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Govt college MBBS graduates can't escape rural service: Karnataka HC

As per the bond, students are required to serve in any government primary health centre or government primary health unit in rural areas for at least a year after completing the course. If they violate the bond, they shall be liable to pay a penalty of Rs 15-30 lakh to the government.
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 23:17 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 23:17 IST

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Bengaluru: Students admitted to government MBBS colleges or private colleges under the government quota as of July 22, 2022, cannot escape compulsory rural service or execution of bonds, the Karnataka High Court has ruled. 

But since the amended rule in this regard was gazetted only on July 27, 2022 — 10 years after the rules were promulgated — the court granted relief to 447 medicos who completed their MBBS in 2019-2020 while rapping the government for being in "slumber" all this time. 

Section 14 of the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1984, empowers the state to make rules. Thus, Rule 11 of the Karnataka Selection of Candidates for Admission to Government Seats in Professional Educational Institutions Rules, 2006, was amended on July 17, 2012.

As per the bond, students are required to serve in any government primary health centre or government primary health unit in rural areas for at least a year after completing the course. If they violate the bond, they shall be liable to pay a penalty of Rs 15-30 lakh to the government. 

"The notification dated July 17, 2012, says that the amended rule is to come into effect on the date of publication in the official gazette. It was gazetted on July 22, 2022, 10 years after the promulgation of the rules. The state appears to have been in deep slumber or having a siesta for 10 years,” Justice M Nagaprasanna said. 

The petitioners had secured admission to MBBS in government and private medical colleges under the government quota in 2015. In the meantime, the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, was repealed and the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, came into force. 

The petitioners contended that the state does not have legislative competence to notify Rule 11 and that it runs contrary to the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, a central law. They further contended that the state act restricts opportunities to students of Karnataka for taking postgraduate NEET examination immediately after the completion of the graduation course. 

The court cited the coordinate bench’s judgement in the Bushra Abdul Aleem case and rejected the contention that the state lacks legislative competence and the rules should be set aside for violating Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

Insofar as the question of repugnancy in view of the NMC Act is concerned, the court observed that the 2019 Act does not restrict the state's powers to regulate education in terms of Entry-25 of List III of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution. 

"The object behind the prescription of the mandate for rural service is ostensibly to provide better health care in rural, tribal or those difficult areas for citizens who would have no means to reach a doctor," Justice Nagaprasanna said.

"Students should become part of the public health programme of the state. It is a dream that a day would come that medical graduates would themselves volunteer to render such service in the rural areas. It is expected that the dream would shortly come true so that society would become egalitarian, resulting in a utopian land." 

Quote - Students should become part of the public health programme of the state. It is a dream that a day would come that medical graduates would themselves volunteer to render such service in the rural areas - Justice Nagaprasanna 

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Published 28 May 2024, 23:17 IST

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