Chennai: The Madras high court has restrained the authorities from transferring the government medical officers from their present posts in government colleges pursuant to a circular issued by the Director of Medical Education.
Justice V.Parthiban granted the interim injunction in respect of a batch of petitions from Dr. B. Saravanapriya and Dr. Nimmi Sivakumar, which sought to quash the circular, which directed the compulsory transfer of 860 medical officers in cadre of assistant professors/senior resident/junior resident/tutor under DME's control.
Senior counsel P.Wilson appearing for the petitioners submitted that the two petitioners were presently working as tutors in the department of forensic medicine in Government Medical College in Coimbatore. Over the past several years various doctors serving as medical officers in the state have been appointed to the post of tutor/junior resident/senior resident/assistant professor under the control of the DME in various government medical colleges and hospitals across the state. The authorities did not fix cadre strength for each of these posts nor did they maintain post wise estimate of vacancies every year but only maintained a combined number of posts, he added.
Wilson said in February 2019, for the first time, by a GO, the government wanted to re-structure the Directorate by fixing the number of posts of professor, associate professor, tutor/junior resident/senior resident/assistant professor in various colleges. Accordingly, the government revised the number these posts. A total of 6886 permanent posts were therefore sanctioned under the DME. These posts were distributed to various government medical colleges. The government thereafter undertook a phased counseling process to transfer and promote the medical officers to these newly restructured posts. While so, the DME has issued the circular dated May24, 2019 whereby the DME has directed the compulsory transfer of 860 medical officers in the cadre of assistant professor/senior resident/junior resident. Tutor under its control. In the circular it was stated that the DME has identified medical officers working in 'excess of posts' sanctioned by the February 2019 G.O, he added. Wilson contended that even in the circular the reasons why the medical officers have been termed as 'in excess of posts' have not been mentioned.
When the petitioners undertook manual verification of the exercise done, they were shocked to find several illegalities. The entire exercise undertaken by the DME was arbitrary, whimsical, capricious and without any objective criteria and has resulted in hardship to the petitioners as well as serving doctors.
The DME has not even considered the plight of patient care. In case of Madurai medical college, which was a multi super specialty hospital with a reputed cardiology department, five out of nine cardiologists have been labeled as excess and directed compulsory transfer. This move would cripple the cardiology department. The compulsory transfer was virtually done as a punishment and cannot be imposed so indiscriminately, he added....