The Centre cannot hold to ransom and retain the original documents of the doctors who refuse to serve as Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers after completing their studies from armed forces-run medical colleges, the Delhi high court has said.
Terming the decision to retain the documents as “arbitrary” and “illegal”, Justice Rekha Palli held that the Centre was free to take any steps to recover an amount for the violation of the bond signed by the students but it could not keep the original degrees submitted by them at the time of admission.
“….in my considered opinion, Centre and Armed Forces Medical Services cannot, by way of ransom, retain the said documents. Even though they may be free to initiate steps to recover the said amount in accordance with law, the action to retain the said documents in the absence of any condition in the bond is wholly arbitrary, illegal,” the court said.
The court’s order came on a petition filed by two doctors who secured admission to postgraduate courses run at army’s R&R Hospital in 2014 and also executed a surety bond to serve as SSC officers for 5 years and pay ₹25 lakh if they in the case they defaulted. At the time of joining the course, the doctors submitted their original MBBS degrees with the Academic Cell.
However, after completing the course, both of them cleared the entrance exam for Super Speciality Course through NEET and decided to discontinue Armed Forces Medical Services. The petitioners contended that they could not enroll in the Super Speciality Course course because their original degrees were retained and alleged that they were forced to execute the bond.