Doc Sacked For FB Post Reinstated After Apology

Jammu—A Government Medical College (GMC) doctor, who was terminated last week over a Facebook post, was reinstated on Tuesday after he tendered an apology, GMC principal Sunanda Raina said.

Dr Amit Kumar, posted as registrar (Anaesthesia) in GMC Jammu, was sacked last week for violating a government order that bars its employees from using social media for any activity which may be “prejudicial” to the state.

“The decision to reinstate the doctor was taken after Kumar apologised for violating the government order,” Raina told PTI.

She said Kumar, along with senior leaders of the resident doctors association, met her and later the disciplinary panel decided to revoke the earlier order and reinstate him.

Kumar said he was informed by the principal that the order had been revoked.“I am very happy. I was asked to join my duties from tomorrow (Tuesday) morning,” he said.

The government had in December last year barred its employees from using their social media accounts for any “political activity” by amending the conduct rules, drawing strong condemnation from different quarters and opposition parties.

According to the statutory regulatory order (SRO), no government employee shall engage in any criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the state.

Earlier in the day, Raina defended her decision to terminate the services of the doctor and said it was done to maintain discipline in the institute.

The association of resident doctors at the GMC Jammu had threatened an agitation if the termination order of the doctor was not revoked by Tuesday.

Kumar, who was also present at the press conference, said he was not aware of the gag order and had already submitted an unconditional apology.

Being the head of the institute, Raina had said there was no pressure from the government for her decision. “I have my own administration and have to see the discipline,” she added.

Kumar had questioned the inauguration of a lift by health minister Bhali Bhagat in the hospital this month and commented to a post saying “General public (was) being fooled openly and proudly — it was already installed and was malfunctioning”.

Raina said the lift was installed in the college when it started functioning 25 years ago.

“The lift was declared not repairable in 2015-16 and accordingly, it was replaced by a new lift at a cost of Rs 53.75 lakh after proper administrative approval and open tendering,” she said.

Kumar, who is also vice-president of the doctors association, said he was not aware of the service conduct rules and the social media gag order on government employees.

“I have written an unconditional apology. My intention was not to provoke anyone or malign anyone’s image or dishonour the highest chair (minister) in this department,” he said.

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