The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the West Bengal government on a plea of doctors challenging a notification, extending a condition of three years' minimum service in remote/difficult/rural areas for being considered as eligible for the in-service quota.

A Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant issued notice to the state government on the plea of doctors.

Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the doctors, said that they should have been told prior to taking the NEET-PG examination and not after they have appeared for the examination.

The Bench observed that the experience has been that the doctors go abroad after the Post-Graduation and the government is left to file suits for invoking the bond (for service in rural, remote and difficult areas).

The government spent money on you. The states are now saying you must first serve in these areas and moreover, it is in the public interest that you serve in these areas , the bench observed.

Sankaranarayanan submitted that the protection be granted to these doctors to which the bench said that it is giving a shorter date and posted the matter for further hearing on March 11.

On January 18, the single-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court had refused to pass any interim order and directed that a representation be made to the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

It had said that a reasoned order be passed after considering the representation and a copy be made available to the petitioners.

The Division Bench of the High Court on February 14, refused to entertain the appeal against the Single-Judge order.

The petitioners' are graduate doctors, serving as medical professionals in different hospitals of the state and have qualified in the NEET-PG-2021 examination.

Under the rule, for availing of state quota seats in post-graduate medical courses, the in-service candidates would be required to serve in rural/remote/difficult areas for a minimum of three years.

With PTI inputs