Original Letter to Justice Verma. This is now addressed directly to the Supreme Court of India.
I am writing to you concerning the plight of 90,000 doctors in India. As you are aware, recently the former health minister admitted that there was a " $30 Billion Dollar Medical Seat Scandal". To prevent corruption of this kind, the government with the MCI developed the NEET exams [NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST]. This test is to ensure fairness and equality. Doctors have supported the "One Nation - One Test". The main petition is being signed by hundreds of doctors. It can be found here.
Unfortunately, some colleges have used Article 30 to request an exemption to the National Test. The case is currently in the Supreme Court. The hearing has been lengthy with repeated adjournments. The last order cited that the results of those who have taken the NEET be withheld until the final judgment is delivered. This was in December 2012 and it is now nearly the end of April 2013 with the summer vacation for the court due.
The impact of delays in this case affects the careers of 90,000 doctors in India. Their careers remain static without progression or the NEET results.
I am unsure why the court case is intertwined with the livelihoods of so many doctors. It is also unfair that they have all been cornered into a situation where they have to protest or make legal representations when they should freely be able to proceed with their careers.
The case is now essentially a barrier to career progression and that is not in the public interest. Moreover, the order appears to undermine the fair system and the spirit of NEET at present.
I have no option but to approach you for the following to ensure fairness, justice and equality and to maintain patient safety and uphold doctors' rights. We have run out of options as the Medical Council of India and the Department of Health fails to open dialogue or respond to communication.
The problem has not resolved at all. Many doctors are disenchanted and have lost faith in the system. This is not the way to retain a valuable workforce in India.
My requests are as follows
1. I would be grateful if you would intervene on behalf of the 90,000 doctors with a view to detaching the court case from having an impact on their livelihoods. There is no objection to the case progressing on its own. Nevertheless, there is no reason 90,000 doctors should be forced to wait for months while the court decides. Their careers are currently at risk and they are of the view that their rights have not been respected. I am sure you will agree that it is not the overriding objective of the courts to stall and essentially neglect the rights of the majority.
2. Support the permanent implementation of NEET as a national test.
3. Review the issue relating to the $30 billion dollar scam so that it can be referred to the right organisations that can investigate it properly and hold those responsible to account. So far the Health Minister has passed the buck onto the Medical Council of India. The Council is administratively incapable of dealing with such a mammoth complicated scam.
4. Act as an intermediary to effect some change in the above status quo.
The lack of action in this matter will result in loss in public confidence both nationally and internationally. Doctors rights are currently being rail-roaded and this situation is not acceptable at all. Moreover, patient safety will be in great jeopardy without your intervention. In the public interest, we would all be grateful if you would kindly assist in resolving this difficult situation.
I hope to hear from you.
Dr Rita Pal
Supported by the signatories below.
Sign this petition to SavetheNeet
Summary of the case - Hindustan Times.
References to the case. Supreme Court Cause List.
We would like the Supreme Court to read the views of the many doctors who have kindly presented their reasons for signing this petition. In total, over 3 petitions, there are about 5000 signatures and rising. The petitions have only bee ongoing for a few days. We hope you will take the time to read the views of those who have no means of accessing the court.
Initial Petition to Justice Verma.
Request for intervention in the case affecting the rights of 90,000 Indian Doctors.