The petitioners told the Court that government doctors, who had completed their post graduation and had been part of the Covid duty, were favourably considered by the respondents and the period for which they had actually treated COVID patients had been off-set with the two years bond period.
The petitioners argued that they were being treated “unequally” even though they had completed their post graduation degrees already when the pandemic hit, and were pursuing super speciality courses after their PG degrees.
The Court held that when post graduate students, who had rendered service by treating covid-19 patients were accommodated by the respondents, there was no plausible reason advanced for the petitioners to be denied of adjustment of that period.
The Court agreed with the petitioners’ submissions and said that the present case seemed like unfair discrimination.
“Voluntarily offering themselves to treat covid-19 patients could be by Post Graduates and incidentally also by those who are studying Super Specialty Courses after completing their Post Graduates course. The petitioners were studying Super Specialty Courses and I hold that the said fact should not be held against them. If they had avoided giving treatment to Covid 19 patients on the ground that they are studying Super SpecialtyCourses then, the petitioners could be found fault with. But they had also undergone the same risk and had treated the patients. The concept of adjustment of that service rendered during covid-19 is to also appreciated. The risk which the medical professionals had put themselves while treating the patients during the first phase of covid-19 when vaccinations had not been discovered put every front line workerat risk. Many of suffered that risk,” the HighCourt said.
It said that the health risk undertaken by the petitioners had to be treated as equal to that undertaken by post graduate doctors.
It accordingly, directed the respondent State authorities to adjust the COVID duty period of the petitioners against the bond period and to return their certificates within three weeks.
Advocate Suhrith Parthasarathy appeared for the petitioner doctors.
Additional Government Pleader U Baranitharan appeared for the TN government and other respondent Medical education bodies.
Advocate Shubharanjani Ananth appeared for the respondent National Medical Council.