Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal government to inform it of the reasons for its failure to comply with the court order declaring as unconstitutional the three-year compulsory rural postings for post graduate medical students.
Observing that it is unfortunate that a state government department is ignoring the orders and majesty of the high court, Justice I P Mukerji directed the state principal secretary for health to inform the court of the reasons in an affidavit by July 20.
He fixed the next date of hearing on July 27.
The principal secretary to Health Department Anil Verma was present in the court on an earlier direction by it in connection with a contempt petition filed by some of the students.
About 139 post graduate medical students had filed a petition before the court challenging a 2014 State Health Department order which had increased the time period for compulsory rural health service from one year to three years.
The government order had said that the medical students are to pay Rs 30 lakh, with a break up of Rs 10 lakh per year, if they choose to opt out of the three-year compulsory service in the rural hospitals in the state.
Justice Mukerji had passed an order in November last year holding that the state government directive was unconstitutional.
Some of the petitioners moved a contempt petition before the court after the Health Department ignored the order and continued with the practise, Pratik Dhar, lawyer for one of the petitioners, said.
Additional Advocate General Abhratosh Majumdar told the court that the state government has filed an appeal challenging the order and prayed for time till a division bench hears its case.
Justice Mukerji then said that if the state cannot obtain a stay on his order from the higher bench by July 27, then it would be bound to give effect to it.
In that case all the orders and notifications of the State Health Department contrary to the order of the high court would stand injuncted and cannot be given effect to, he said.