HC quashes termination of doctor on study leave
Srinagar March 28: The High Court on Wednesday directed that the services of medicos cannot be terminated by the government while pursuing higher studies within or outside the state.
Justice M. K. Hanjura, while hearing the case of a doctor namely Mohammad Iqbal Wani, selected for higher studies in cardiology at Fortis Hospital Mohali in 2012, directed his reinstatement saying “the action of the state has to be fair and transparent. It has to be based on reason and logic”.
The petitioner was required to join the study course up to 9th of March 2012, failing which he would have forfeited his admission.
The selection in the course being a lifetime opportunity for a medico, the petitioner did not want to waste it. He formally filed an application for grant of study leave before the concerned officers of Health and Medical Education Department where he was working as an Assistant Surgeon.
However the administrative indecisiveness forced the doctor, the petitioner, to approach the court which on 08.03.2012 put the respondents (the concerned officers) on notice.
The petitioner was verbally directed by the respondents to join the study course till his case was considered and study leave formally granted in his favour.
The petitioner doctor left the Department and joined the study (DNB) course at Fortis, from where he remained in constant touch with the respondents requesting them to accord sanction to his study leave.
However, to his dismay, the respondents issued an order No. 309-HME of 2013 dated 25.04.2013, directing the termination of his service from the department.
The doctor challenged the termination order on the grounds that similarly situated assistant surgeons who were working with the petitioner in the department of Health were granted study leave for pursuing the DNB course and other courses both within and outside the state and the order of his termination is an arbitrary exercise of jurisdiction by the officers.
The respondents then argued in the court that that the petitioner doctor had not completed the period of his probation at a time when he sought admission in DNB Course and therefore was shown the exit.
The court however held that the official argument pales into insignificance and carries no weight for the reason that on the touchstone of an earlier order by the court in a case of similar nature the case of the petitioner had to be treated on deputation when he was undergoing the said course.
It accordingly quashed his termination order and directed the respondents to allow the petitioner to join back his services as were rendered by him prior to the issuance of the impugned order.
The petitioner shall also be entitled to the consequential benefits, it further directed.