The Bombay High Court on Monday made sharp observations against the management of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Mumbai while hearing a writ petition filed by Dr.Nimish Shah, a radiologist who has been practising for 33 years and was the Head Of Department of Radiology at MGM Hospital before he was relieved from service on June 30, 2020.
Division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice VG Bisht directed the management of MGM Hospital to reinstate Dr.Shah as the Head of Department of Radiology after being informed that there was no other radiologist at the said hospital and the current doctor in charge does not have a degree in Radiology.
The petitioner joined MGM hospital 30 years ago in 1990 and in 1997 he was named the Head of Department by the Department of Radiology at the MGM Hospital. On August 29, 2018, the State of Maharashtra issued a Government Resolution enhancing the age of retirement of Grade 'A' Medical Officers from 58 years to 60 years. In continuation of the said Government Resolution, another Government Resolution dated July 1, 2019 was issued increasing the age of retirement of Grade 'A' Medical Officers from 60 years to 62 years.
In the meeting held on August 30, 2018, in the presence of the Chairman, Committee Board of Management, ESI Scheme, Director, Administration, ESI Scheme, the Medical Superintendent of the MGM Hospital and the Administrative Officer of the MGM Hospital, it was decided that the Govt. Resolution dated August 29, 2018, will be implemented subject to approval by the Board of Management in its ensuing meeting.
Admittedly, no meeting of the Board of Management was held after September 19, 2019, because of which the decision of the Committee of Management remained pending. On June 30, 2020, the Medical Superintendent of the MGM Hospital wrote to the petitioner stating that although the age of retirement of superannuation in respect of the Medical Officers was enhanced from 58 years to 60 years by the MGM Hospital it was subject to post-facto sanction by the Board of Management of the Hospital. However, as the meeting of the Board of Management was not conducted to approve the decision of the Committee of Board of Management, on February 3, 2020, the said Committee decided to retire the petitioner who had attained the age of 58 years on September 30, 2019 and pursuant to the said decision, the petitioner was relieved from his service with immediate effect i.e. from June 30, 2020.
Court enquired from Shankar Revankar, Medical Superintendent, MGM Hospital about the total number of operational beds available at the hospital and whether the Hospital has any Radiologist. Revankar told the bench that there are a total of 60 operational beds at the hospital and he tried to avoid the question regarding the hospital having a radiologist at present by stating "the resident doctor is in-charge".
Court pressed him further and asked whether the resident doctor had a degree in Radiology. His answer was in the negative.
Thus, the bench observed-
"The above revelations by the Medical Superintendent of the Hospital are shocking. The Committee of the Board of Management admittedly implemented the Govt. Resolution dated 29th August, 2018 to enhance the age limit from 58 years to 60 years, subject to the approval of the Board of Management at its next meeting.
More startling is the fact that the Board of Management has not bothered to hold a meeting despite the Medical Superintendent of the Hospital having made a request to do so about three months ago, i.e. even after the Board of Management decided to relieve the Medical Officer/Specialists including the Petitioner from their services."
Court questioned the reasoning behind the decision to relieve the petitioner of his duty despite the hospital not having any Radiologist-
"The MGM Hospital and its Management appear to have crossed all limits, when despite there being no Radiologist in the Hospital, the Petitioner has been informed that he is relieved from his service with immediate effect, only because the Board of Management did not meet for whatever reason/s, and approve the decision pertaining to the enhancement of the age of retirement from 58 years to 60 years, which the Committee of Board of Management had already decided to accept and implement, vide its Circular dated 19th September, 2019, and had in fact implemented the same."
Finally, the bench said-
"In view of the current pandemic, the citizens are going through trying times. However, the doctors who have served the Hospital for several decades, and are ready to continue their services in such difficult times also, are being treated in an obnoxious and callous manner by the Management of the MGM Hospital. The picture that emerges from the above facts is also that the MGM Hospital and its functionaries are not bothered about the well-being of its patients, and just because the Board of Management had no time to meet in the last 10 months, the patients have been left without any Radiologist in the Hospital."
The next date of hearing is July 9.
Case Number: OS-WP-LD-VC-122 of 2020 Case Name: Dr.Nimish Shah Vs. State of Maharashtra & Anr.Coram: SJ Kathawalla & VG Bisht JJCounsel: Adv GS Godbole along with Adv Atharva Dandekar, Adv Rahul Soman for the Petitioner and AGP Jyoti Chavan for the respondent State.
Case Number: OS-WP-LD-VC-122 of 2020
Case Name: Dr.Nimish Shah Vs. State of Maharashtra & Anr.
Coram: SJ Kathawalla & VG Bisht JJ
Counsel: Adv GS Godbole along with Adv Atharva Dandekar, Adv Rahul Soman for the Petitioner and AGP Jyoti Chavan for the respondent State.
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