The Odisha High Court on Monday directed the State government to immediately fill all the posts of staff nurses lying

vacant in all the government hospitals in the State, including the three teaching hospitals of Cuttack, Berhampur and Burla.

Disposing of the PIL filed by a city-based social organisation—Legal Support and Social Action (Lessa) in July this year, the Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra asked the State government to fill the posts within eight weeks.

It may be recalled here that the PIL was filed when the contract nurses across the State went on a cease-work strike demanding regularisation of their services.

The PIL had urged the HC to call the strike illegal as the basic health services in all the government hospitals were paralysed for the strike continued for almost 11 days in July this year. Following HC intervention, normalcy was restored in the hospitals when nurses called off their strike.

The HC, which had earlier taken a sympathetic view of the cause of the striking nurses, also directed the State government not to precipitate two FIRs filed against some striking nurses at a city police station over a scuffle between striking nurses and an administrative officer of SCB medical college and hospital.

The State government, while responding to the PIL and following a direction from the High Court, had earlier informed the court that a resolution has already been made by the government to regularize the services of the contractual nurses who have completed six continuous years of services. The government had also informed the Court that as many as 528 posts of nurses in several government hospitals were lying vacant.

Taking cognizance of the government contention, the HC in its order delivered on the day asked the government to act according to the resolution and fill up the vacant posts of nurses within eight weeks.