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[COVID-19] Quarantine Period Of Doctors & Health Workers Will Be Treated As "On Duty" & Not "On Leave": Centre Tells SC

Sanya Talwar
10 Aug 2020 7:05 AM GMT
[COVID-19] Quarantine Period Of Doctors & Health Workers Will Be Treated As On Duty & Not On Leave: Centre Tells SC
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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that Quarantine Period of doctors and health workers needs to be treated as "on duty" and not "on leave".

"During a hearing held on 31.07.2020 in the Hon'ble Supreme Court in WP(C) No. 759/2020, Dr. Arushi Jain V. UOI & Ors, it was pointed out that in some cases doctors and health workers who are quarantined, their period of quarantine is being treated as on leave. The matter has since been considered by this Ministry in consultation with the DoPT and it has decided that the quarantine period of doctors and health workers needs to be treated as "on duty". All concerned may accordingly be directed to ensure that quarantine period of Doctors and health workers for their duties related to COVID19 shall be treated as "on duty" only" - read the affidavit..



On July 31, the Centre had informed Supreme Court that Delhi, Punjab, Tripura, Karnataka & Maharashtra - have not made timely payment of salaries to healthcare workers despite the Centre' Notification under National Disaster Management Act which lays down strict penal action for non-payment.

The State of Tripura today also informed the Supreme Court that the salaries of health workers were being paid on time. To this a Justice Bhushan-led bench said, "Good" & adjourned the case to next week.

The bench was hearing an IA filed on behalf by United Residents and Doctors Association in a plea filed by Udaipur-based Doctor Arushi Jain seeking suitable accommodation and quarantine facilities for medical workers who are involved in treating of COVID-19 patients.

Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan had informed the Court during the last hearing that doctors in quarantine were not being paid their dues on time & the Court had asked the Centre to look into this issue.

On July 31, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah & R. Subhash Reddy had told the Centre to do the needful so as to ensure that salaries to frontline healthcare workers battling Covid19 are effectuated timely.

In light of this, the Ministry of Health & Family welfare also put on record an affidavit stating that after consulting with the Department of Personnel & Training, it has decided that the quarantine period of doctors and healthcare workers needs to be treated as on duty.

On June 17, Supreme Court had directed the Centre to pass appropriate directions under the Disaster Management Act to the Chief Secretaries of all States/Union Territories to ensure that directions for payment of salaries to doctors and health workers are complied with. It was listed today to take stock of progress made by states in this regard.

Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan had urged the Court to pass directions to ensure accountability from the State Governments in the matter of payment of salaries to doctors and healthcare workers.

On June 12, based on the submission of Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan regarding acquisition of premises in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, for the setting up of proper accommodation, the bench directed the petitioners to hand over their suggestions/concerns to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Further to this, the top court had slammed the government for adopting a lackadaisical approach towards providing accommodation facilities to doctors and health workers at the frontline of Coronavirus crisis. The court also took note of the denial and withholding of their remuneration, directing the Petitioner to convey their suggestions/concerns to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In her PIL, Dr. Jain had drawn the attention of the Court towards certain disturbing news articles coming from all across the country regarding the "harsh, deplorable and hard living conditions of doctors, nurses and support staff who are in the forefront for treating the patients suffering from Covid-19."

United Residents and Doctors Association was represented by Senior Advocate Mr. KV Viswanathan along with Advocates Ms. Mithu Jain, Mr. Mohit Paul and Mr. Arnav Vidyarthi.

Click Here To Read Centre's Order

Click Here To Read 2nd Affidavit Filed by Centre


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