Tamil Nadu

Orders reserved on govt. doctors’ petitions

Issue relates to transfers in wake of stir

The Madras High Court has reserved its orders on a batch of writ petitions filed by government doctors who were subjected to inter-district transfers after members of Federation of Government Doctors’ Association (FOGDA) resorted to a strike between October 25 and November 1, last year, pressing various demands including pay hike.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh deferred his verdict after the government filed an additional affidavit claiming that there was no bar in law to shift the doctors between the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH), Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services (DMRHS) and Directorate of Medical Education (DME).

In the additional affidavit filed through Advocate General Vijay Narayan, the government assured the court the pay structure of the government doctors would be well protected despite being subjected to transfer from one Directorate to another and that their Civil Medical List (CML) seniority would also be maintained without any change.

‘A case of victimisation’

However, advocates C. Kanagaraj and M. Jothimani, representing the doctors, argued that the transfer orders must be quashed on the solitary ground that the en masse transfers were nothing but victimisation and that the action of the government smacked of arbitrariness and mala fide intention couched in the garb of an administrative decision.

They pointed out that the government had not spared even specialist doctors from being transferred to remote stations. The court was told that a cardiothoracic surgeon in the rank of a professor and who was heading the relevant department at a government hospital in Salem, had been transferred to Udhagamanadalam.

On its part, the government contended that it had to take the extreme step of transferring the government doctors to bring in normalcy and ensure that health care services to the poor and the needy were not affected. It informed the court that members of Tamil Nadu Medical Services were liable to be transferred to any part of the State.

Though doctors from DME had been transferred to DMS, they could participate in the inter directorate transfer counselling in the future and get back to the DME based on their qualifications and seniority as per the rules in force at that relevant point of time. It was not as if they would have to work under DMS forever, the government said.

“If the petitioners either return to DME through inter directorate counselling conducted by DME or if they prefer to stay in DMS, their career progression is well protected by person-oriented promotion,” the additional affidavit filed by S. Gurunathan, Director of Medical and Rural Health Services, on behalf of himself as well as the government, read.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 12:38:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/orders-reserved-on-govt-doctors-petitions/article30907875.ece

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