The Delhi High Court on Friday directed Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss to sign the postgraduate degree certificates of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) resident doctors within 48 hours or it would hamper the prospects of students seeking admission to foreign universities.
The direction was given by a division bench headed by Chief Justice MK Sarma.
The minister, who is also president of the institute, had earlier returned the certificates without signing them, citing some discrepancy. The affected resident doctors had gone on a lightning strike at the hospital, badly affecting its services. The strike was called off on Thursday and fresh certificates issued, but minus the signature of the health minister and the dean.
The court's observation came during the hearing on a petition filed by some resident doctors who had apprehensions about the validity of their degrees as these did not have the four requisite signatures - of the dean, the director, the president and registrar.
"We do not know whether there is any dispute in AIIMS or not. But these students, who are innocent, should not suffer because of all these things," the court observed.
Mukta Gupta, appearing for the dean, academics, of the institution, said: "The certificates were not valid ones and we are not going to put our signatures on them."
Taking strong note of her statement, the bench said the future of innocent students should be protected.
The AIIMS Residents Doctors Association had withdrawn their strike after the matter came up for hearing following Advocate Ashok Aggrawal filing an application seeking direction to declare the strike illegal.
The AIIMS staff council, which met on Thursday, had decided to give the certificates to the agitating doctors but without the signatures of the dean and director.
Ramadoss had said certificates without his signature do not hold "validity".