JAMMU, Aug 11: Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani has directed Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education and Director Health Services Jammu and Secretary J&K Public Service Commission to file an affidavit indicating the latest position with regard to the shortage of doctors in the public hospitals in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The direction has been passed in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by RTI activist Balwinder Singh seeking appropriate orders to the Government for providing duly sanctioned staff in all the health institutions in Jammu province as out of 259 PHCs, NPHCs and CHCs in the hilly and remotest areas, 184 are running without doctors and lacking the staff including the Medical Officers and Consultants etc.
When the PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Supriya Chouhan, Irtiza Mushtaq Salaria and Mohd Zulkarnain Chowdhary appearing for the petitioner submitted that Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education and Director Health Services Jammu, in their response, have admitted huge deficiencies in the availability of Doctors and health care workers in the hospitals.
“The last status reports on record were filed on 22nd February, 2019 and 24th April, 2019 and more than a year has passed since then”, Advocate Ahmed said and invited the attention of the Division Bench towards the shortage of Doctors in the remote areas of Jammu province particularly in erstwhile Doda district and Rajouri and Poonch.
“There is shortfall of Doctors/ Consultants in almost all the Sub-District Hospitals/Community Health Centres and Dispensaries”, the counsel for the petitioner further submitted.
After considering the submissions of Advocate S S Ahmed, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal directed the respondents to place the latest position on affidavit before the next date of hearing.
The DB was informed that Public Service Commission conducted selection process to the post of Medical Officers in the year 2019 as well as 2020 but many selected candidates did not join and for this reason the health care is suffering in remote areas of the UT. Advocate Ahmed further submitted, “a direction be issued to the FC Health and Medical Education Department and J&K PSC to apprise the court about the selection process undertaken in the year 2019 as well as 2020 and also the position with regard to the joining by the Doctors who were selected”.
Considering the submissions, the DB that the Government through a status report shall inform about the selection process undertaken in the year 2019 as well as 2020 and in the status report it will also divulge the position with regard to the joining by the Doctors who were selected.