MESSAGE UPDATE 3rd Sept. 2018
‘PM PROPOSES - MOHFW DISPOSES’ : SHOULD DOCTORS RETIRE AT 65 OR 62 OR SOME AT 62 AND REST AT 65?
Government is the biggest litigant; it is there in almost all cases in Central Administrative Tribunals which is choked with cases majority of which are outcomes of faulty decisions but executive fails to remedy them in time. This has prompted the PMO and the Law Ministry to advise government departments to try and bring litigation to the minimum. In fact the government departments are asked to send monthly report on total number of court cases and those settled out of court through administrative initiative.
But our own Health Ministry does not seem to be on the same page as the PMO or Law Ministry. The delay in dispensation of justice has emboldened the bureaucracy to become an autocracy. Such a view has emerged following discussions among members of DADWA’s think-tank. The latest and most visible example in support of this view is the novel way in which the Health Ministry has reversed the announcement made by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in May 2016 to implemented a uniform retirement age for CHS doctors at 65 years ‘to retain the talent’ and ‘to make more doctors available for clinical duties’.
Soon after this announcement by the PM, the mandarins of Health Ministry came out with an OM in July 2016 that ‘services of CHS doctors would be placed in the non–administrative positions after the age of 62 years with a change of their designation’. They did so without any study, without assessing impact and without any consultation with the stake-holders before formulating this change. If is rumored that this move was aimed to remove all top doctors holding key SAG and HAG Posts in MOHFW including the DGHS Dr. Jagdish Prasad who was is the eyes of the storm for going to CAT against the said OM of July 2016. The Court subsequently passed a judgment in his favor, that mere attaining the age of 62 is not a disqualification for him to be removed from a duty post. The court also said that in case government wished to remove him then it should create an equivalent post for him.
The alarmed bureaucracy has since gone into offensive and made frequent changes in the fundamental rules just to put up a brave front but DADWA is confident that these would not stand the judicial scrutiny for being patently unfair. The insecurity of the MOHFW is also palpable as it has reportedly started pressurizing senior doctors into withdrawing their court cases. Last straw is that now they want doctors to sign their retirement order themselves as an option that is being thrust upon them vide the OM dated 13-8-2018. Obviously doctors have no choice but to knock the doors of the CAT.
DADWA executive, concerned with these developments, especially when some of its members were asked by Delhi Government to relinquish charge of their duty posts as MS, DMS and Heads of Departments just by because they turned 62 decided to go to Court. DADWA filed a case in CAT and got a favorable judgment but that was never implemented. A contempt case is pending in CAT and we intent to file an appeal in Delhi High Court also.
Meanwhile the government has appealed against the CAT judgment favoring Dr. Jagdish Prasad in Delhi High Court. DADWA decided to implead in this case on 5th July 2018 when Hon’ble High Court allowed DADWA to argue but later on the next date on 30-7-2018 it granted a stay on the CAT judgment against which DADWA filed an SLP in Supreme Court. The Apex Court accepted the SLP but declined to intervene as the impugned order of Delhi High Court was an interim one and next date was on 17th August. This vindicated DADWA’s stand in the matter and it hopes the Government too would take note of this
Notification dated 11-8-2018 has smartly tried to put the onus of decision about their retirement and change of place and type of work on the affected doctors. The move tries to take away the benefits of past service and to reduce their status and takes away their right to approach the courts since it is an option unless they file it under protest
Dizzy due to its immense power, the government is unable to see the injustice being done by it to the senior most doctors of the cadre. It holds the power to transfer or remove if someone is not doing one’s job well but such kind of a class action is uncalled for in our democracy. Truth will reveal itself one day, so we have been taught by our teachers.
Friends for DADWA, it is not a fight; but a duty to look into the welfare of our members as best as possible; this includes their status, dignity and honor. These are requirements of our profession to work as leaders of the health team. A concept recognized by the WHO and the MOHFW. As a leader we must carry out all tasks and functions required to accomplish an objective, which is health and hospital administration. Every CHS Officer is a civil servant and has performed both clinical and administrative duties with equal ease. Every duty post of CHS/DHS has an administrative component, something that the MOHFW seems to have forgotten. Under the garb of flawed arguments they wish to reduce our status and rank which is unconstitutional and thus illegal. As doctors we wish to remain as truthful and upright towards our work and duties as possible. If government remains insensitive then there is no death of opportunity outside government. By the time this message board is updated at least three eminent doctors have put in their papers for VRS and many more are observing
Government seems to be intoxicated with its powers and unable to think rationally. It has become like Goliath, the super-machine that became so powerful as to gain full control of the world and usurped the rights of humans who was finally brought down by a small boy David.
It is also reiterated the above policy amounts to forced retirement of CHS/DHS cadre officers at 62 when the retirement age has been enhanced to 65. It is a clear case for review by the cabinet and judicial scrutiny. The myth deliberately perpetrated by the MOHFW that health administration is not part of duties of service doctors must be countered. Those have done MD (CHA), MHA and whose duty requires them to function as health and hospital administrators are very much needed for the system and it is absurd that performing people, awarded people are removed just by turning 62. There are a number of national level experts who been rendered useless by such a move. It is time our Health Minister wakes up and takes note of what is happening under his nose
Driven to the wall, DADWA has taken steps to take up the matter to CAT, Delhi High Court and even Supreme Court. JACSDO too in a taken by its Chairman Dr. Rajiv Sood on 21-8-2018 in RML Hospital has conveyed that it will file a case in CAT against the offending Notifications dated 11-8-2018 and the ones dated 22-3-2017 and 05-1-2018. Together we all stand a good chance as government has not been able to convince the courts that its intentions are driven solely by public interest.
Let’s not forget that the bureaucracy draws strength from our fears, our divisions, poor camaraderie and belief of some of us who think they are more equal than others. But things are changing and it is time that state that doctors are equal partners in running the health system of the country. Bureaucracy should realize they too have to deliver; and doctors are their best ambassadors and link between the government and the people. Acute shortage of doctors in the country. It is a disaster in the making and the attention of the MOHFW is on how to make senior and experienced doctors relinquish the charge of their duty posts and force them to work under their juniors.
It is time the MOHFW does a rethink on its approach and strategy to manage the affairs of health in general and of the service doctors in particular.
Many of our senior colleagues in their present positions may not like to confront the government but they are advised to exercise caution while sighing on the dotted lines in the option form. In this regard, DADWA has sought legal advice.
Since none of the affected doctors has sought to give the option, they should file the same under protest. No employee can be retired per force without following the laid down procedure considering that the age of retirement remains 65 as per notification of May 2016 that is not extinguished.
Secondly, the government is yet to take decision on said options that are stated to be subject to vacancy, administrative feasibility and approval of competent authority etc. meaning thereby that there is no surety that the option will be honored then why the option? DADWA is of the view that the notification of 31st May 2016 is valid and that retirement age of doctors is 65 and that the other notifications are impugned as the OA’s in this regard are pending. So we must state in the option that the option is subject to decision of the courts.
Accordingly the members should,
a. Study the pros and cons of giving or not giving the options
b. If you chose to exercise the option as per dictate of the MOHFW, please do so as per option form format available in the download section of this website “www.dadwa.com” incorporating some amends as per legal advice of our advocates. Members are advised to modify the same as they deem fit keeping in mind their aspirations from service, growth, career progression and promotions etc.
DADWA is a facilitator only and members are not bound by its advice.
In case one has filed his/her option already, it should be re-submitted with a covering letter stating that your previous option may be treated as withdrawn and replaced by the fresh one as per format enclosed.
The option should be addressed to the Secretary Health, MOHFW GOI and please don’t forget to take receipt of the letter from the Dak section of your office. Send an advance copy to the Secretary H&FW by speed post.
Vote of Thanks: DADWA gratefully acknowledges the support in terms of time, money and inputs from so many of you, who have given us the philosophy to deal with the matter, prompted us to take up the matter to courts and take a principled stand in the matter. Surely justice would be done one day and we would win. The only defense government has is that “it is my power and I will do it what I feel is right”. Time will tell it this is correct and who will have the last laugh. At out stage of life we have nothing to lose other than some money in terms of legal costs.
Last but not the least please be liberal in your contributions to DADWA, in form of time, money or both. Our two cases regarding TA are going on in CAT and a stay has been granted against recovery of TA. Order is also available in download section. The last hearing was on 20th August 2018 in the court of Registrar where government was given one last opportunity to file its counter reply.
- Secretary DADWA
PS: We are grateful to our well wishers from outside Delhi who have stood with us and supported with their financial contribution. Please use the views section of this website to exchange your opinions and suggestions.
Please contribute generously to DADWA’s legal corpus. We accept only contributions by Cheque only payable to “Delhi Admn. Doctors’ Welfare Association” and sent to our treasurer “Dr. B.K. Dey at “45, Harit Niketan, West Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi-110034” Contact no. 9999882644