Tribune News Service, October 11, 2010
The Supreme Court has held that when a specialist civilian hospital has certified an individual to be free from a medical disorder, the Air Force cannot stick to its finding that he is medically unfit and thereby deny him a job opportunity.
Upholding an earlier High Court order, a Division Bench of the apex court, comprising Justice JM Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, has dismissed a special leave petition filed by the government against the High Court order.
Observing that the process of medical examination by the Air Force, in this case, was “a cause of serious concern”, the High Court ruled that the findings of the Air Force’s appeal medical board could not be sustained in view of the positive findings of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, especially when the institute had been informed that the petitioner had been rejected from the defence services.
The High Court directed that the Air Force would be obliged to take the petitioner into service and not disqualify him on medical grounds. The Air Force had rejected him for having heart murmur.
The Union of India had contended that the conditions of disease for civilian appointment were different from that of appointment in defence services. The High Court observed that no medical text or journal had been brought to its notice that said that a person might not have a disease if he was looking for a civilian appointment, but that would become a disease when it came to military employment.
“By no stretch of imagination can it be said that for a civilian appointment the heart condition vanishes or is differently defined for a military appointment,” the High Court ruled.
The court had also observed that within the Air Force medical board itself, different diseases and ailments in relation to the petitioner curiously kept coming in and going out. First, there was weight discrepancy and heart murmur. Then weight discrepancy vanished and hydrosil appeared along with murmur and lastly, hydrosil vanished within a day leaving behind systolic murmur.