Docs challenge circular stopping them to pursue PG
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the government to file a response within four weeks to a petition seeking quashing of a circular whereby medical officers have been restrained from undergoing PG/MD course while in service.
Issuing notice on a petition by some aggrieved medical officers, a vacation bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey, directed Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education, Director Health Services Kashmir and J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations to allow the petitioners to sit in selection process for post graduate courses at their own risk and responsibility.
Observing that mere participation in selection process would have no right in their favour, the bench, however, made it clear that its order shall be subject to objections of other side and not to be taken as one determining petitioners’ eligibility for post graduate courses.
It directed that the case be listed for further consideration after four weeks.
Counsel for petitioners A Ronga pleaded that BOPEE issued an advertisement notice (no.119-BOPEE of 2015) on December 17, 2015, inviting applications for admissions to Post Graduation Courses and in service doctors were directed to route their application forms through Director Health Services Kashmir.
Ironically, he pleaded, Director Health Service Kashmir withheld the application forms of the petitioners and did not forward the same to the BOPEE on the ground that the petitioners do not have three year service for undergoing PG/MD courses.
He argued that the petitioners were appointed as Medical Officers in Health Department and some of the appointees were undergoing Post Graduation/registrarship but they were allowed to continue the post graduation/registrarship till its completion.
“The petitioners are similarly situated with those appointees who were allowed to continue the PG Courses and therefore the petitioners are subjected to invidious discrimination which is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” Ronga pleaded.
He pleaded that the Health Department issued a circular (no. 06-HME-2015) on October 19, 2015 in terms of which the Medical Officers including the petitioners were restrained from undergoing PG/MD Course, while in service.
“The aggrieved medical officers challenged the circular on a number of grounds including the one that the Commissioner Secretary who has passed the circular has no power, authority and jurisdiction to take away the constitutionally and legally guaranteed right of education from the petitioners,” he argued.
While the counsel argued that the circular incorporates a decision taken in excess of jurisdiction and as such deserves to be rendered as a nullity, he pleaded in light of apex court judgments a circular has no force of law.
He submitted that the intention of acquiring a qualification has been declared by the Supreme Court as being an inherent and human right under Article 21 of the Constitution, which, he said, cannot be a subject matter of prohibition.
The impugned circular, he pleaded, creates a bar on the Medical Officers in acquiring more qualifications saying as such is violative of Article 21 of the constitution.