The high court has sought the government's response to a petition filed by some medical officers challenging certain rules of SRO-202, including completion of five years probation period, and denial of increment to them.
A bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magray also ordered that the medical officers whose posting has been made in Ladakh region, shall, on account of closure of the road, submit their joining report before the director health services Kashmir up to February 4.
After hearing senior advocate Z A Shah on behalf of medical officers and state's additional advocate general Shah Amir, the court observed that a prima-facie case for admission is made out. The court issued a notice to the government for filing its response to the petition.
The medical officers who have been appointed in terms of government order number 49-HME of 2019, dated January 14, have approached the court, challenging rule 8, 9 and 10 of SRO 202 dated 30 June 2015.
The aggrieved doctors also seek directions for scarping the government order number 49-HME of 2019 dated 14 January 2019 insofar as it provides conditions and probation for a period of five years and posting for the period.
The medical officers also seek a direction for fixing their period of probation in the same manner as has been fixed for the medical officers appointed as per J&K health and family welfare (gazetted) service recruitment rules 2013.
Advocate Z A Shah submitted that the application of SRO 202 of 2015 has reference to governing the process and the mode of selection while as the appointment is made as per the J&K health and family welfare (gazetted) service recruitment rules.
He said the rules under challenge with reference to fixation of probation and posting are against the application of the J&K health and family welfare (gazetted) service recruitment rules, 2013, which is the basic service to which the medical officers belong to.
By the application of the rules, he said, the medical officers are treated differently though being a class similar to the medical officers belonging to J&K health and family welfare (gazetted) service recruitment rules, 2013.
"The application of the rules 8, 9 and 10 and the denial of the pay scale and increments amounts to violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the constitution," he said.
He further submitted that the government while undertaking the exercise of posting of these medical officers has not applied the principle of "closer to residence" and has adopted an "arbitrary method" of posting while placing some at far off places like Kargil.
Shah Amir, the additional advocate general, submitted that the appointment of the medical officers is strictly governed by the application of the SRO 202 of 2015 in terms whereof their probation is fixed for five years and the posting period is also five years.
If the medical officers do not join at their respective places of posting, Amir said that the patient care in the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be affected because the government needs the doctors badly in the rural areas where they are placed.