Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to forward to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission proposals relating to Assistant Surgeon (General) vacancies arising from non-joining of selected candidates.

Justice K. Chandru was passing orders on a batch of petitions filed by 15 doctors, who said the Government granted “unlawful” extension of joining time to 215 candidates, who had failed to join within 30 days, as stipulated.

While admitting the petitions, the judge had restrained the Health Department from allowing any of the candidates to join duty. Counsel for the petitioners contended that a clause in the notification stipulated that selected candidates join duty within 30 days, and that no extension of joining time would be granted. They pointed out that applications of 2,700 candidates were rejected because they had not given a declaration that they would join duty within 30 days from the date of receipt of appointment orders. The extension of joining time was given to the candidates by unlawfully relaxing Rule 21(a) of the Special Rules for Tamil Nadu Medical Service. They said the vacancies were kept idle contrary to the conditions prescribed in the notification. The conditions in the State warranted immediate appointment of doctors, they said.

In its counter-affidavit, the TNPSC said it had requested the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine to send an elaborate proposal with the details of candidates who had not reported for duty. This was necessary for the Commission to allot candidates from the Reserve List, it said. No reply was received from the official.

Mr. Justice Chandru said strict implementation of the clause relating to joining time by the Commission and the Government would create more vacancies, and might benefit the petitioners. He directed the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine to forward the proposals, as required by the TNPSC, in four weeks from the date of receipt of the order.