SRO-202: HC Admits Plea Against 5-Year Probation To Medical Officers

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SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has admitted a petition by several medical officers, challenging some Rules of SRO-202 including completion of five years probation period and denial of increment to them for as many years before their services are fully regularized. 

A bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magray also ordered that the medical officers whose posting has been made in Ladakh region, shall on account of closure of the road, submit their joining report before the Director Health Services Kashmir in view of the time limit fixed for their joining up to  February 4.  

After hearing senior advocate Z A Shah on behalf of medical officers and state’s additional advocate general Shah Amir, the court observed that a prima facie case for admission was made out and 

The court issued a notice to the government for filing its response to the petition.  

The medical officers who have been appointed in terms of government order (No. 49-HME of 2019), dated January 14, have approached the court, challenging Rule 8, 9 and 10 of SRO 202 dated 30 June 2015. 

The aggrieved medicos also seek directions for scarping the government order (no. 49-HME of 2019 dated 14 January 2019) in so far as it provides conditions and probation for a period of five years and posting for the period. 

The medical officers also seek a direction for fixing their period of probation in the same manner as has been fixed for the medical officers appointed as per J&K Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules 2013.

The aggrieved medical officers have questioned the rules 8, 9, and 10 of SRO 202 of 2015 and their pay fixation as well as denial of increment, saying these rules are in contravention of the J&K Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules .

Advocate Z A Shah submitted that the application of SRO 202 of 2015 has reference to governing the process and the mode of selection while as the appointment is made as per the J&K Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules.  

He said the rules under challenge with reference to fixation of probation and posting are against the application of the J&K Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules, 2013, which is the basic service to which the medical officers belong to. 

By the application of the rules, he said, the medical officers are treated differently though being a class similar to the Medical Officers belonging to J&K Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules, 2013. 

“The application of the rules 8, 9 and 10 and the denial of the pay scale and increments amounts to violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the constitution,” he said. 

He further submitted that the government while undertaking the exercise of posting of these Medical Officers has not applied the principle of “closer to residence” and has adopted an arbitrary method of posting while placing some at far off places like Kargil, etc. 

Shah Amir, the additional advocate general, submitted that the appointment of the medical officers is strictly governed by the application of the SRO 202 of 2015 in terms whereof their probation is fixed for five years and the posting period is also five years. 

If the medical officers do not join at their respective places of posting, Amir said that the patient care in the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be affected because the government needs the doctors badly in the rural areas where they are placed.

Meanwhile, the court ordered that the medical officers whose posting has been made in Ladakh region, shall on account of closure of the Road to Ladakh, submit their joining report before the Director Health Services Kashmir in view of the time limit fixed for their joining up to 4.2.2019. “However, as and when the Road to Ladakh shall open, these Medical Officers/petitioners shall be placed at their respective places of posting in Ladakh region,” the court said, adding respondents shall also reconsider posting of the petitioners as per their convenience as far as possible.

 

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