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Supreme Court refuses to pass any direction in Foreign Medical Graduate Examination

Justice Banerjee said it is not possible for the court to say what reasonable time would be for the preparation of exams, it is up to the commission and universities.

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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass any direction in a plea filed by candidates due to appear in the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) and seeking a postponement of the said exam from the National Board of Examination amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M.R. Shah said, “Universities are not a party here and no pleadings. In such circumstances, we do not deem it appropriate to pass any orders. NMC has given the Universities the liberty to choose the time and method of examination due to Covid-19.

Justice Banerjee said it is not possible for the court to say what reasonable time would be for the preparation of exams, it is up to the commission and universities. The Writ Petition is disposed off.

Counsel appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde submitted that there are two-three prayers, which are left to be considered by the bench. “We are the people, who are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore in these extraordinary circumstances, we cannot be forced to give exam.”

The bench replied, “You people cannot be allowed to be promoted without exam.”

Mr Hegde said the students must be give one-month for the preparation of the exam.

The bench said, “Mr Hegde, we can only say that exams should be postponed. We cannot give order to promote without examination. The pandemic situation will not be the same all over the India. Therefore, this has to be decided locally.

“The National Medical Counsel has given liberty to the Universities to conduct the exam at the appropriate time, taking into consideration the Pandemic conditions of that local area, then how can we pass a general order for pan India? We don’t wish to interfere,” it added.

Mr Hegde said, “I am just saying that exams should not be conducted when there is Covid-19 pandemic. Milords, please let me explain the situation.”

The plea was filed against the notification issued by the National Board of Examinations for conducting the FMGE in June, 2021.

During the last hearing, Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde appeared along with AOR Charu Mathur and Tanvi Dubey on behalf of the petitioner candidates and prayed for the postponement of FMGE exam.

The Bench had then said, “Let the High Court order come, it must be a reasoned order. We will keep the matter on Friday.”

Senior Counsel Hegde submitted the exam is on Friday and the matter will become infructuous by then.

“We cannot help, the Bench is not available any other day. Tell your clients to prepare for the exam and appear in the exam,” said the Court.

FMGE is one of the mandatory requirements for an Indian citizen, who has a medical degree from a college outside India to practice medicine in the country.

The National Board of Examination has issued a notice along with information bulletin titled ‘FMGE Screening Test Information Bulletin,’ in which the board notified the schedule of the examination.

The candidates were informed that the last date for submission of application form is May 6, 2021 and that FMGE-2021 will be conducted on June 18, 2021 because of the abrupt announcement, the petitioners contended that they are in excessive mental pressure.

The petitioners are concerned that the conduct of the exam at this stage will severely affect not only the examinees but also their family members and that this cycle will never cease and only act as a catalyst.

While discussing about the serious problems faced by thousands of students across the country in view of Impugned Notice providing for the schedule of the FMGE exam, the petitioners seeks following directions:

– To quash the Notice dated 15.04.2021 issued by the National Board of Examination which is in regard with providing for the schedule of the FMGE to be conducted on June 18, 2021

– To direct the National Board of Examination to postpone the FMGE, scheduled to be conducted on June 18, 2021

– To direct the National board of Examination to have centers in each state

The petitioners further sought intervention from the apex court for protection of their Right to Health, reminding that it is an inseparable part of Right to Life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution, while calling the Board’s decision unreasonable, arbitrary and a mindless exercise, as it fails to take into consideration the hardship, which will be caused to thousands of examinees, who will be sitting for the examination. Also, this decision will deprive the candidates who are residing outside India.

Read Also: Children remain Covid-19’s most vulnerable

Thereafter, the petitioner highlighted the decision of conducting exam is against the Prime Minister’s statement made on May 3, 2021, wherein NEET-PG exam was postponed for four months with an assurance that NEET PG will not be conducted till August 31, 2021 and further following statements-

– Medical personnel completing 100 days of Covid duties will be given priority in forthcoming regular Government recruitments;

– Medical interns to be deployed in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty;

– Final Year MBBS students can be utilized for tele-consultation and monitoring of mild Covid cases under supervision of Faculty;

– B.Sc/GNM qualified nurses to be utilized in full-time Covid nursing duties under the supervision of Senior Doctors and Nurses.

– Medical personnel completing 100 days of Covid duties will be given Prime Minister’s distinguished Covid National Service Samman.

Furthermore, the petitioner submitted that the Supreme Court, in plethora of judgements, have held in clear and categorical terms that any restriction on the right to life must be by a procedure prescribed by ‘law’ and such ‘law’ must be reasonable, fair and just. 

Source: ILNS

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