Court says it is not that only police officers are killed on duty
Holding that “doctors also risk their lives while performing their duties”, the Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to pay a compensation of over Rs 1.9 crore to the wife of the doctor who was shot dead while attending to patients at the Community Health Centre in Jaspur on April 20, 2016.
A bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari directed the government to pay compensation to Sarita Singh, wife of deceased doctor Sunil Kumar, besides granting them extraordinary pension under Uttar Pradesh Civil Services (Extraordinary Pension) (First Amendment) Rules, 1981.
The court’s order comes on a petition moved by Sarita through advocate Tapan Singh contending that the Chief Minister had agreed to pay compensation of Rs 50 lakh but till date, only a sum of Rs 1 lakh has been paid to the petitioner.
The bench disposed of the petition with following directions:
In the instant case, Dr Sunil Kumar was working at the Community Health Centre at Jaspur (U.S. Nagar) as Paediatrician. He was shot dead April 20 in the Centre by two motorcycle-borne men—Manik Rathi and Shubham Tyagi—to avenge the death of Rathi’s minor daughter.
Advocate Tapan relied upon a study conducted by the Indian Medical Association, whereby it was found that 75 per cent of the doctors across the country has faced some sort of physical violence in connection with the discharge of their duties.
The court also noted that a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, USA, showed that 21 percent of registered nurses and nursing students were reported to be physically assaulted and over 50 percent were reported to be verbally abused. 12 percent of Emergency Department Nurses experienced physical violence and 59 percent experienced verbal abuse.
He informed the court that despite the government approving a proposal for compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Kumar’s widow, only Rs 1 lakh has been paid and his elder son was given the compassionate appointment as lecturer in Computer Science Department of State Polytechnic, Dehradun, on a contractual basis.
Petitioner stressed on the fact that Kumar was set to retire in October 2025, and was due to be promoted to the post of Chief Medical Officer.
Doctor’s work involves risk
The government, on the other hand, took the stand that the benefit of Uttar Pradesh Civil Servants (Extraordinary Pension) Rules, 1981, is granted to an incumbent who risks his life in service and the petitioner was not entitled to extraordinary pension because the work of a doctor does not fall under the definition of work in which the life is put at risk.
It said a monthly pension of Rs 76,409 is being paid to the petitioner.
The high court, however, held otherwise.
“It was the duty cast upon the State Government to protect the life of petitioner’s husband. He was on duty as per the averments made in the petition. Killing a doctor, while on duty, amounts to a negation of rule of law.
“Petitioner’s husband died while discharging his official duties. Thus, the petitioner was entitled to an extraordinary pension as per the Uttar Pradesh Civil Services (Extraordinary Pension) Rules, 1981, as amended from time to time. The stand taken by the respondent-State that the Rules are not applicable is not tenable. The purpose of framing these Rules is to help the family after the death of an employee on duty,” it said.
It is not that only police officers are killed on duty
The bench went on to add, “The Court can take judicial note of the fact that Doctors also risk their lives while performing their duties. In the present case, the petitioner’s husband, in no manner, was responsible for the death of relatives of assailants. It is not that only the police officers are killed during discharge of official duties. The pensionary provisions are required to be construed liberally. Thus, the doctors or for that matter any government employee whose life is under threat while discharging the duties will be covered within the ambit of Uttar Pradesh Civil Services (Extraordinary Pension) (First Amendment) Rules, 1981.
“It is the duty cast upon the State Government to protect the Medicare Service Persons and Institutions throughout the State of Uttarakhand,” it said.
Read the Judgment Here