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Foreign medical graduates entitled to same stipends as Indian counterparts

Foreign medical graduates entitled to same stipends as Indian counterparts

The Supreme Court has ruled that foreign medical graduates must be accorded equal treatment in terms of stipend payments during their internships, mirroring the entitlements provided to their counterparts who have graduated from Indian medical colleges. 

This ruling comes as a response to a plea filed by a group of doctors, drawing attention to the disparity experienced by foreign medical graduates in certain institutions across the nation.

Advocate Tanvi Dubey, representing the aggrieved doctors, brought to the court's attention the plight of foreign medical graduates who were being denied stipends during their internships at select medical colleges. Specifically, the court focused on three institutions—Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Medical College in Vidisha, Dr Laxminarayan Pandey Government Medical College in Ratlam, and Employees State Insurance Corporation Medical College in Alwar—and directed the National Medical Commission (NMC) to furnish details regarding the payment status of stipends to foreign medical graduates in these colleges.

The bench, comprising justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale, emphasized the imperative of equality within the medical education landscape, asserting that differential treatment between MBBS graduates and foreign medical graduates was unacceptable. 

It sternly warned the concerned medical colleges, indicating that failure to comply with the court's earlier order regarding stipend payments would result in severe repercussions.

This development sheds light on the broader issue of fairness and inclusivity within the medical education system, with several petitions on the matter currently pending before the apex court. The recent intervention underscores the urgency and significance of addressing the disparities faced by foreign medical graduates.

The court's directive follows its earlier decision on January 23, wherein it sought responses from the NMC and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Medical College regarding a plea filed by five foreign medical graduates, including Sajith SL from Thiruvananthapuram.

Advocate Tanvi Dubey argued that foreign medical graduates should be treated on par with their Indian counterparts, citing an NMC notification that advocated for equal treatment. Despite this, foreign medical graduates were being denied their rightful stipends, she contended.

The plea filed by the doctors seeks a writ mandating medical colleges to provide regular monthly stipends to the petitioners and other affected students for the entirety of their internship period. Furthermore, it calls for the NMC and other relevant authorities to determine stipend rates based on established standards followed by other medical colleges.

Notably, the plea referenced a notice issued by the Government Medical Education Department of Madhya Pradesh on November 17, 2022, which specified a stipend of Rs 12,760 for interns, effective from April 1, 2022.


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