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Appoint panel to scrutinise Govt hospitals: SC to J&K HC

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to appoint a panel of experts to scrutinise the conditions in government hospitals in the state.
A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the High Court would be at liberty to constitute a committee of medical experts and administrators, which would submit its report on various aspects including infrastructure, staffs, hygiene and availability of medicines at the hospitals.
“We would commend to the High Court the need for constituting a committee of experts to scrutinise the conditions in public-government hospitals in the state. The High Court would be at liberty to constitute a committee of medical experts and administrators.
“The Committee shall submit a report on the state of public-government hospitals in the state…”, the bench said.
The court directed the High Court to scrutinise this report and after hearing relevant stakeholders including the state government, it could issue appropriate directions and ensure compliance of the orders.
“The hospitals which are conducted by the state and by public agencies cater to medical needs of the poorest strata of society. The need for ensuring proper medical care of a requisite standard has to be duly addressed,” the apex court said.
The apex court verdict came on an appeal filed by the state government against the High Court order which prohibited the government doctors from private practice or engaging in self-employment.
Jammu and Kashmir government contended before the apex court that the High Court had passed the “blanket direction” erroneously on the basis that a government circular with regard to restraining teachers from giving tuition classes without prior permission also covered the services of medical practitioners.
The High Court had set aside the circular of August 11, 2005, which was aimed at regulating teachers from private tuition.
The bench, agreed with the contention of state government and said the matter of doctors was not before the High Court and the medical practitioners were governed by separate rules with regard to private practice or self-employment. The apex court set aside the November 18,  2011 order of the High Court and remanded back the matter to it for hearing afresh.
The bench also listed some of the issues to be scrutinised by the committee which include the availability of adequate infrastructure in government hospitals, availability of essential equipment for treatment, availability of staff- medical, para medical and of a supporting nature.
The bench also said the panel would examine the enforcement of conditions of hygiene to secure proper medical treatment facilities and availability of essential medicines.
Petitioners Vichar Kranti International and others had filed a PIL before the High Court challenging the circular of the state government’s education department issued in 2005, prohibiting a government servant from taking up any assignment without the permission of the competent authority.

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