JAIPUR: As medical services in Rajasthan remained paralysed for the eleventh day, the state Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf said the government would not take any action against doctors who had joined duty by December 26, but would follow the Rajasthan High Court orders and act against doctors who had failed to join the duty.
Further, yet another blow came towards Dr Ajay Choudhary, the man supposedly leading the strike as the Rajasthan Civil Service Appellate Tribunal rejected a petition of Rajasthan Medical Officers Association president Ajay Choudhary challenging his transfer order, with a cost of Rs 2 lakh.
The tribunal has also directed the state government to file an FIR against Choudhary for provoking the doctors to strike.The tribunal has directed the cost to be recovered from the salary of Choudhary drawn in the past six months.The bench of members Shravan Sahni and Bannalal has also directed Choudhary to join the duty as per transfer orders by December 29.
The tribunal, while observing that 300 patients have reportedly died during the strike by doctors, has also given directions to file FIRs against the doctors responsible for these deaths.
In his petition, Choudhary prayed for the cancellation of his transfer orders, alleging it to be done out of ill-will.Government counsel Mukul Singhvi said that his transfer was a routine administrative procedure and there was no ill- will.
“Choudhary has served on his previous post for five years and his case was due for transfer. There was no ill-will on the part of the state government in order of transfer of Choudhary…,” Singhvi argued.
Before this, Choudharys plea to seek an interim protection apprehending any action against him, the high court had also rejected his petition stating it inappropriate to pass any direction with the petition pending before the appellate tribunal.
The tribunal had completed hearing in the matter on December 14 and had kept the order reserved.
The tribunal order came a day after the high court gave directions to the state government to take action against the agitating doctors if they do not resume work.
Agitating Rajasthan government doctors met a group of ministers today as part to attempts to resolve an 11-day deadlock over their demands related better work conditions including salary benefits.The meeting was scheduled following Rajasthan High Court directives for action against the doctors who do not resume work by December 26.
“Apprehend the doctors under the law and even under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) 1970,” ordered the High Court.
The doctors’ strike has left medical services paralysed with several deaths reported in different parts of the state. The Congress has claimed that more than a dozen persons have died in Ajmer.
Meanwhile, most doctors have gone underground fearing arrest after the High Court on Monday directed the state government to deal strictly with striking doctors.
The court remained open to hear a PIL filed by Abhinav Sharma, advocate of Rajasthan High Court, who requested the Chief Justice to take up the matter urgently as doctors had called for closure of all kinds of medical services, including private medical hospitals and medicine shops, on December 25.
The doctors’ strike is also reported to have taken political overtones with the Congress party accusing the state administration of instilling fear among the doctors fraternity.
Congress leader Sachin Pilot speaking to media, held the BJP government responsible for the crippling of medical services in Rajasthan.
“The government should leave its adamancy and start a dialogue with doctors to ensure the strike ends at the earliest.
“How can the government be so insensitive? Why can’t it see so many people dying owing to lack of medical services in the state. More than a dozen people have died in Ajmer which speaks a lot about the failed medical services here. However, the state government is yet to listen to the problems of doctors,” he added.
Earlier the All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors’ Association lawyer at a press conference said that the doctors would resume work only after “the vindictive action” against them is stopped.
The lawyer had said the government should withdraw the transfer orders of 12 in-service doctors, including the President of All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors Association.
Initially, the doctors had planned to go on mass leave on December 15 against the transfers, but the government invoked RESMA and started arresting doctors, he had said on behalf of the striking doctors.