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M/s. Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association v/s The Special Chief Secretary to Government Health Medical & Family Welfare Department Secretariat Hyderabad & Another

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    Writ Petition (PIL) No. 126 of 2020

    Decided On, 19 June 2020

    At, High Court of for the State of Telangana


    For the Petitioner: Sama Sandeep Reddy, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1, J. Ramachandra Rao, Additional Advocate General, R2, Prabhakar, Standing Counsel.

Judgment Text

Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ.

The petitioner has made the following prayers:

“….to pass an order or direction or any other proceedings one in the nature of Writ of Mandamus declaring the action of the Respondents in issued by the notifying the schedule of Medical and Dental PG Degree/Diploma Examinations to be conducted from 20/06/2020 to 29/06/2020 vide Lr No 137/KNRUHS/EXAMS/NOTIFICATIONS/2020 and Lr No 138/KNRUHS/EXAMS/NOTIFICATIONS/2020 issued by the 2nd respondent despite the Advisories being issued in regard to COVID19 Pandemic as arbitrary and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and consequently direct the Respondents to postpone the said examinations in the interest of the life and health of the doctors/exam going PG students and until such time exams are conducted direct the respondents to utilize their services by continuing them as Senior Residents and pass…”

Mr. Sama Sandeep Reddy, the learned counsel for the petitioner, submits that on 15.06.2020, her Excellency, the Governor has held a Video Conference with the Director, CCMB, the former Health Secretary, Government of India, the former Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Hari Prasad, President, Apollo Hospitals, Dr. Vijendar Reddy, President of IMA, Telangana, Dr. Swaminathan, USA, Specialist in COVID and Nephrologist, and Mr. K. Vamsimohan, the first patient treated with Plasma therapy. Considering the spread of Covid-19, and considering the serious nature of Coronavirus, a suggestion was made that “all the examinations including the Medical P.G. examination should be postponed till the situation improves and it will be safe and conducive to hold the P.G. Medical Examination”.

However, despite the suggestion made by the Governor as the Chancellor, the respondent No.2, Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences, is proposing to hold the P.G. Medical Examination, commencing from 20.06.2020 till 29.06.2020. Therefore, it is imperative that during the grave situation created by Covid-19, the examination should be postponed.

In order to further buttress his contentions, the learned counsel has relied on a letter dated 07.04.2020 issued by the Medical Council of India (‘MCI’), wherein even the MCI had advised that the final year examinations of Post Graduate Courses should also be postponed till the condition improves.

This Court has had the benefit of hearing Dr. Karunakar Reddy, the Vice-Chancellor of the second respondent University. Dr. Reddy informs this Court that in all, 1197 Post-Graduate students, including the students of Degree and Diploma, are scheduled to take the examination mentioned hereinabove. He further informs this Court that these students were attending the hospitals till the end of April, 2020. Moreover, the learned Vice-Chancellor informs this Court that he has already received a letter dated 22.05.2020 from the MCI, whereby the University has been advised to complete the examination by 30.06.2020. Moreover, he informs that by letter dated 12.06.2020, the Chancellor has already directed the respondent No. 2- University to continue to hold the PG Examination.

Furthermore, since he had brought it to the notice of the MCI that it will not be possible for the University to hold the practical examination, which require the students to come to the University, to go to the labs and even to deal with Cadavers. Therefore, by letter dated 15.06.2020, the MCI had already informed the Vice-Chancellor that as a one time measure, the students can be permitted to give their practical examination by using the simulations and case scenario, and no patient will be required to be examined by the students. Therefore, the learned Vice-Chancellor informs this Court that the practical examination will be held by use of simulations and case scenario, and no patients will be required for examination. Furthermore, 158 students are required to take their examination in the Gandhi Medical College. But, considering the fact that the Gandhi Medical College has been designated as a Covid-19 Hospital, a separate arrangement is being made so that the students of Gandhi Medical College do not have to enter the Gandhi Medical College Campus. In fact, the separate arrangement is being made keeping in mind the concern expressed by this Court on 18.06.2020. Moreover, considering the fact that some of the students may come from “containment areas”, some of the students may actually be quarantined, and some of the students may be more concerned with their health issues than with taking the P.G. examination, the MCI has already agreed to treat such students as regular students and to permit them to take a subsequent examination, which will be scheduled immediately after the situation normalizes. Further, the Vice-Chancellor gives an undertaking that those students who have already deposited the examination fee, would not be asked to deposit fresh examination fees, in case they fail to take the present examination. In fact, the fees, so deposited, will be adjusted.

Mr. J. Ramachandra Rao, the learned Additional Advocate General, and Mr. A. Prabhakar Rao, the learned Standing Counsel for the University, inform this Court that, in fact, “sufficient safety measures” are being taken by the respondents in order to ensure that the students are not infected by Coronavirus. These “safety measures” will include that all the students coming to the examination centers would be subjected to thermal screening, would be provided with sanitizers and mask, and it will be ensured that social distancing is maintained both within and without the examination hall. In case, any student is found with any symptom of Covid-19, the student will be separated from other students, and will be asked to write the examination in a separate room.

Heard the learned counsel for the parties.

Undoubtedly, the University is bound by the advice given by the MCI. Moreover, the Vice-Chancellor is bound to follow the advice given by the Chancellor. Admittedly, both by letter dated 12.06.2020 issued by the Chancellor and by the letter dated 22.05.2020 issued by the MCI, the University has been directed to not only continue, but Also to conclude the examination by 30.06.2020. Thus, the University has no other option, but to hold the examination from 20.06.2020.

According to the learned Additional Advocate General and according to the learned Standing Counsel for the University, preparations have already been made to conduct the PG Medical Examination from 20.06.2020, and to complete the same by 29.06.2020. Considering the fact that Gandhi Hospital has been designated as Covid-19 Hospital, special arrangements have also been made for the P.G. students of Gandhi Medical College.

Considering the fact that MCI has already agreed to permit the University to hold an additional examinati

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on for those students, who fail to appear in the present one, this Court is of the opinion that it will be in the interest of justice to permit the respondents to conduct the PG Medical Examination from 20.06.2020, and to complete it by 29.06.2020. However, simultaneously, this Court directs both the respondents to ensure that all safety measures, mentioned hereinabove, are duly complied with. Further, it is made clear that the fee paid by the students who are not taking the ongoing examinations, will be adjusted as the examination fees for the subsequent examinations. With these directions, this writ petition stands disposed of. There shall be no order as to costs. As a sequel, miscellaneous petitions, pending if any, shall stand closed.