Chennai, Nov 22: The Madras High Court has made it clear that the government cannot have a lien over certificates of post-graduate medical students and directed the authorities to return the students testimonials.
While passing order on several writ petitions filed by PG Medico students, Justice K Chandru concurred with the petitioners' submissions and directed the authorities to return the certificates to the doctors individually through the Deans of various medical colleges within a fortnight.
The petitioners urged the court to direct government to return the regional certificates deposited by them at the time of admission to the PG course. They also sought the course completion certificates, conduct certificates, provisional pass certificate and the degree and diploma certificates as well.
The authorities were holding on to the certificates to ensure that the doctors fulfilled the conditions in bonds they had signed at the time of admission, petitioners added.
The counsel for petitioners S R Rajagopal submitted that the certificates had been retained by the government without any authority for alleged non-compliance of conditions stipulated in the prospectus and the bond conditions accepted by the doctors.
The counsel also contended that they were willing to serve the government, if required and said, ''As of now there is no work for them''. They referred to a modification in the prospectus norms and said the government now wanted the candidates ''only to serve in India for a period of 15 years and it need not necessarily be in government service''.
The government pleader said the government issued 200 appointment orders. ''These appointments were to various district hospitals, medical colleges and taluk head-quarters hospitals of their choice. It was a mandatory three-year posting. We told them that we were holding their certificates because we wanted control over them'', he added.
He also submitted though the orders were issued several days ago that only 100 people have joined so far and ''we did not want them to leave midway''.
Pointing out that the bond did not contain any condition providing for lien over their certificates and the certificates were the properties of petitioners, counsel contended.
In his judgment, the judge said in case any candidate violates the bond condition by opting to go abroad, the authorities were free to enforce the bond in the manner known to law.
Under such circumstances,the damages could be collected by invoking the Revenue Recovery Act by considering it as government dues, he added.