The Delhi high court on Wednesday ruled that denial of emoluments to foreign medical students pursuing postgraduate courses in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and not treating them on a par with Indians in terms of salary was “violative” of the fundamental right to equality, which is guaranteed even to non-citizens.
Justice VK Jain, providing relief to the foreign students, observed that “there was no reasonable basis for treating such doctors as an altogether different class, which can be subjected to differential treatment in the matter of payment of emoluments”.
The court, hearing a petition by 20 doctors, directed AIIMS to pay emoluments to foreign doctors on a par with other students, except sponsored ones, who had taken admission in the postgraduate courses in the said institute.
The lawyer for the petitioners Nitin Gupta had contended that the foreign doctors were as much qualified as the other junior doctors and performed the same duties and functions.
Therefore, refusal to pay emoluments to them amounted to contravention of their fundamental right under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The court in its judgment asked AIIMS to pay arrears to the foreign nationals within 12 weeks.
“The enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution can be claimed not only by an Indian citizen, but also by a foreign citizen, to the extent that such enforcement is sought in the territory of India. Therefore, the foreign nationals, who are pursuing postgraduate courses in AIIMS, are entitled to equal treatment in the matter of grant of emoluments, unless it can be shown on account of some factors or circumstances they belong to a different class, which can be subjected to a different treatment,” the court said.