.

[8/11, 10:23] Sekarreporter1: Observing that India is one unified country and there should be uniformity in medical admissions across the nation, the Madras High Court has ordered that non-service government college medical graduates must be allowed to pursue higher studies in government institutions in other States, under the All India Quota, without having to fulfil onerous conditions such as furnishing a bank guarantee for ₹40 lakh.

Justice Anita Sumanth directed the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to put in place a mechanism whereby it should be enough if the home State withholds the educational certificates in order to ensure that the doctor, after completing higher speciality/fellowship courses, returns back and honours the undertaking to serve government hospitals for a specified number of years because of having studied medicine at a very low fee.
[8/11, 10:24] Sekarreporter1: The judge ordered that the mechanism should be introduced forthwith for the present academic year. She directed the DGHS to appoint a nodal officer to facilitate the process. The directions were issued while dealing with a batch of cases filed against State government’s insistence on obtaining bank guarantee not only from those who join colleges in other States but also from those who join private colleges within Tamil Nadu.

Holding that the government was entitled to insist on bank guarantee from candidates taking up higher studies in private institutions, subject to the quantum of the guarantee being negotiated, the judge said students who join government colleges in other States should be exempted from the onerous condition. She stressed that all States in the country should reciprocally assist each other in this respect.

A Government Order issued on April 13, 2020 had stated that non-service postgraduate broad speciality (MD/MS/Diploma) candidates, who had secured admissions in higher speciality (DM/M.Ch) in other States and in private institutions, before fulfilling their undertaking to serve government hospitals, must furnish a bank guarantee for a amount equivalent to the bond amount which they had executed while gaining admission in the broad speciality.

A similar condition was insisted upon those who had completed higher speciality in Tamil Nadu and had obtained admission to fellowships either in other States or in private institutions before serving government hospitals. On February 10, the government clarified that medical graduates who secure seats for higher education in government institutions within the State, before joining government service, need not furnish any bank guarantee.

Taking note of such an exemption, Justice Sumanth said the benefit should be extended even to those who join government colleges in other States. “Let us bear in mind that we are one unified country, and the common aim of all State governments is to improve access to healthcare. A balance has to achieved as between the aforesaid object and the interests of the doctors upon whom the condition of bank guarantee is imposed,” she wrote.

The judge recalled that the Supreme Court had in 2019 held that State governments were entitled to insist upon execution of bonds, mandating compulsory service in government hospitals after completing the course, by those who join government medical colleges where it takes around ₹27 lakh per annum to educate every student, whereas the government collects only

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