Covid: SC rejects medical PG final exam waiver plea

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea for waiver of examinations for final-year post-graduate medical students as it wondered how patients could be left at the mercy of doctors who haven’t completed their exams.

The court, however, sought response of the Union ministry for health and family welfare and the National Medical Council (NMC) on the plea of the PG medical students for postponement of final-year exams at least by a month for preparation.

“They will be treating patients. How can they (patients) be in the hands of people who haven’t cleared the exams?” Justice M.R. Shah asked senior advocate Sanjay Hegde during the hearing.

The bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee was dealing with a petition filed by a group of PG medical students seeking a blanket waiver on their final-year exams for this year as they are busy treating Covid-19 patients and hence could not prepare.

Hegde pleaded that the NMC was also unable to take any decision on the waiver as they are seeking suitable instructions from the National Disaster Management Authority. He said most of the petitioner doctors treating Covid patients have also lost their own family members to the pandemic. He said the doctors were constrained to invoke the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction for enforcement of their fundamental rights under Article 32.

“Prima facie we are not satisfied to give such a direction under Article 32 to waive off the examination… It is a completely policy decision,” the bench observed.

The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to next Friday.

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