Jammu: In a far-reaching punitive move against “truant medicos” to demonstrate its resolve against “indiscipline and dereliction of duty”, J&K Government on Monday terminated the services of 112 doctors for having “resorted to unauthorised absence from duties.”
These doctors included 100 Medical Officers, 6 Consultants (surgeons), 2 Dental Surgeons and four B-Grade Specialists. Their services were terminated through four separate orders issued by J&K Health and Medical Education Department.
Out of 112 doctors terminated also included 43 doctors of Health and Family Welfare Department and twelve doctors, who “resorted to unauthorised absence from duties during their period of probation.”
Hinting that the government would not stop here only, the Principal Secretary GAD & Health and Medical Education Department Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, however, maintained that there were many more cases pending on the same analogy and they would also meet the same fate in the days to come.
“Those cases are also being examined and action will be taken against them too,” he said, while responding to Greater Kashmir queries on this account.
“Today’s list comprised the cases which came to the fore immediately. Precisely, they were readily available- fully fit for action. Now we’ll dig out other cases which have been left out. And I think that hundreds of such cases will come out in the days to come. Exercise to dig out those cases and compile them for action has already been initiated. In the next couple of months, we’ll have another round (of initiating disciplinary action as per rules against them),” Dwivedi said.
“See, this action is a clear message from the government side. It’s a two-fold message. One- If you are not interested in doing your duties, you should be sincere enough to take voluntary retirement and leave the post, making way for the others. Second but the most important message is that dereliction of duty, in the shape of being absent, will not be tolerated, at all. It will entail action for sure,” he stated.
“This message from the government is obviously for the doctors, who are taking their jobs very lightly as they presume that the government may not take any action against them; so after some years they will come back and join duties to claim all kinds of benefits. Now this will not be allowed and they should better understand that they are not on a morally high pedestal on this account and the government action is well justified and in the larger interests of citizens who suffer on account of shortage of doctors in the hospitals,” he elaborately explained the rationale behind the move.
Giving a backgrounder to this big move in response to another query by Greater Kashmir Dwivedi said, “You are aware that I’ve taken over the (additional) charge of the Department just a few days back. Immediately after taking over (the charge), I did this exercise to find out how many such doctors were there – who had not been working for a long time. So when I got the details of these cases, which formed a long list of such doctors, I said that probably the best action should be to terminate their services.”
“Otherwise what happens is that these people stay away for many years and suddenly when they lose jobs abroad or want to change, they come back and join here and then start asking for all benefits for intermediary period also. This is basically a loss to the government exchequer. It is better to terminate them. Automatically, then, these vacancies will be available to be filled up and we can appoint fresh lot (medicos) who are interested to work on these posts. This long list of cases came to the fore when I compiled all pending cases. I compiled it and took action. We’re finding more cases also,” he stated.
The orders issued by Dwivedi stated that the “Director, Health Services Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir had intimated that these doctors resorted to un-authorized absence from duties.”
The orders mentioned that the Director Health Services Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir and in some cases even the Administrative Department had served notices to these doctors, wherein, an opportunity was given to them to resume their duties immediately with the caution that otherwise disciplinary action would be initiated against them as warranted under rules.
“However, these doctors neither replied to notice nor reported back for duties,” orders stated quoting Rule 8(i) of the J&K Civil Service Leave Rules, 1979 which reads as “Leave cannot be claimed as a matter of right.”
The termination orders also quoted Rule 25 (2) of J&K Civil Services Leave Rules, 1979 which reads as “Willful absence from duty after the expiry of leave renders a Government servant liable to disciplinary action”; Rule 21(1) of the Jammu & Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 which provides that “At any time before the expiry of the prescribed period of probation, the appointing authority may suspend the probation of a probationer and discharge him from the service for want of vacancy; and at its discretion terminate the probation of a probationer and discharge him from the service”; Rule 4 of the Jammu and Kashmir Probationer (Condition of Services, pay and Allowances) and Fixation of Tenure Rules, 2020 with regard to “Suspension or discharge during probation.”
Orders also referred to Article 113 of J&K Civil Services, Regulations Volume-I prescribing that “a Government servant after five years of continuous absence on leave is considered to be out of State employment.”
“The cases of these doctors have been examined thoroughly in the department in view of the rule position governing the subject and it has been found that since these doctors have not resumed their duties despite notices issued to them and this act on their part is a voluntary act and they are liable to be discharged from services on account of unauthorized absence from duties,” the orders mentioned.
Quoting all related rules, the orders stated, “The services of these unauthorizedly absent doctors are hereby terminated and they are discharged from the Government service with effect from the dates specified.”