An Orissa High Court Bench of Justice AK Mohapatra has directed that the State and its medical authorities must formulate and execute its decisions in a cautious manner, and ensure that the medical professionals are not disrupted.

Counsel BS Tripathy and Counsel A Sahoo appeared for the Petitioners. Additional Government Advocate RN Mishra appeared for the Opposite Parties.

In this case, the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Odisha Government introduced a policy to retain post-graduate pass-out doctors so that their resources and services could be utilized. As per the policy, the pass-out doctors were required to execute a bond to serve under the Odisha Government for two years right after the competition of their PG degree.

Subsequently, the Government issued a notification according to which additional senior resident or tutor posts were going to be added in government medical colleges for accommodating the PG pass-out doctors in their bond period, along with providing the doctors with experience certificates as Senior Residents. Following the same, the doctors of a Government Medical College and Hospital were deployed through the order but the order was not put into effect.

The deployment aggrieved the petitioners that their bond would get extended and cause prejudice to them.

The High Court observed that the decision of the Opposite Parties in deploying the petitioner at the GMCH was justified considering the public interest involved in operationalising the GMCH. In that context, the Court took the view that "Since the NMC had pointed out certain deficiencies with regard to deployment of Senior Residents/Tutors, the Opposite Parties in compliance to the said deficiencies have taken a decision to temporarily deploy/transfer the petitioners to GMCH at Kalahandi so that they will get the required permission from the NMC to start the Medical College, which is in larger public interest. As such, this Court is of the considered view that the Opposite Parties while passing order under Annexure-6 pending regular recruitment of Senior Residents/Tutors, which has already been advertised and the process is on to recruit regular doctors in such posts. Finally, this Court found no fault in the action of the Opposite Parties in issuing the deployment order".

Further, the Court also deemed it appropriate to direct the Opposite Parties that under no circumstances, the period of deployment of the petitioners shall exceed the bond period or shall be extended in violation of the resolutions issued by the Government. The Court also directed the Opposite Parties to consider payment of additional allowances/transfer allowances as is due and admissible to regular Doctors/Government employees on their posting in that district.

Finally, the Court observed that the Opposite Parties are required to be more serious and act with promptitude when it comes to taking any policy decision in the Health Sector of the State. In that context, it was observed that "it was observed that although a decision was taken way back on 14.07.2021, granting sanction for creation of requisite number of posts Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Tutors, Senior Residents etc. in GMCH, Bhawanipata, Kalahandi, no steps whatsoever was taken to see that such posts are filled up by selecting and recruiting eligible doctors to such posts. It is further observed that when the NMC visited and submitted its report by showing discrepancies, the Opposite Parties woke up from a deep slumber and hastily took a decision to transfer Senior Residents from SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack to GMCH, Kalahandi. Such a hasty decision is bound to cause disruption and affect the functioning at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack which is undoubtedly the leading hospital of the State having very large foot fall every day. Moreover, the last minute deployment and steps for recruitment through advertisement from open market creates a very poor image of the State Government".

Subsequently, the writ petition was disposed.

Cause Title: Dr Tapa Prakash Behera and Ors. vs State of Odisha & Anr.

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