The Delhi High Court has said the services of resident doctors are imperative for functioning of hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic while noting that the decision of the authorities to extend their training beyond schedule cannot be arbitrary or unreasonable.
The High Court’s remark came while hearing a plea by several doctors who are in DNB Super Speciality courses, challenging a May 4, 2021 notification by which the National Board of Examination (NBE) has extended their training beyond the scheduled date of its completion.
The doctors contended that the DNB course is of three years and a mandatory extension of three months is permissible, which they have already served, and claimed that the authorities are not empowered to extend the course beyond this period.
Justice Prateek Jalan, however, remarked, “Having regard to the circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for continuation of residents as mentioned in the National Medical Commission (NMC) advisory dated April 27, 2021 — which has not been challenged in the writ petition — I am unable to accede to [advocate Sidharth] Yadav’s request for an interim order”.
The court agreed with the submission of the NMC and the NBE that the availability of resident doctors is imperative for the functioning of hospitals.
The High Court said it was unable to accept the contention of the doctors’ counsel that even in the circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deferment of the practical examinations of the petitioners is on account of a deliberate stratagem adopted by the respondents.
“Be that as it may, the undisputed fact is that the petitioners are yet to complete their final practical examination, and the question of issuing a completion certificate or releasing them from their present training does not arise at this stage,” it said.
The High Court has issued notices to the Centre, DNB and the NBE on the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on August 4.
This article was originally published on The Hindu