Delhi HC issues notice on appeal filed by Association of MD Physicians over cost imposed, remarks by Single-Judge Bench

The Delhi High Court has issued a notice in the appeal filed by the Association of MD Physicians, challenging the cost imposed and adverse observations made against the Association by the Single-Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court, while dismissing its plea, seeking postponement of the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE).

The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, however, made the issuance of notice conditional on the deposit of cost of Rs 25,000 by the appellant Association before the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court, within three weeks.  

The Bench yesterday slammed the Association for filing petitions before two forums and remarked that if the pleas are filed both before the Supreme Court as well as before the High Court, then the appellant is bound to be in problem.

Subsequently, the Bench refused to issue notice in the petition till the time the cost as imposed by the Single Judge is not deposited.

The Association, represented by Advocate Adit S Pujari, submitted that the interim relief sought from the Supreme Court was in no way related to the substance or even remotely associated with the relief sought before the Delhi High Court.  

The Bench then questioned if the appellant wishes to file a review before the Single Judge, to which the response was in the negative. The matter will now be taken up on August 27. 

Earlier, the appeal was listed before the Vacation Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar and Justice Subramonium Prasad that had deferred hearing on the appeal, stating that there was 'no justification for taking up the matter in vacation'.

At the backdrop, a petition was filed on behalf of the Association of MD Physicians, an association of Foreign Medical Graduates, who have completed their primary medical courses from medical education institutions outside India, seeking postponement of Foreign Medical Graduate Examination, conducted by the National Board of Examination, scheduled to be held on June 18, on account of COVID-19 situation prevailing in the country.

As per the Indian Medical Council Act and the Screening Test Regulations 2002, persons possessing medical qualifications awarded by a foreign institution are required to qualify the FMGE Screening Test, in order to receive recognition for their medical qualifications and to be registered to the State Medical Councils to practice medicine in India.

The Bench of Justice Amit Bansal, vide order dated June 11, refused to interfere with the decision of the NBE on the ground that the examination conducting bodies have taken all precautionary measures in holding the said examination, and dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 25,000.

The Bench remarked: "I find substance in the submission of the respondents that the petitioner Association has not been honest in its disclosure in the present petition with regard to the petition filed by it before the Supreme Court. In light of the prayers made before the Supreme Court, the petitioner Association should have clearly disclosed in the present petition the reliefs sought before the Supreme Court.

Also Read: Zomato, Swiggy versus restaurants: Data masking, anti-competition practices and more

"In fact, a copy of the petition filed before the Supreme Court ought to have been placed before this Court... It is trite that the petitioner approaching a Court under its writ jurisdiction has to come with clean hands. In the present case, I have no doubt in my mind that the Association did not come clean with regard to the prior petition filed before the Supreme Court and has indulged in forum shopping.

"Timing of filing of the present petition also leaves one in no doubt that the Association has indulged in forum shopping and is, therefore, not entitled to invoke the equitable writ jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution," added the Court.

In view of the fact that the Information Bulletin for the FMGE-June, 2021 had been out since April 16, 2021, the Single-Judge Bench had observed that the Association had approached the Court at a highly belated stage, on June 6, 2021; and furthermore, "the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is seemingly behind us".