SC rejects plea for excusing service bond conditions

SC declines to consider plea for rationalising service bond conditions

The central government constituted a Committee in September 2019 to formulate a uniform policy on compulsory bonds after deliberations with 19 state authorities

The Supreme Court has declined to consider a plea to limit service bond period for super speciality courses, to maximum two years and penalty up to Rs 20 lakh in all states.

A bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra allowed applicant, Association of Medical Super Speciality Aspirants and Residents and others to withdraw their plea to pursue their other remedies.

Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who represented the Association, argued the matter.

The Association had earlier challenged the validity of different bond conditions in States of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal for being violative of Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution. There were varying conditions in different States. In Tamil Nadu, a doctor, who completed super speciality course has to serve for 10 years in the State and in default pay Rs two Crores.

On August 19, 2019, the top court upheld the validity of the bonds and directed the state governments to consider providing a reasonable exit to the super speciality doctors from the compulsory service bond, amongst other directions. 

The central government constituted a Committee in September 2019 to formulate a uniform policy on compulsory bonds after deliberations with 19 state authorities. The panel recommended that in case the super speciality students, they should be taken as a contractual staff against a vacancy commensurate with their qualification and position. 

It also said those who would like to opt for defence services may be exempted from rendering compulsory bond service and further students selected through NEET super speciality should have a uniform bond policy in all states with maximum two years and Rs 20 lakh penalty.

In their fresh application, the Association sought implementation of the panel recommendations within one month. Among others, they also pleaded for posting only in jobs, commensurate with their qualifications and salary, and in their respective super speciality departments with adequate facilities, preferably in Medical Colleges.