The High Court has come down heavily on government for its "outright unfairness" in providing benefit to a medico leading to litigation between him and another doctor which, it said, "affected the patient care in GMC Hospital as well as Super Specialty Hospital, Jammu".
A bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey while disposing of five clubbed petitions observed that "two doctors have been litigating in the Court for the last eight years and the whole mess has been created by the surreptitious conduct of certain persons in the Health and Medical Education Department".
The Court said what is curious enough is that the Government is not even ashamed of its outright unfairness exhibited by its double standards at two different stages of the litigation– defending it's conferring an undue advantage on one of the doctors and then defending its action when such undue advantage was reversed by it. "It is disgusting that the Government in the Health and Medical Education Department has stooped so low as to manipulate things without any basis," it said.
Observing that someone in the government under a well planned design had been instrumental in throwing the established law and Rules to winds, the court said it has not only given rise to severe multiplicity of litigation between two persons belonging to a noble profession, but has also unsettled things settled long before by established law.
It, the court said, also left serious repercussions on the service career and functioning of the concerned doctors.
The court observed that the mess up must have also impacted the students and patient care in Government Medical College Hospital or the Super Specialty Hospital, Jammu.
In 2000, a post of Lecturer in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category in the discipline of Medicine was available in the Health and Medical Education Department of the State. The post was filled up by a "general category" candidate, DrShoket M Chowdry, who had got admission to MD Course in Medicine at PGI Chandigarh in January, 2000.
While DrChowdry is said to have undergone the MD course from January 2000 to December 2002, "Obviously, therefore, any attempt on his behalf to derive any advantage would naturally be untenable as he became eligible for the post of Lecturer in the year 2005," court said.
Subsequently, the court said, one more Lecturer's post of the ST reserved category in the department of Medicine became available in Medical College, Jammu, which was referred Public Service Commission for selection of a suitable candidate under general category. The PSC advertised the post by notification (no.07-PSC of 2007) on 4 July 2007.
DrChowdry challenged the notification and high court directed the PSC to accept his application form for the post and to allow him to participate in the selection process and not to declare the result till the disposal of the petition.
Subsequently, on 12 December 2007, the Court quashed the advertisement notification qua the post of Lecturer in the stream of Medicine with direction to the PSC to issue fresh advertisement notification, treating the vacancy reserved for ST category. However, such fresh advertisement notification was not issued, at least, within the time stipulated by the Court.
While on December 31, 2008, the PSC notified two posts – one each in RBA and SC categories, DrChowdry filed a contempt petition for non-compliance of the Court order.
Subsequently, the Government in implementation of the judgment on 12.12.2007 referred one post of Lecturer under ST category to the PSC. The Government referred two more posts of Lecturers under general category in the stream to the PSC on 17 April 2009. The PSC advertised the three posts – two in general category and one under ST category – by notification no.14-PSC of 2009 on 17 July 2009.
After conclusion of the selection process, the Government issued order (no.569-HME f 2009) on 24 December 2009 appointing three Doctors as Lecturers in the discipline of Medicine in Government Medical College, Jammu. DrVijant Singh Chandail (petitioner), figured as the first candidate in the order as a general category candidate and DrChowdry, figured as the last candidate as a ST category candidate. Both were appointed pursuant to advertisement notice no.14-PSC of 2009 dated 17.07.2009.
On 23.4.2014, the government accorded sanction to the segregation of the service of DrChowdry, showing him as Assistant Professor (OPG) from his parent cadre—Medicine to Gastroenterology, Government Medical College, Jammu and transfer of his lien from Medicine to Gastroenterology for seniority and promotion purposes.
DrVijanat challenged the order, being his third one in sequence. It was averred by him that he was a Doctorate of Medicine in Gastroenterology and fully qualified and eligible to hold and man the post of Assistant Professor in Gastroenterology, and that by all means he has a superior claim to be appointed on the post, being senior to DrChowdry and more meritorious than him.
The court replied the 'core" question whether a Lecturer belonging to ST category, or, for that matter, any category, appointed in the Medical Education Department on direct recruitment basis against the category post pursuant to a specified advertisement notification, can claim, or be granted, notional benefit to his appointment from a retrospective date of the issue of a previous notification, in negative.