A Single Judge bench of Justice Amit Bansal, Delhi High Court rejected plea seeking postponement of Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE), 2021.
It was the contention of the Union that contradictory cases are being set up by the petitioners before the Supreme Court and the present Court, clearly making a case of “Forum Shopping”
Counsel for the Union, T. Singhdev submitted that while the petitioners pray for being included in the Medical Healthforce before the Supreme Court by complete exemption from FMGE, they pray for postponement of the exam before the present Court on the ground of COVID.
Essentially, inclusion in the medical workforce to fight against COVID and seeking postponement due to COVID amounts to contradictory statements, making a case of forum shopping and perjury.
“The only thing is that passing rate of this examination is very low. Year after Year attempts are made by the petitioner association, all aimed at reducing the qualifying criteria”, added the learned counsel.
Counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Pujari clarified that the prayer emphasized by Adv. Singhdev, was not even pressed while hearing before the Supreme Court.
“You should have said that in the petition before the present Court. Now its too late”, the bench said.
Advocate Kirtiman made submissions on COVID Protocols and clauses relevant for the present exam.
The petitioner re-joined his submissions by stating that the interim prayer before the Supreme Court was only to treat petitioners equivalent to PG students allowed for Internships, allowed monetary benefits. It was added that no matter choice of city is allowed while filling the form but the brochure of the respondents clearly says that discretion to allot centre shall retain with them. Reliance was also placed on postponement of INICET Exam, as decided today.
Counsel also produced details showing number of candidates who are vaccinated, who have a family member tested positive, who himself/herself was tested positive anytime during the past months.
“One last argument on straight Article 14. No other medical student has to travel, but I have to”, said Mr. Pujari, carving out a case of differential treatment.
The petitioner Association in its plea argued that “Most of our states are going through a lockdown phase. So, it is difficult to travel to reach exam centres. 99% of the students are not vaccinated and many have elderly and COVID patients at home. Majority of the students were in metro cities for coaching but due to lockdown most of them left the metros and returned to their hometown but FMGE exam centre was booked before the surge in cases which is metro-based centres. Third wave of COVID 19 delta variant has already been reported in many cities, even vaccinated young citizens are equally vulnerable to it and hence it will be a wise decision to postpone the exam. It will be safe to conduct exam during August 2021 like last year and by then the number of COVID19 cases will drop and majority will get vaccinated at least first dose.”