The Madras High Court has ordered that government medical college students who were undergoing super-specialty courses while offering their services to treat COVID-19 patients must be given the benefit of adjusting that period of service against their bond period of two years.
Justice C.V. Karthikeyan held that it would be discriminatory to adjust the period of service rendered by postgraduate doctors during different waves of COVID-19 against their bond period of two years but not offer the same benefit to those who were undergoing super-specialty courses.
The judge concurred with advocate Suhrith Parthasarathy, representing a group of five super-specialty medical graduates, that the government must appreciate the services rendered by the writ petitioners by risking their lives during the critical period and offset that duration against their bond period. The orders were passed on a joint writ petition filed by doctors M.P. Jayakrishnan, Mohamed Yasid, Rohan Gayakwad, Archana Chiniwalar and Sumi M. Pillai, who had completed their postgraduation and then undergone super-specialty courses in neurology, medical gastroenterology and nephrology.
At the time of taking up admissions in the government medical colleges in Coimbatore, Salem, Villupuram and Tiruvallur, they were asked to execute a bond agreeing to serve the government institutions for a period of two years after the completion of their studies or end up paying ₹50 lakh each to the State.
However, during the course of their study, the petitioners had served as frontline workers when COVID-19 struck and assisted the State in saving lives and providing quality healthcare to the patients and when they requested for offsetting that period against their bond period, the government refused, leading to the present petition.