Legal Analysis on Study Leave Denial During COVID-19 Pandemic

Explore the intricate legal analysis surrounding the denial of study leave in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court’s examination of the situation sheds light on the complexities of balancing public interest and individual pursuits in matters of higher education. Discover more about the legal nuances in this compelling case.


  • The Appellant completed five years of service and was eligible for Study Leave as per Ministry guidelines.
  • The Appellant cleared the INICET-2020 exam and was granted a seat in the MD course in Paediatrics at PGI, Chandigarh.
  • The Appellant’s application for Study Leave was rejected by Respondent No.1 based on a policy decision due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Appellant filed a writ petition challenging the denial of Study Leave by Respondent No.1.
  • The Appellant is a doctor who joined service of the Government of NCT of Delhi in 2014.
  • Currently posted as a Medical Officer in Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, New Delhi.
  • The writ petition filed by the Appellant was dismissed by a Single Bench of the High Court.
  • An appeal against the Single Bench’s decision was also dismissed by the Division Bench.

Also Read: Challenging Conviction: Legal Analysis Spotlight


  • The Petitioner argued that they were discriminated against by being denied Study Leave to pursue postgraduate studies in a premier institution.
  • Instances of other doctors being granted Study Leave during the pandemic were cited as evidence of discrimination against the Petitioner.
  • The Petitioner was granted permission to apply for an exam when there were 3324 new COVID-19 cases reported in the 24 hours prior.
  • The Petitioner’s lawyer argued that despite similar circumstances, the Petitioner was arbitrarily denied Study Leave while others were granted it.
  • It was acknowledged that other doctors were granted Study Leave during the pandemic, but this was before a policy decision on October 20, 2020, after which no doctor from a hospital under the Government of NCT was granted Study Leave.
  • The Respondent No.1 argued that the decision to refuse Study Leave to the Petitioner was not arbitrary, but based on the pandemic situation and predictions of a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
  • Study Leave was declined to the Appellant by the concerned Respondents during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
  • The Government made a policy decision not to grant Study Leave to doctors when urgently required in treating COVID-19 patients.
  • No leave can be claimed as a matter of right, as argued by Ms. Bhati.
  • The policy adopted on 20th October, 2020 and subsequent order dated 22nd October, 2020 remained in force due to predictions of a possible second wave of COVID-19.
  • The doctors of hospitals run by the Government of NCT, Delhi, could not be spared for higher studies.
  • Study Leave could not be claimed as a matter of right, and the Government was within its rights to refuse any application for Study Leave in public interest.
  • The Respondent No.1 acted within the parameters of the law and did not commit any wrong by not allowing Study Leave to the Appellant.

Also Read: Analysis of Contempt Charges for Breach of Undertaking


  • The Appellant was selected for admission to the MD Course in Paediatrics after clearing the INICET-2020 but was unable to join due to denial of Study Leave by the Respondents.
  • The policy decision not to grant Study Leave was made in anticipation of a rise in COVID-19 cases, affecting many doctors including the Appellant.
  • The Appellant’s situation was recognized as one of exceptional circumstances, where denial of Study Leave resulted in his inability to pursue higher studies.
  • The Appellant approached the High Court promptly seeking relief before the admission closed, indicating his diligence in seeking redress.
  • A vacant seat in the MD Course in Paediatrics at PGI Chandigarh for the January 2021 session was re-advertised for the July 2021 session in recognition of the Appellant’s situation.
  • The Court emphasized the importance of ensuring fair treatment for COVID-19 warriors like the Appellant in pursuing higher education, taking into account the extraordinary circumstances.
  • A meritorious candidate, wrongfully denied admission in a medical course due to no fault of their own, may be accommodated in the course in the following academic year.
  • The candidate must have pursued legal rights promptly and without delay.
  • This relief of admission can be granted in exceptional circumstances where there is a breach of rules and regulations by the authorities.
  • The court’s directions in such cases apply to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  • The judgment in S. Krishna Sradha specifically addressed admission to the MBBS course and not postgraduate courses.
  • The condition for granting relief of admission in the next session is no fault on the part of the candidate, coupled with fault on the part of the authorities or breach of rules and regulations.
  • Judgments and observations in court cases are contextual and should not be interpreted as rigid statutes or theorems.
  • Efforts should be made to dispose of admission-related proceedings in medical courses at the earliest if the student approaches the court promptly.
  • In case of no fault on the part of the candidate and if they have pursued their legal rights promptly, the fault lies with the authorities or management, appropriate relief should be granted.
  • Court can direct admission in the next academic year, increase seats if necessary, and may reduce management quota seats if a meritorious candidate was wrongly denied admission.
  • Candidates approaching the court promptly and without delay should receive priority in resolving their admission cases.
  • The seat in the Post Graduate Course in PGI Chandigarh was unfilled due to the Appellant’s inability to join and has been carried over to the July 2021 session.
  • The Appellant made a personal sacrifice in the public interest to serve humanity.
  • Denying relief to the Appellant would be a travesty of justice despite the denial of study leave by the Government.
  • The denial of relief cannot be justified on technical grounds when the Appellant acted in response to a legitimate policy decision and call of duty.

Also Read: Land Dispute: Court’s Analysis on Condonation of Delay


  • The PGI, Chandigarh is directed to admit the Appellant to the post graduate course based on the INICET 2020 which he has cleared.
  • The Respondent No 1 is instructed to re-consider the application of the Appellant for Study Leave, unless there is a substantial rise in COVID-19 cases.
  • The directions are passed under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, considering the circumstances where the Appellant was unable to join the course due to COVID-19 situation.


Case Number: C.A. No.-002739-002739 / 2021

Click here to read/download original judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *