Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday imposed a stay on the order issued by the government to remove the director of the prestigious Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Hospital after a few doctors were captured live conducting private practice against government norms.
“No reasons appear to have been given to support the (removal) order. Fairness has to be founded on reasons. The government could have justified its action by stating that some inquiry was pending against him (director),” held Justice M.K. Hanjura, reports the Hindu.
He quoted philosopher Voltaire “the sentiment of justice is so natural, so universally acquired by all mankind, that it seems to be independent of all law, all party, all religion,” the judge observed: “The (government) order does not seem to be reasonable or in public interest. The order (issued on January 6) stays till the next date of hearing. However, this order shall be subject to objections from other side.”
The order has created a sense of discomfort in the Mehbooba Mufti government, which had ordered the removal of three senior doctors and the director SKIMS Dr A.G. Ahanger, from their posts after a TV Channel carried out the sting operation. The operation clearing showed them practising privately in Srinagar and also taking a non-practising allowance.
Earlier in the week, the dismissal of the Shere-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science’s Director Dr A. G. Ahangar’s had the Residents Doctors Association (RDA) at Kashmir’s premier healthcare center, up in arms against the management’s decision. The resentment of the doctors surfaced in the form of an indefinite strike, on Tuesday.
While condemning the director’s attachment, RDA spokesperson told Rising Kashmir that the Government removed Dr Ahangar based on a few media reports, ” without actually conducting an investigation into the actual facts of the case.
“A committee should have been framed so that the facts could have been known better. We feel humiliated by this approach of the government,” the RDA said.
With 590 residents working in SKIMS, doctors in emergencies, daycare oncology and ICU services remained present on duty in their respective emergency departments of the premier institute. “We do not want patients to suffer as such,” the striking doctors said.
According to them, Director SKIMS held the highest chair of the medical fraternity in Jammu and Kashmir and it, therefore, it could not be disrespected in any way.
“It seems an unwarranted knee-jerk response to a media trial without any proper investigations,” they alleged.
“If sacking of the director was the appropriate response, then the Chief Minister and Health Minister should also be dealt in the same manner and should be held accountable,” they had added.
According to the RDA, the director has been a “soft target’ to compensate for system inadequacies. Medical professionals are not to be sacrificed to cover system shortcomings and for gaining political clout, the association had stated.
The striking professionals had demanded immediate reinstatement of the SKIMS director with full honour and dignity. They said, if the authorities did not comply with the demand, the strike would continue reports Rising Kashmir.