In recent news, the Bombay High Court reaffirmed that a medical officer must have at least three years of continuous service before they may be considered as an in-service candidate for admissions through the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Postgraduate (NEET-PG). The court emphasised that while establishing eligibility, temporary service should not be taken into account. In response to a doctor’s petition for in-service candidate status for the NEET PG 2023 test, this choice was made. Let’s investigate this case’s specifics and its ramifications in more depth.
The requirements for in-service medical personnel to take the NEET-PG test have generated debate and conflicting interpretations. In this article, we examine a recent decision by the Bombay High Court addressing the consideration of temporary service while assessing a medical officer’s suitability for the status of an in-service candidate.
The doctor who filed the petition in this matter was employed temporarily at the Paithan Rural Health Training Centre as a Medical Officer Class-I. The doctor was given a permanent job and posting in the rural region after serving for five years in a temporary capacity. However, the doctor’s request for a no objection certificate (NOC) to participate in NEET PG 2023 as an in-service candidate was rejected.
Criteria for In-Service Candidates’ Eligibility
The government resolution (GR) on “Regulation For Selection of In-Service Medical Officers from the cadre of Maharashtra Medical and Health Services Group – A for Post Graduate Degree and Diploma Courses” specifies the eligibility requirements for in-service applicants participating in NEET-PG. In order to be eligible as an in-service candidate, a candidate must have at least three years of continuous service in the permanent cadre, according to clause 4.2 of this resolution.
The Physician’s Defence
The doctor claimed that providing care in isolated and challenging places should be taken into account when granting grace marks, even temporarily. The argument was that both of these periods should be taken into account when claiming the benefit under Clause 5.2 of the GR due to the fact that the doctor first served on a temporary basis for five years before being given a permanent position.
The Additional Government Pleader argued against counting temporary service when applying Clause 4, which requires a candidate to have finished three years of service in the permanent cadre. The Additional Government Pleader was speaking on behalf of the State. The government’s position was that temporary service could not be used to satisfy the requirements under Clause 4 for eligibility.
The Court’s Remarks
The Bombay High Court’s bench, which was made up of Justices SG Chapalgaonkar and Mangesh S Patil, noticed that the petitioner doctor hadn’t served three years in the permanent cadre. The ruling that denied the doctor’s request to participate in NEET-PG2023 as an in-service candidate stated this circumstance as the justification. In order to comprehend the difference between eligibility and the issuance of grace marks, the court carefully reviewed the pertinent sections of the GR.
Knowledge of the Relevant Clauses
The requirements and standards for admission to PG diploma or degree programmes are listed in clause 4 of the GR. To participate in such examinations, prior approval from the Deputy Director of Health Services is required. A medical officer must have been chosen through a proper selection procedure and served in their regular appointment for at least three years, omitting any time that was temporary or contractual, according to clause 4.2.
Contrarily, Clause 5 deals with the awarding of bonus points or additional points for serving in remote and challenging locations. Even temporary service should be taken into account when figuring out how many years of service are required for the award of grace marks, according to Clause 5.2.
Differentiating Grace Marks from Eligibility Marks
The distinction between eligibility and grace marks was made clear by the court. A candidate must have finished three years of service in the regular cadre, as specified in Clause 4.2, in order to be able to stand for the examination as an in-service candidate. The candidate is entitled to grace marks after they are qualified and after getting the necessary consent per clause 4.1. In addition to regular work, these grace marks take into consideration years of service, especially those provided in remote and challenging places.
Denial of Rejected Marks
The court refused the petitioner the grace marks given to in-service applicants since they had not yet served three years in the regular cadre and had not secured the required authorization, as specified in Clauses 4.2 and 4.1, respectively. Due to the petitioner’s attendance in NEET-PG2023 as an in-service candidate and failure to meet the qualifying requirements, grace marks were not granted.
The Bombay High Court reaffirmed that temporary service cannot be taken into account while considering a medical officer’s eligibility to participate in the NEET-PG admissions process as an in-service applicant. The court’s decision emphasises that eligibility requires at least three years of continuous service in the regular cadre and distinguishes between eligibility and the award of grace marks. This choice is significant in ensuring that applicants for the NEET-PG are chosen fairly.