Chennai: In its recent judgment, the division bench of Madras High Court upheld the Christian Medical College’s stance as justified in refusing to return the certificates of a nursing graduate, who refused to fulfil the Sponsorship Obligation Agreement.
The High Court’s view surfaced during a hearing of an appeal filed by one S Austin Blessie, who joined B.Sc Nursing course as a candidate sponsored by CSI Diocese of Vellore.
During the joining process, she signed a Sponsorship Obligation Agreement, (similar to compulsory service bond), by which, she was required to serve in one of the institutions of the body for a minimum period of two years.
After the completion of the course, the petitioner sought to get out of the agreement and wanted to go for higher studies in the subject Hospital Administration.
For this purpose, she had written a letter requesting for breaking of the bond through the Bishop of CSI, Vellore Diocese, which was forwarded to Christian Medical College, which had chosen to reject her request. Aggrieved by the said authorities’ action, she approached the High Court and a single judge in August 2014 upheld the rejection order.
Once again, disappointed with the upheld order, the student moved the division bench, challenging the order passed by a single judge bench.
In this present appeal, the counsel for the appellant contended, “She was entitled to get all statutory certificates including TC and Course completion certificate from the Christian Medical College. As regards SOA, the appellant had offered to pay some compensation for breaking the bond, but the Christian Medical Collegewas keen only on the pound of flesh like Shylock and has been successfully withholding the certificates for the past six years, due to which the appellant has suffered her higher education.”
However, during the recent hearing, the division bench comprising honourable Justices S Vimala and S Ramathilagam supported the refusal of the Christian Medical College and upheld the earlier single bench’s decision.
In its observation, the court affirmed the importance of the indispensable service of a nursing professional,
“Some kinds of work are regarded as more fulfilling or more dignified. Thus, the terms vocation, career or profession, or occupation, all carry slightly higher prestige than the word ‘job’. Without understanding the significance, the appellant is refusing to work for the needy. The refusal is unjustified. Therefore, the appellant is not entitled to ask for the return of certificates.”
“The nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual. Beyond the time-honoured reputation for compassion and dedication lies a highly specialised profession, which was constantly evolving to address the needs of society. From ensuring the most accurate diagnoses to the ongoing education of the public about critical health issues, nurses were indispensable in safeguarding public health.”
“Nursing can be described as both an art and a science, a heart and a mind. At its heart, lies a fundamental respect for human dignity and an intuition for a patient’s needs. This was supported by the mind, in the form of rigorous core learning. Due to the vast range of specialism and complex skills in the nursing profession, each nurse will have specific strengths, passions and expertise.”
The Deccan Chronicle reports that while rejecting the nursing graduate’s plea, the court concluded,
“In this case, the appellant thinks that money is a key motivating factor. But when the situation improves and money becomes sufficient or abundant, it loses its importance. Security, good working conditions, the opportunity for promotion, mental satisfaction, status etc., usually become more important.”
TOI adds that the bench wondered whether her character resembled that of a bull in a China shop and upheld the decision of single judge that ‘the writ petitioner had acted in a manner contrary to the terms of the contract and therefore, it is not open to the petitioner to invoke the writ jurisdiction and the right vested with the Christian Medical College Vellore under Article 30 of the Constitution cannot be taken away by the writ court.’