"When the government takes a bond from medical students making it mandatory for them to serve one year in rural hospitals and public health centres, then why posts are still lying vacant in these hospitals?" a division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and S C Gupte questioned.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Purnima Upadhyay, seeking proper implementation of schemes introduced by both the central and the state government to reduce malnourishment in Melghat area of Maharashtra.
The court was informed that in 2012-13, there were 4,878 posts available in district hospitals and rural health care centres. As many as 6,930 candidates were available but only 1,702 students remained present for the counselling and 1,473 allotments were made.
"So 3,400 posts were vacant despite having candidates from whom bond was taken. Why were their bonds not executed? On one side we are complaining about lack of medical services and on the other we have such huge number of doctors who are not being used," Justice Chandrachud said.
"Such a tragedy. Some countries have compulsory military service to instill a sense of nationalism and public service in youth. They (youth) can spend one year towards public service. The state government must inculcate this discipline," he said.
The bench has directed the government that in future all posts should be filled up. "We direct that in the upcoming round of counselling and allotment, which is to be held in August, and in the future the medical education department shall fill all medical posts in district hospitals, rural hospitals and public health centres," the court said.
The court has directed the government to submit a compliance report by August 30.