Over 200 post-graduates of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi are yet to receive their degree certificates, making it difficult for them to apply for jobs. They have been told that Health Minister A Ramadoss is yet to put his signatures on them.
Some of the students have been waiting for almost two years for the certificate.
Aman Dua, a postgraduate from AIIMS, told IANS: "I passed out in July 2005 but I am yet to receive my certificate. They told us that they would give us the certificates, but have not done so.
"I am working as a resident doctor at AIIMS, but will not be able to apply anywhere else. I had applied for a higher degree in Australia but I don't know what will happen now without the certificate. The Australian authorities have asked for the original document but I have sent them only a provisional one," said Dua, an orthopaedic.
Kumar Harsh, a resident doctor who had passed out in December 2005, has not got his certificate. He said like him over 200 postgraduate students were yet to receive their degrees.
Harsh, a resident doctor at AIIMS, said that four people - the director, dean, registrar and the president of AIIMS (who is the health minister) - sign a certificate. While the others have signed, Ramadoss has not yet done so.
"I don't know why the minister is not signing the certificates. But one thing is for sure - he is playing with the career of students," Harsh, a radiation oncologist, told IANS.
"The degrees are ready for the last six months and waiting to be signed by the health minister," he added.
Some students alleged that the health minister had not signed the certificates despite repeated requests.
"If they don't give the certificate on time, then we end up losing one year of our career," Harsh said.
Nitin Kukkar, an orthopaedic resident doctor who has also not got his certificate, said: "Generally certificates are distributed on convocation day, but they have not held convocations for the last two years.
"We came to know that the health minister has not signed the certificates. Earlier, the authorities promised us that we would get the certificates before June, but nothing has moved so far."
When contacted, AIIMS authorities declined to give an answer but said the "anti-quota movement in AIIMS was the main culprit".
The medical college was the epicentre of an anti-reservation stir last year, with most resident doctors at its forefront. The protests had affected health care at the hospital and at other hospitals in the capital and elsewhere for almost a fortnight.
The medics were opposing the government's 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in institutes of higher learning. The quota law is currently under suspension after the Supreme Court put a temporary stay on its implementation.