STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: A Division Bench (DB) of the J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani on Tuesday (through video conferencing) directed Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education J&K Government and Director Health Services Jammu and Secretary J&K PSC to file an affidavit indicating the latest position with regard to the shortage of doctors in public hospitals in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.The court direction came in the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by RTI Activist Balwinder Singh wherein the petitioner has sought directions to the State Government to provide duly sanctioned staff in all the Health Institutions in Jammu Province as out of 259 PHCs, NPHCs and CHCs in the hilly and remote areas of all the Districts of Jammu Province, 184 are running without doctors and lacking the staff including the Medical Officers/Consultants and Para-Medical Staff in Sub-District Hospitals, District Hospitals of entire Jammu Province.When this PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Supriya Chouhan, Irtiza Mushtaq Salaria and Mohd Zulkarnain Chowdhary appearing for the petitioner Balwinder Singh (through virtual mode) submitted that FC Health and Medical Education J&K Government and Director Health Services Jammu in their response have admitted huge deficiencies in the availability of doctors and Health Care Workers in the hospitals. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the record shows that 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 S.S. Ahmed 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 Districts Rajouri and Poonch and submitted that there is shortfall of Doctors/ Consultants in almost all the Public Hospitals/Sub-District Hospitals/Community Health Centres and Dispensaries.
After considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal directed respondents to place the latest position on affidavit before the next date of hearing.Advocate S.S. Ahmed vehemently argued that J&K PSC 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 that a direction be issued to the FC Health and Medical Education Department and J&K PSC to apprise the Court about the aforesaid selection process and also the position with regard to the joining by the doctors who were selected.The Division Bench considered the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed and directed that the State Government through a status report shall inform the Court 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.
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