Patna High Court: Bihar Government to Incentivize Doctors in Rural Areas As Per Notifications

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The Patna HC directed the Chief Secretary to fill up doctors’ vacancies in rural areas. They could do so by transfers or recruitments to fill vacancies in difficult areas.

Facts of the Case

The Court was dealing with petitions that challenged the State Government’s refusal to give incentives to doctors who served in rural areas. This was to determine their merit in the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).

As per the Medical Council of India (MCI), Regulation 9 (IV) granted discretion to doctors serving in difficult or rural areas. Regulation 9 (VII) also extended a 50% reservation in PG diplomas for such doctors.

The State refused to incorporate these incentives while drawing its merit lists. As a result, the HC had ruled in favour of doctors who challenged the state’s refusal to consider these regulations. The bench held that Regulation 9 (IV) would be implemented. Yet, this decision was challenged before the Division Bench. 

Court’s Observations

The State argued that such an incentive would affect the services of the doctors in urban areas. The Court held the Regulation 9 (IV) is not mandatory. Granting such an incentive is only for the benefit of the public. As per the Constitution, all power must be exercised to serve the public interest, and for good. Hence, if they give such benefits, doctors will volunteer and serve the needy in the remotest corner of the state. 

The Court held that granting such an incentive is a matter of discretion. If the State Government has found a circumstance that warrants need for such services, then the incentives cannot be taken away. 

In Bihar’s case, the Court held that a large number of posts in the rural parts are vacant. So, MCI gave incentives to motivate the doctors to serve in such areas by adding weightage of 10% to 30% in marks of NEET.

The Court also pulled up the Bihar Government for not giving incentives to doctors, even after admitting that there were difficult areas in need of them. The Court lamented over the fact that the percentage of doctors in urban areas was much more than those in rural areas. It noted that of 8,768 doctor vacancies in Bihar, 5,674 vacancies were in rural, remote, or difficult areas.

Court’s Order

“Discretion according to benefits is with the Govt, but its exercise has to be on rational and not arbitrary and capricious grounds. There is no logic in depriving the doctors posted in the rural areas of such benefits.” 

The Court proceeded to dismiss the State’s appeal. It entitled all candidates who have participated in the selection process to the benefit of 2013 and 2014 notifications issued by the Government. It also held that provisions in the prospectus to the contrary are illegal and void.

Additionally, it asked the State Government to redraw the merit list. The Court would consider Regulation 9 (IV) after accounting for other things like certificates or proof of eligibility. 


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