Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has lashed out at Health and Family Welfare Department over “apathetic and indifferent approach” in implementing its January 1, 2013 order, essentially aimed to do away with “plague” of adhocism in the department.
“The irresistible conclusion one may draw is that adhocism plague the Health and Family Welfare Department from top to the bottom,” a special Division Bench of Justices Hasnain Massodi and Janak Raj Kotwal said after observing non-compliance of its January 1, 2013 order directing the department to fill up the post of Director Health Services Kashmir and other posts at higher level strictly in accordance with J&K Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Services Recruitment Rules 2006.
“Repeated requests, reminders and directions to respondents to implement (the) order in letter and spirit, have gone waste and unresponded,” the bench said. “We are short of words to express our dismay and displeasure over apathetic and indifferent approach shown by the respondents in implementing the order.”
“One and quarter year by any standard is sufficient to substantively fill up three posts of Directors, eight posts of Deputy Directors and 48 posts of CMOs.
“The respondents have not taken even initial steps towards regularization in the department,” the bench said.
In terms of Recruitment Rules, three posts of Director Health Services/Family Welfare are to be filed from amongst eight deputy Directors and A-Grade Specialists. The Deputy Director posts in turn are to be filled up from the officers satisfying eligibility from amongst 48 CMOs, Superintendents of Hospitals, Assistant Directors and Director TB Demonstration Centre. The posts of Senior Consultants (A-grade Specialists) are to be filled up from B-Grade Specialists.
Similarly, the B-Grade Specialist posts, which form feeding cadre for 23 senior Consultants (A-Grade Specialists) are yet to be filled up on substantive basis.
However, the bench observed that all the Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) service posts from CMO and B-Grade Specialists up to Director are manned by officers on stop gap, ad-hoc arrangement.
At this point, senior Additional Advocate General J A Kawoosa, representing the department, insisted that a number of proposals are in the pipeline and that some of them are with J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC).
However, advocate Azahur-ul-Amin, appearing for JKPSC, stated that almost all the proposals submitted by the department were deficient on essential details except one relating to regularization of an Assistant Director as Deputy Director.
“However, details of the proposals forwarded to the Commission till date in connection with implementation of January 1, 2013 order, are not given in any statements; so is the case with JKPSC as the Commission is not clear as regards the proposals received from Health and Family Welfare Department and under consideration as on date,” the court said.
Advocate S R Husain, representing the petitioner Dr Mohammad Ashraf, also reiterated that the matter was being delayed “wilfully” to benefit a single individual. Even as he did not name the individual, his clear reference was towards Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, who presently mans the post of Director Health Services Kashmir.
As soon Ashraf made the submission, the bench said that it was not inclined to comment on this aspect of the case till full details regarding all the proposals and the decision taken by the JKPSC was not made available to it.
“However, we expect respondents not to proceed with regularization selectively and use the exercise to benefit one officer at the cost of his colleagues, senior to him and with a better claim,” the bench added.
Subsequently, the court directed government to file a fresh status report, indicating all the proposals forwarded to JKPSC in connection with the implementation of order on January 1, 2013.
“The information must relate to confirmation of Doctors/Consultants at all levels—Deputy Director, Senior Consultants, CMOs, Superintendents of Hospitals, B-Grade Specialists, Director TB Demonstration Centre, Assistant Directors. It must also indicate communication, if any, received from JKPSC including deficiencies in such proposals identified by the Commission as also steps taken to make good the deficiencies,” the court said.
The court also asked JKPSC to file a detailed status report indicating the proposal received from Health and Family Welfare Department regarding confirmation of officers (Directors, Deputy Directors, senior Consultants, CMOs etc) at different levels.
The court also directed the respondents as well as Commissioner/Secretary to Government Health and Medical Department to explain delay in identifying the deficiencies and in responding to communications received in this connection, “so that responsibility is fixed and the erring officers/officials dealt with in accordance with law.”
“It is only after information is made available that we would be in a position to deal with the request of (senior AAG) Kawoosa for dispensing with the presence of Commissioner/Secretary to Government Health and Medical Department to explain delay in implementation of the January 1, 2013” the bench said and posted the case for further consideration on April 11.