Petitioning doctors took to court due to COVID-19 concerns
The Delhi High Court, on June 11, has refused to defer the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) screening test scheduled for June 18, amid COVID-19 crisis in the country.
Justice Amit Bansal has dismissed a plea by the Association of MD Physicians seeking postponement of the exams. The vacation court was held till 7:35pm.
The association’s foreign medical graduate members said that there are a limited number of cities being notified as centres for the FMGE screening test and a large number of candidates will be forced to travel without having received even one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
This plea was opposed by the counsel for National Board of Examination (NBE) and National Medical Commission (NMC) on the ground that this was a qualifying exam which can be taken by the petitioners even in December, if June is not an option, and it is not necessary to postpone the test due to individual concerns.
NMC’s representative, advocate T Singhdev, informed the court that a petition has also been filed by the Association in the Supreme Court in relation to the exam. He said while the petitioning doctors sought in the apex court to be included in the medical health force fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by exemption from FMGE, their plea in the High Court is to postpone the exams. He also underlined that many associations attempt at reducing the qualifying criteria year after year, as the passing rate of the exams is poor.
NBE’s representative advocate Kirtiman Singh, said that proper COVID-19 measures are being taken to conduct the exams, along with constant checks on safety protocols.
However, appearing for the petitioner’s association, advocate Adit S Pujari, said that the prayer referred by NMC counsel was not pressed before the top court.
The plea said that in accordance with the Indian Medical Council Act and Screening Test Regulations 2002, any persons possessing medical qualifications awarded by a foreign institution are required to qualify the FMGE Screening Test in order to receive recognition for their medical qualifications and to be registered to the State medical councils to practice medicine in India.
At a time when the world in going struggling through a pandemic, and when the strictest measures are being taken to control the virus, the members of the petitioner association and other eligible foreign medical graduates are being forced to appear for the FMGE Screening Test on June 18, while putting themselves and people around them at risk of contracting COVID-19, the plea mentioned.
Advocate Singhdev had earlier said that more doctors are needed to control the situation in case the third wave hits the country. The exam is for the entire country, and not just for the few petitioners. If some people don’t want to take the exam now, they will have the option to sit for it in June.
The plea also mentioned that on one hand the authorities have postponed the National Eligibility Entrance Test (Post Graduate) 2021 amid the pandemic, but they have decided to conduct the FMGE screening test at times when the country is going through the second wave of COVID-19.
Challenging the April notice from the authorities and the information bulletin, the petitioners contended that the decision of the authorities was completely arbitrary and unreasonable, and the exam should be deferred to a later date.
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