Medical Students to Produce a Negative RTPCR Covid-19 Report: Bombay HC
5th June 2021, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court in the case of Herd Foundation, A Company… vs Union of India, Ministry of Health through a single bench observed that medical students appearing for the exam need to produce a negative RTPCR COVID-19 test report before appearing for exam to the appropriate authority.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Avinash G Gharote observed:
“It is true that the safety of every citizen is the duty of the Union and the State, it is equally true that all that is necessary and humanly possible, to protect and save lives is being done, by putting to maximum utilization, the resources which are presently available.”
The court added:
“In case an examinee is not having such a RT-PCR certificate, he can have report of a Rapid Antigen test and be permitted to appear in the examination on its basis, but may also be asked to get an RT-PCR test conducted upon himself/herself and produce a report in that regard on the next date of the examination and preferably on 15.06.2021. Needless to say, that in case the RT-PCR report is found positive, such an examinee would not be in a position to undertake the examination, in order to avoid spread of the infection.”
A PIL was filed by the petitioner in the High Court of Bombay for the postponement of the winter 2020 UG and PG students. The contention of the petitioner was that the UG and PG students having Winter 2020 Medical Examination which is to commence from 10.06.2021, ought to be postponed because the students are not yet vaccinated. Considering the present situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, any assembly of persons for the above said examinations would create a situation where there would be a surge in the spread of the virus again and since the same can be avoided by postponing the examination, it ought to be done as it is the fundamental duty of the Union and the State to protect the life of each and every citizen.
Further, the petitioner stated that the life of the staff and teacher conducting the exam shall also be in danger. The petitioners relied on the judgment of Aarushi Dhasmana Vs. Union of India and others (2013) 9 SCC 475. The petitioner also referred to the suspension of the 12th exams.
In response to the allegation of the petitioner, the respondent (no.4) submitted that there is no locus standi in this case. The respondent no.4 stated that the petitioners are aware of the ongoing pandemic and have taken all necessary precautions regarding that. The respondent also stated that the examination schedule had been already fixed previously and the petitioner’s claims before this court prior to a few days of examination show how genuine is their claims.
Further, the respondent submitted that “it is not as if the students are being forced to take the examinations, rather on the contrary a choice has been given to them either to take the examinations now or at a later stage and if any student felt apprehensive about his health he had the choice not to take the examinations now and to opt for taking them later, for which purpose he invites bench’s attention to the Advisory dated 19/04/2021, issued by the Under Graduate Medical Education Board, National Medical Commission, which specifically deals with the option given to the students.” The respondent suggested an upper limit to conduct a test done by them independently.
The court after hearing each party came to conclude that the safety of the citizen is the duty of the Union and the State. For the purpose of conducting the exam, the Court observed that there must be a negative report submitted by the students who are eligible for the exam and if any student’s report comes negative then he/she shall not be eligible for giving the exam.
In conclusion, the Nagpur bench said as responsible citizens, to have themselves tested for the Covid-19 virus, by conducting an RT-PCR test upon themselves before they leave their residence, either for the hostel or for the examination hall.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL