Government Doctors Abandoning Duties And Developing Private Practice: Madras HC Directs State To Constitute 'Monitoring Committee' [Read Judgment]
“The prevailing practice as of now from amongst few Doctors are that after gaining experience by utilising the public resources and infrastructural facilities, abandoning the public employments by simultaneously developing their private practice just for their personal enrichment.”
Taking serious note of Government Doctors who abandon their duties for developing their private practice and 'personal enrichment', the Madras High Court has directed the State Government to constitute a 'Monitoring Committee' to supervise the attendance and assess the performance of Government Doctors as well as regarding the maintenance of Government Medical Hospitals as per the prescribed standards.
Justice SM Subramaniam made some serious observations while dismissing a writ petition filed by a Government doctor who wanted to get relieved from the service. In his case, the court observed that that acceptance of resignation by the competent authority is not an automatic one and it has discretion either to accept the resignation or to reject the same.
The judge expressed concern about the tendency of Government doctors, who after gaining experience and after exploiting all the Government resources at free of cost for acquiring their Speciality qualifications and practical experiences, leave their job for their personal enrichment.The judge said:
"When the Doctors had undergone the Speciality Courses or PG Courses, at the cost of the taxpayers' money and by providing an undertaking and after gaining experience from the Government Hospitals, they are bound to serve for the public and they have to show devotion to their duty as Medical Professionals"
The court also observed that there are frequent complaints that the Government Doctors are developing their private practice by neglecting the public duty. It was also observed that some doctors are abandoning their job either by way of unauthorised absence or by submitting resignation or voluntary retirement applications and those circumstances are contrary to the provisions of the Service Conditions Act as well as certain conducts are denoted as "misconduct" under the Medical Council of India Regulations.
Decent medical treatment is a fundamental right of the citizen
The court also added that decent medical treatment is a fundamental right of the citizen. The court said that it is not possible for a common poor man or the middle income group families to get treatment from reputed corporate hospital, and thus they are dependent on Government hospital. The court added:
"The Government Doctors are gaining rich experiences at the cost of public money and even through public themselves, who all are attending Government Hospitals. Poor men are being used as 'Guinea Pig' for learning. Poor man's dead body is dissected and provided for learning. The Government resources and the life of poor men are under the mercy of these Government Doctors. If no adequate measures are taken to monitor the quality of treatment and performances are undertaken, the State is failing in its duty to uphold the right to life ensured to the citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India."
The bench also has directed the state to recover adequate compensation from the Government Doctors, who all are violating the terms and conditions of their services with reference to the expenditures met out from the public money for acquiring P.G. Degrees, Speciality Degrees etc.