437 newly recruited doctors dismissed for not joining duties

Hundreds of medical officers (MOs) appointed recently by the J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) were terminated today as they failed to join their places of posting within the stipulated time.

Government on Thursday evening issued an order (HME 333 of 2019) titled “cancellation of appointment” with names of 437 MOs annexed. While quoting various Government and court directions, the order states that “the appointment in respect of 437 medical officers… shall be deemed to be cancelled ab-initio.”

Another order was issued by health and medical education department with respect to “79 medical officers who have submitted their joining reports but are not physically present at their places of posting”. The order gives them last and final opportunity to resume their duties at their respective places of posting within seven days failing which their probation will be cancelled.

An official in the health department said that the issue of hundreds of doctors not joining in rural hospitals and the consequent problems to rural masses was discussed in a meeting chaired by advisor K Vijay Kumar on Thursday. “The advisor approved the decision to terminate the doctors who had not joined yet,” he said.

Earlier in the day, commissioner secretary health and medical education, Atal Dulloo, said, “Those MOs who have not joined are being terminated.” He said that new selections from the waiting list would be made subsequently to fill the posts that continue to remain vacant. “JKPSC has already started the process of scrutinizing documents of those doctors who were in the waiting list,” he said.

On 14 January this year, Government issued the selection list of 921 medical officers, meant to work in peripheral health sector and reprieve people living in these areas of chronic doctors’ shortage. The selectees were given a time frame to join the places of posting. The joining dates were extended many times owing to inclement weather conditions that posed hindrance in travel to far flung and difficult areas.

During this period, the selectees who were pursuing postgraduate courses or were engaged on registrar or resident posts had sought concession in joining time. However, State government as well as High Court had issued orders that all selected candidates had only one option – “either to join their places of posting or continue with their prior engagements.”

The recruitment of medical officers had been taken up by Government late last year as an answer to lopsided doctor-patient ratio in rural and far flung areas of State. The selection of 921 doctors had been made through a written examination in what was seen as the fastest recruitment drive of J&K.