Delhi govt doctor moves Supreme Court for study leave to join MD course

The Supreme Court on Friday heard a plea filed by Medical Officer Dr. Rohit Kumar seeking study leave from Lieutenant-Governor Delhi for joining the MD (Paediatrics) course in Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh.

A divisional bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Krishna Murari has directed to list the matter after the ensuing summer vacation, filed by the doctor, who is currently working as a Medical Officer with the Department of Emergency and Accidents, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, New Delhi. He has challenged the dismissal of his writ petition by the Delhi High Court. 

The petitioner had submitted before the High Court that on October 14, 2020, he was granted permission to apply for and appear as sponsored candidate in the entrance examination INI CET 2020-21 for admission to post-graduate medical courses in Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh. Thereafter, pursuant to counselling he was provisionally selected for the Course of MD (Paediatrics) and was requested to join the session from 1st January. He had applied for ‘study leave’ to pursue the said course from January 15, 2021 to January 14, 2023 (three years). 

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for the petitioner before the High Court, had submitted,

“The Government of NCT of Delhi had issued a circular/order dated 9th July, 2020 restricting grant of study leave, but despite that, 11 doctors were permitted to go on study leave in similar circumstances, in a clear departure from the directions contained in the said circular.”

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The High Court had noted, the submission of the appellant, that the chance to pursue post-graduation at PGIMER is once in a lifetime opportunity for the appellant, may be true, however, that does not transform into an enforceable right to seek issuance of mandamus to the Respondent No.1 and 2, to accord study leave to the Appellant. 

It further held that

“the doctrine of promissory estoppel and legitimate expectation, which is also pressed into service by the appellant, cannot outweigh the statutory rule which enjoins Respondent No.1 to make a decision, having regard to the exigencies of the services. Holding otherwise would mean that every candidate, as a matter of right, is entitled to study leave, which can never be the intent of the law. This right will have to be relegated to the background when pitted against the public interest that forms the foundation of the impugned decision.”
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