Srinagar: In a significant development, Dr AG Ahangar, the newly-appointed Director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, here has cautioned the SKIMS medicos and paramedics to refrain from private practice or that strict action would be taken against the offenders liable of being booked for criminal offence.
Director SKIMS has come out with a detailed public notice to apprise the people about the menace of private practice and who all could be booked for the offence. He has also sought public support.
The notice has also released names of all doctors working at SKIMS, asking the people, to verify if any of them resorts to private practice. Names of over 200 doctors, including those who have already been under scanner for private practice have been published.
“The private practice by any medical or Paramedical staff member of SKIMS has been treated as cognizable offence under section-21 of the J&K State Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) by virtue of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2002 effective from 10th July 2001. Section-5 of the prevention of corruption Act Samvat-2006 has also been amended by addition of Sub-section ‘2A’,” reads the notification.
Elaborating the notification, said: “(1-A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) a member of medical or para-medical staff of the SKIMS Srinagar shall be deemed to have committed the offence of criminal misconduct if he/she resorts to private practice in any form manner.”
The notification added even those harboring private practice were liable to imprisonment of up to three years.
“As per Section (2-A) whoever obits or aids in the commission of criminal misconduct under sub-section (1-A) or allows his premises or Nursing Home to be used for private practice in contravention of the said sub-section shall be , punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine, which may extend up to Rs 10,000 provided that the SKIMS Srinagar publish names and particulars of its medical and para-staff annually in at least two local Dailies.”
Dr Ahangar in the notification said given that fact that the SKIMS faculty is being given non-practicing allowance, they should refrain from any such malpractice.
“ Whereas, law and prudence demand that no Faculty, Resident Doctor or Paramedical Staff Member of SKlMS would resort to private practice in-terms of above detailed provisions of Law irrespective of whether he/she is granted non-practicing allowance or not,” the notification reads.
“Now, therefore, it is impressed upon all concerned and general public if any faculty members of SKIMS whose names and particulars are detailed in Annexure A appended with this notice is seen resorting to private practice, the same should be brought to the notice of Competent Authority/State Vigilance Organization/ Complaint Cell SKIMS. So that appropriate action is taken against the delinquent doctor under laws,” reads the notification.
Official sources said the Director SKIMS issued the notification after discussing the matter threadbare with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the chairperson of the SKIMS Governing Body. Source said the closed-door meeting on the issue lasted for over an hour.
“It was on the instructions of the chairperson (CM) that such a bold notification has finally been issued,” said a source in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, in know of the development, asking not to be named.
Officials the Chief Minister has asked the Chief Vigilance Commissioner to launch a major crackdown on the private practice while names of some of the “chronic offenders” have been handed over to the VOK.
Though the private practice has emerged as a major debate in the Valley, many said the government crackdown is ill-timed.
“Presently Kashmir is facing worst-ever humanitarian crises when besieged seven odd people have been confined to their homes for over a month and thousands others lie wounded in hospitals. Issuance of such notification at his critical juncture when medical emergency has been declared amounts to human rights abuse of denying patient the right to get treated from his or her doctor of choice,” said a member of the SKIMS Governing Body.
“There needs to be a strict check on menace of private practice but this is just not the right time to tighten the noose. It is a sheer case of misplaced priorities where the SKIMS Governing Body in general has not been taken into confidence before issuance of such diktat,” the member added.
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