The Madras High Court has directed the Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare to constitute "Flying Squads" for the purpose of conducting frequent surprise inspections in Government Hospitals, Primary Health Centres, etc., across the State of Tamil Nadu.

The Court also directed to ensure that the Doctors, Nurses, Paramedical staff attend their duties and are present during the working hours in the medical institutions.

The bench of Justice S.M. Subramaniam was dealing with a petition filed by a retired Medical Store Officer. She claimed that the Gratuity, Special Provident Fund and Earned Leave Salary are yet to be disbursed, despite the fact that it was sanctioned by the Principal Accountant General.

The petitioner received a show cause notice from Coimbatore Medical College Hospital stating that why a sum of Rs.66,20,356.45/- should not be recovered from the petitioner's pensionary benefits, since the petitioner purchased the Speciality Medicines excessively.

It was respondent's case that the petitioner without any prior approval from the Head of the concerned Department had purchased huge quantity of Speciality Medicines.

Senior Advocate B.Kumar appeared for the petitioner whereas Additional Government Pleader Stalin Abhimanyu, Government Advocate D.Gopal and Advocate V Murali appeared for the Respondents.

The Court observed that an enquiry is warranted to fix the responsibility and accountability on the officials concerned. It further added that in the absence of any elaborate enquiry, the Authorities Competent cannot take unilateral decision, which may not be proper.

"The allegations against the writ petitioner are serious in nature. Purchase of bulk quantity of speciality medicines without following the procedures as contemplated is a serious misconduct, which caused hugefinancial loss to the State Exchequer. Thus, the enquiry commenced must be concluded in all respects by following the procedures as contemplated and by affording opportunity to all the officials concerned.", the Court observed.

Accordingly, the Court quashed the impugned order and remitted the matter back to respondents.

The Court directed the respondents to conduct a detailed enquiry and initiate all appropriate actions against the officials concerned, including the petitioner.

The Court directed the petitioner to co-operate for the early disposal of the enquiry proceedings.

Cause Title- S.Muthumalai Rani v. The Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Order