Boutique Litigation Law Firm - Retain Lawyers - Research based Law Firm - Complete legal services

The condition of execution of compulsory service bonds by doctors for doing higher studies in government institutions is constitutionally and legally valid; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta

The SC {Association of Medical Super Speciality Aspirants and Residents & Ors. v. Union of India & Others} holds that the compulsory service bonds executed by the doctors pursuing post graduation from the government institutes as a pre-condition for doing that, the imposition of such condition, is within the jurisdiction of the state government, and there is no violation of fundamental rights by the state governments by doing so. It was further held that by seeking bond there is no as such enforcement of specific performance of contact of personal service by the government, and there is no restraint on profession by imposing condition for execution of compulsory service bonds, or in default of that to pay compensation to the government.

It was held by the SC that the conditions of compulsory bonds for admission to post-graduate and super-Speciality courses in government medical colleges are not in violation of Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

The contention by the doctors was raised that compulsory bonds placed a restraint on their profession and thus, would be contrary to Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. The SC repelled this submission by holding that the compulsory bond does not amount to any restraint on the professional activity of the doctors. The SC affims finding of HC that the Appellants are offered the job of  Medical Officer in the State of West Bengal and that the covenant in the compulsory bond operates only during the period of such employment.

It was held that Article 23 (2) of the Constitution enables the State Governments to require the Appellants to do compulsory service in the Government hospitals which is undoubtedly for the benefit of the public.

It was further held by the SC that the Appellants who are required to work for a short period on a decent stipend cannot complain that they are made to perform ‘forced labour’, especially after the Appellants have taken an informed decision to avail the benefits of admission in government medical colleges and received subsidized education. By no means, the service rendered by the Appellants in Government hospitals would fall under the expression of ‘forced labour’

The Appellants contended before the SC that their liberty is curtailed by the compulsory bonds. It was held by the SC that the laudable objective with which the State Governments have introduced compulsory service bonds is to protect the fundamental right of the deprived sections of the society guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The contention of the Appellants that their rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India have been violated was accordingly rejected by the SC.

The SC further held that the compulsory bond executed by the Appellants is at the time of their admissions into post-graduate and super Speciality courses. It was held that conditions imposed for admission to a medical college will not directly violate the right of an individual to carry on his profession. The right to carry on the profession would start on the completion of the course. Further held that, there is no doubt that no right inheres in an individual to receive higher education, and violation of a right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) does not arise in a case pertaining to admission to a college. The SC holds there is no doubt, that the condition that is imposed has a connection with the professional activity of a doctor on completion of the course. It was held, however, the Appellants have, without any protest, accepted the admissions and executed the compulsory bonds. It was held that execution of bonds is part of a composite package. The SC held that it is in agreement with the judgment of the Calcutta High Court that the Appellants have not been able to succeed in their attempt of assailing the Notifications for being violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The SC upholds the said finding of the Division Bench.

The SC holds that the decision taken by the State Governments to impose a condition of compulsory bond for admission to post-graduate courses and super Speciality is on the basis of relevant material. Huge infrastructure has to be developed and maintained for running medical colleges with post-graduate and super Speciality courses. The amount of fees charged from the students is meagre in comparison to the private medical colleges. Reasonable stipend has to be paid to the doctors. Above all, the State Governments have taken into account the need to provide health care to the people and the scarcity of super specialists in their States. Consequently, it was held that a policy decision taken by the State Governments to utilize the services of doctors who were beneficiaries of Government assistance to complete their education cannot be termed arbitrary.

The SC further holds that notifications issued by the State Governments imposing a condition of execution of compulsory bonds at the time of admission to postgraduate courses and super Speciality courses cannot be said to be vitiated due to lack of authority or competence. The field of bonds requiring compulsory employment is not covered by any Central Legislation. Therefore, the submissions made on behalf of the Appellants that the States lacked competence to issue the notifications as the field is occupied were rejected by the SC. Consequently, the petitions were dismissed.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published