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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Venugopal adjusts strike period against extra hours of duty

Medicos will get salary, need not do additional internship

  • Suspension of six employees revoked
  • Resident doctors move Supreme Court

    NEW DELHI: P. Venugopal, Director of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences here, on Friday issued an order for adjustment of the resident doctors' strike period from May 15 to 31 against extra hours of duty performed by members of the Resident Doctors' Association.

    As per this order, medicos who were on strike at the AIIMS during the recent anti-reservation agitation would be paid their salary for the period and they need not do additional internship.

    Meanwhile, the suspension of six Class III/IV employees has been revoked after an enquiry committee gave them a clean chit.

    The employees were suspended on November 24, 2004 for striking work within a 500-metre radius of the AIIMS boundary, which is against the orders of the Delhi High Court. The suspensions were revoked "with immediate effect" on June 28 by a letter issued by the Director.

    The six members of the AIIMS employees' union had struck work demanding that an enquiry committee be set up to look into the death of the son of an AIIMS employee.

    Speaking about the latest move by the AIIMS administration, a faculty member said: "It is being seen as an effort by the Director to increase the headcount in his camp."

    `No work, no pay circular'

    Legal Correspondent reports:

    Earlier in the day, resident doctors of two medical colleges here challenged in the Supreme Court the June 12 circular issued by the Director, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, that medicos would not be entitled to salary during the strike period May 15-31.

    The circular said "no work means no pay." For "any resident doctor and others who neither worked nor applied for leave during this period, pay does not accrue and, therefore, cannot be disbursed."

    In their plea, the Resident Doctors Association of Maulana Azad Medical College and the AIIMS said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 28 gave an assurance that no action would be taken against the agitating students, interns and resident doctors by way of break in service, termination, pay deduction and legal notice.

    Further, on May 31 the Additional Solicitor-General made a submission in the court that "in case, the strikes, etc, are called off, as directed, we are very sure the Government shall appropriately consider the feelings of doctors or students, and shall not take any punitive action."

    The applicant said the AIIMS Registrar on June 5 wrote to the Government saying salaries for the doctors might be released. In response, the Director of the Ministry issued the circular that said they would not be entitled to salary for the strike period.

    Apart from pay deduction, the leave entitlement of interns, postgraduate students and resident doctors was deducted for the period of the agitation. As a result, the doctors and students were forced to extend their internship and would be rendered ineligible to appear for postgraduate entrance examinations, which consequence would have severe repercussions on their future prospects, the applicant said.

    The applicant sought a direction to the government to ensure that salaries were not deducted and absence during May 14-June 6 was condoned.

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