Kochi: In a significant judgment, the Kerala High Court has held that a doctor would be a workman as defined under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act.
Justice S. Siri Jagan, while upholding a Labour Court judgement on Tuesday, observed: "a doctor who performs the duties of examining patient, diagnosing diseases and prescribing medicines, whatever designation by which he is called would certainly be doing work of a skilled and technical nature and therefore would be a `workman' as defined in Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act."
The Court said that for determining the question as to whether a particular person was a workman as defined in the ID Act, what was relevant were the functions and duties performed by him. The designation given to an employee was not of much importance. In this case, the hospital authorities termed the doctor as "consultant physician." It was not disputed before the Court that he was a full-time employee of the petitioner-hospital. The duties he performed in the hospital were examining patients, diagnosing diseases and prescribing medicines. This would come within the ambit of words "skilled and technical."
Labour Court order
The petition filed by Mar Baselius Medical Mission Hospital, Kothamangalam, challenged the Ernakulam Labour Court order granting holiday wages to Joseph Babu, a doctor attached to the hospital.
The petitioner submitted that the doctor who was a consultant physician was not a workman since he was performing a job of creativity, which would take him out of the purview of the definition of Section 2(s).
The doctor contended that he was only performing the duties of a technical nature, which was included in the definition of workman.
The court made the ruling while dismissing the writ petition of the hospital.