HC upholds enhancing minimum age for recruiting doctors to govt. service

The High Court of Karnataka has upheld enhancement of minimum age to 26 years from 21 years for recruiting doctors to posts of senior medical officers, specialists, and general duty medical officers in the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

“There is reasonable classification and a rational nexus exists with the object sought to be achieved by amending the minimum age criteria from 21 to 26 and it is not violative of Article 14 or Article 16 of the Constitution of India,” the court held.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Aravind Kumar and Pradeep Singh Yerur passed the order while dismissing the petitions filed by Vikas Gowda K.P and others who are working in government service on contract basis.

The petitioners had questioned the constitutional validity of Directorate Health and Family Welfare Services (Recruitment of Senior Medical Officer/Specialists, General Duty Medical Officers and Dental Health Officers) (Special) (Amendment) Rules, 2020.

The court said that enhancement of minimum age is based on the intelligible differentia of experience and rural service with the object to provide experienced medical service to the public.

Pointing out that a candidate joining MBBS course would be around 25 years when completing MBBS course of four-and-a-half-years, and the internship and the compulsory rural service of one year each in Karnataka, the Bench said that fixing of 26 years of age for appointment cannot be termed as arbitrary in nature.

Stating that it is the prerogative of the State government to fix age criteria for recruitment to a particular post and the courts cannot interfere, the Bench also said that one of the reason for enhancing minimum limit was to absorb doctors having rural work experience into government service.

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