New Delhi: The Supreme Court recently observed that asking a student to pay Rs 30 lakh penalty against “seat leaving bond” is too much when the yearly fees for the government medical college seat is Rs 1,24,000.

Therefore, inviting the opinions of the National Medical Commission (NMC) in this matter, the top court bench comprising of Justices D.Y.Chandrachud and Hima Kohli has now impleaded the Apex medical commission in this regard.

The court was considering a plea filed by a Junior resident doctor from Madhya Pradesh. It was the grievance of the petitioner doctor Sheeba Rao that his institute Shyam Shah Medical College was asking him to pay Rs 30 lakh seat leaving bond in order to get permission to appear in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Postgraduate (NEET-PG) Counselling this year. 

“It is reasonable for having a higher bond amount to compensate for the loss of seat. But ₹30 lakh is too much,” observed the bench while issuing notice in this regard.

The matter has been listed for further hearing on October 31, 2022.

After clearing NEET-PG 2021 examination, the petitioner doctor had secured admission in Master of Surgery (obstetrics and gynecology) at Shyam Shah Medical College in the stray vacancy counselling round. However, even after getting admitted to the college on May 7, she was not satisfied with the infrastructure of the medical college and also the Rewa city where the college is located.

Also Read: Matter of MBBS fee at private Medical Colleges: NMC asks SC to transfer and consolidate all pleas

The concerned student had signed a “seat leaving” bond of Rs 30 lakh at the time of joining the course and back then she had also submitted her original certificates. When she informed the college about her decision to quit the seat, the Medical Education Department of the MP Government along with the Dean of the medical college issued her with a letter on July 4 and refused to give her permission for participating in the NEET-PG 2022 counselling process without fulfilling the bond terms. Therefore, she could not participate in the NEET-PG 2022 admission process since her certificates had been withheld by the college authorities.

Following this, the doctor approached the Jabalpur bench of the High Court with a prayer to reduce the bond amount from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. However, while considering the matter, the Jabalpur bench of High Court had dismissed her plea on August 29.

After considering the matter, the HC bench had ruled, “The bond has been filled by the petitioner which is reflected from seat leaving bond wherein the condition was clear that in case of petitioner obtained to leave despite execution of bond she is required to deposit ₹30 lakh.”

“The petition is bound by the seat leaving bond and is required to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the bond and then the original documents can be released to her… No illegality is committed by the authorities in issuing such a letter (July 4) to the petitioner,” it had further noted.

Now the doctor has approached the Supreme Court bench challenging the HC order. The counsel for the doctor, Ms Archana Pathak Dave argued that Rs 30 lakh amount was unreasonable and exorbitant when compared with other states. In this regard, the doctor’s counsel referred to the bond amount fixed by other states and pointed out that some states had fixed the amount ar Rs 10 lakh.

As per the latest media report by Hindustan Times, the doctor’s counsel further submitted that the petitioner did not wish to continue her admission at the medical college at Rewa since she had developed symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Further referring to the fact that the yearly fees at the medical college was Rs 1.24 lakhs, the doctor’s counsel argued that there is no justification to forfeit the entire bond amount of Rs 30 lakhs. In this regard, the plea also raised the issue concerning the lack of uniformity in fixing the bond amount in different states.

The daily adds that the NMC counsel Advocate Gaurav Sharma informed the top court bench that the top court should not interfere with the order of the High Court because the petitioner’s action resulted in a prized seat at a government medical college ‘go waste’ for the entire academic session for two years.

It was further submitted by the NMC counsel that the private medical colleges charge a heavy premium bond amount and the government seats which are limited in number should not be allowed to go waste considering the fact that an eligible candidate could not avail the seat because of the petitioner doctor.

Listing the matter for further hearing on October 31, the top court bench was quoted observing, “We can ask her to pay ₹15 lakh. We will implead (make party) the NMC to understand what is the rationale behind this amount on the next date.”

To read the order, click on the link below.

Also Read: SC relief to PG medical aspirant: Allows to appear in NEET PG Counselling without original documents

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