Sunday, September 12, 2010

Armed Forces Medical Boards: Are they above board?

Formation of medical boards by armed forces under HC scanner
New Delhi, Sep 12 (PTI) The policy of forming medical boards by armed and para-military forces has come under the scanner of the Delhi High Court which favoured a "re-look" into the process as fitness clearance to aspirants was often given "wrongly" by doctors having no specialisation.
The court noted that in several cases, candidates have "wrongly" been declared unfit in view of the absence of experts of different fields in the medical board.
"Review/appellate medical boards are constituted consisting of civil surgeon or persons having no expertise at all in the specialisation in the medical field involved," a Bench comprising Justices Geeta Mittal and J R Midha said and asked the forces to "re-look" into the four-decade old policy.
The court fiat to the armed and para-military forces came after it perused the report of an experts'' body constituted by it.
"We have found that a board of experts constituted under our orders has differed in their reports with the certification of medical unfitness of a candidate by a review/appeal medical board which did not include a specialist.
"This fact by itself manifests that the respondents and authorities need to re-look at the policy framed almost four decades ago," the Bench said asking them to place before it the compliance report within six months.
The court also expressed its anguish over the authorities accepting certificate given by a doctor without having expertise in respective field.
"We are unable to comprehend to as to how a doctor not trained in the field can given a certification for existence of a condition for which he does not have specialisation or training. It is also unfortunate the authorities accept such certification without taking the opinion of the specialist," the Bench said.
"The guidelines which were issued by respondents are required to keep pace with not only the social developments but with the developments in technology and in medical science as well as availability of superior diagnostic techniques," the court said.
The Bench disposed of a petition filed by Kamlesh Kumar Kamal, who was declared unfit for the post of Assistant Commandant in the Central Reserve Police Force, but was later selected after he submitted the fitness certificate given by experts at a civil hospital following an intervention by the court.
Formation of medical boards by armed forces under HC scanner

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