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NEW DELHI: In a big relief to MBBS students studying in private colleges, the Supreme Court on Friday said the private medical colleges cannot force the students to sign bonds for serving the alma mater as resident doctors after graduation and extract huge amounts from them for breaching the imposed condition.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli gave this ruling while dismissing an appeal filed by R D Gardi Medical college, Ujjain, which was asked to return Rs 5 lakh bond amount with 8% annual interest to Dr Anshul Jain as she had deposited the amount to work elsewhere after doing her post-graduation in anaesthesia from the private medical college in Madhya Pradesh.

The counsel for the private medical college said all government medical colleges take a bond for amounts ranging from Rs 30-50 lakhs and encash the bond if the MBBS student refuses to work in the attached government hospital after completion of the graduation and subsequent post-graduation courses.

CJI Chandrachud said it is futile to draw a comparison between government and private medical colleges on the issue of seeking bonds from students. “The fees charged by the private medical colleges are far too high compared to those levied by government medical colleges. The governments highly subsidise the fees of medical students, hence it was understandable why the government medical colleges seek a bond. Moreover, the government hospitals, where these students are to work as per the bonds, are visited by poor patients. Absence of doctors in these government hospitals would cause disruption of health services.”

The R D Gardi Medical College counsel then sought waiver of interest on the Rs 5 lakh bond amount to be returned to Dr Jain. But, the SC said that since the college held on to the amount for these many years, the doctor should not be deprived of legitimate interest on the bond amount.” The counsel said that the Kerala government permits private colleges to take bonds from MBBS students, but the SC said there is no regulation which permits private medical colleges to seek bonds from students.

Jain took admission in PG (Anaesthesia) course in the college in August 2014 and was also appointed a junior resident with a salary of Rs 30,000 per month. She was made to sign a bond that she would serve for at least one year as senior resident after completion of PG at a salary of Rs 40,000 per month. A condition was imposed that if she failed to serve the minimum required one year period, she would have to pay Rs 5 lakh. Her certificates would not be returned unless she paid up the amount, it was stated.

As there was delay in her appointment as senior resident, she paid Rs 5 lakh and took her certificates from the college. However, in 2019 she filed a writ petition before the Madhya Pradesh HC seeking return of the bond amount, which the HC allowed. As per MP Medical & Dental Post Graduate Courses (Degree/Diploma) Admission Rules, 2014, a selected candidate has to submit a bond of Rs10 lakhs for a PG degree and Rs 8 lakhs for a Diploma course for serving under the state government for one year after completing PG/Diploma Course.


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