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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

High Court paves way for filling vacancies in PHCs


For earlier news, please see Extension of Joining Time Illegal - Chennai High Court

Relaxation granted for candidates selected in 2006 held invalid

MADURAI: The Madras High Court has paved the way for filling 469 vacancies of Assistant Surgeon in primary health centres (PHCs) across the State as it held invalid the relaxation granted for candidates selected in 2006 to join duty after completing their post graduation/postgraduate diploma course.

Dismissing a batch of writ appeals filed before the Madurai Bench by a few doctors, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Nagamuthu, said the then Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine was not empowered to grant such relaxation.

The Judges said the post of Medical Officer in primary health centres could not be kept vacant till the appellants completed their post-graduation.
On a priority basis

Filling of vacancies had to be done by the State on a priority basis as it was the paramount duty of the government to look after the health of the general public, especially the poor and the needy.
Effect on public

“In every Government Hospital, doctors shall be present at all times to attend to emergency cases. If the posts of doctor are not filled in time, the general public will be largely affected and their right to health, which forms part of basic human right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, will be seriously prejudiced,” the Bench observed.

It pointed out that the advertisement calling for applications to the post of Assistant Surgeon had categorically stated that the selected candidates should join duty within 30 days and no extension would be granted if they were undergoing postgraduate courses.

“Having applied for selection by accepting the said conditions, it is not open for the appellants to seek extension of time,” the Judges ruled.

The appellants approached the court after the Director of Public Health issued a notice on November 9, 2007, directing them to report for duty within seven days failing which their names would be removed from the selection list.

Justice K. Chandru dismissed all the writ petitions and hence the present writ appeals.

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