Sacking absent doctors

Earlier this week, the government terminated the services of 112 doctors for remaining on unauthorised absence from duty.

Of the lot, 12 doctors were terminated for their unauthorised absence during probation and 100 others for staying away from work for the duration of two to 17 years.

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.

While one hopes that statutory requirements have been fulfilled including giving notice in advance and providing them opportunity of being heard, the government has provided two-fold message—one that an employee should be sincere enough to take voluntary retirement and leave the post to make way for the others and another that the dereliction of duty resorting to absenteeism, will not be tolerated.

Instead of serving the people, remaining absent from duties for a period ranging between two to seventeen years is quite regrettable and unacceptable. Such defiant and reckless conduct even during the crucial probation period by them is wrong. By not even reporting for duties after being selected and appointed is even more erroneous.

All these years these doctors remained in service of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and they did not seek formal relieving by tendering resignation etc which is against the law.

While the government took similar action in the past and in one occasion 100 employees were terminated from services on similar grounds, the administration’s action surely prevented some employees from coming back after remaining absent for years and joining duties to claim all kinds of benefits. . Also importantly the larger interests of peoples suffer on account of shortage of doctors in the hospitals and there is no justification for remaining absent without any valid cause. Tolerating such a behavior is basically a loss to the government exchequer as well as denying better health services to the poor patients.

The government action also means that vacancies will be available to be filled up and new doctors can be appointed to serve the people.

The administration is also expected to continue work towards better health care facilities for the people and in the process also provide an improved work atmosphere for the doctors in government hospitals to stop brain drain.

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