Supreme Court Orders Equal Stipend for Foreign Medical Graduates During Internships

Supreme Court mandates equal stipend for Foreign Medical Graduates, citing injustice in non-payment during internships. NMC ordered to ensure parity.

The Supreme Court addressed the issue of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) not receiving stipends during their compulsory internships, stating that FMGs should be treated equally and paid stipends like their counterparts who graduated from Indian medical colleges. Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna Bhalachandra highlighted this during a hearing where lawyer Tanvi Dubey, representing a group of doctors, pointed out that certain medical colleges weren't paying stipends to FMGs.

Earlier, the court took notice of this matter during a plea filed by FMGs interning at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Medical College, Vidisha, and issued notices to several medical colleges. The court observed that 70 percent of medical colleges across the country were not paying stipends to MBBS interns. In a recent hearing, the court requested the National Medical Commission (NMC) to provide details on stipend payments to FMGs from three colleges: Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Medical College, Vidisha, Dr. Laxminarayan Pandey Government Medical College, Ratlam, and Employees State Insurance Corporation Medical College, Alwar.

The court emphasized the importance of paying stipends and warned colleges of consequences if they failed to comply with previous orders. It stressed equal treatment for all medical graduates and requested the NMC and medical colleges to provide instructions on the matter.

Earlier, the court sought responses from the NMC and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Medical College regarding a plea filed by five FMGs, including Sajith SL of Thiruvananthapuram. The court acknowledged Dubey's argument that FMGs should be treated equally to Indian MBBS graduates, as per NMC notifications.

The plea urged the court to direct medical colleges to provide regular monthly stipends to FMGs for the entire internship period and to determine stipend amounts in line with other medical colleges' standards. The plea referred to circulars issued by the Apex Medical Commission, stating that FMGs' stipends should be equivalent to those of Indian Medical Graduates.

Last year, the NMC clarified that Indian medical colleges should not charge fees from FMGs for internships in India. The court stressed that FMGs should receive equal stipends and facilities as Indian Medical Graduates.

FMGs currently interning at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Medical College in Vidisha raised concerns about not receiving stipends. The plea also mentioned a notice from the Government Medical Education Department of Madhya Pradesh, which provided for a stipend of Rs 12,760 to interns from April 1, 2022.

The NMC addressed the issue of FMG stipends through a circular issued on May 9, 2023. The circular addressed various issues, including FMG stipends, and clarified that stipend amounts should be decided by the appropriate authorities.

The NMC emphasized that no internship fees should be charged from FMGs, and stipends, along with other facilities, should be provided to them equivalent to Indian Medical Graduates. However, it clarified that stipend amounts would be decided by the relevant authorities based on budgetary provisions.

The Supreme Court's directive emphasizes equal treatment for FMGs regarding stipend payments during internships, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their work, as per NMC guidelines.