The Bold Voice of J&K

‘Private enterprising’ under the garb of private practice must be checked

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dayasagar By Daya sagar
Will Mehbooba Mufti Government undo the wrongs of earlier popular governments?
When on 7-3-1986 Governor’s Rule was imposed in J&K the private practice by government doctors was banned on 31-5-1986. A writ (668/1986) was filed in J&K HC against the ban but the same was dismissed by a Division Bench on 17-10-1986 since the writ was well contested by the then Government. But after the elected NC government returned to power it issued SRO No. 42 on 23-1-1987 allowing government doctors (in spite of being regular government servants and being under the cover of conduct rules no different than any other government servants that among other conduct rules impresses 24 hour command) to do private practice and where not allowed entitlement for ‘non practicing allowance’ ( NPA). The government order allowing private practice was challenged in J&K High Court questing SRO 42 of 23-1-1987 through a PIL by Sukesh Chander Khajuria. But this time on 14 February, 1994 the PIL was dismissed by J&K High Court observing, “Whether private medical practice should be allowed to doctors in government service or not is a policy matter. Policy decisions have to be taken by the Executive and not by Courts. Courts can only indicate the legal position. The legal position is that the State has power to ban private practice as well to allow it. When it will allow and when it will ban it is for the Government to decide and not for the Courts. In view of the above the writ petition lacks merit and is hereby dismissed but without any order as to costs.” On 20th July 1995 there was a powerful RDX blast in Purani Mandi Jammu where in 21 persons died on the spot and around 47 were reported injured. J&K state was then again under Governor rule. The then State Administrative Council (under the Governor’s Rule/President’s Rule) decided on 21st July 1995 to again ban private practice by government doctors in the light of allegations against some government doctors having committed dereliction of duty on the day of blast. SRO-196 was issued on 4th August 1995 once again banning the private practice.
A popular government again returned in 1996. It was on 14 January 1997 that a local English daily reported the then Health Minister Dr Mustafa Kamal having said ” I have reports that a patient in Srinagar Medical College was given three years waiting for operation” adding ” all this is being done to exert pressure on the government”. The then health minister did say that there was no proposal to lift the ban on private practice by government doctors. But just after three months in the Cabinet meeting held on 14th April 1998 it was decided to again lift the ban on private practice by government doctors. Some conditional bans were only retained and rest removed.
The near ‘commercial enterprising’ continued under the cover of ‘permitted’ private practice. So, orders allowing private practice to government doctors were once again put under question mark in view of the J&K HC order of 25th November 2011 passed on a public interest writ petition filed by Vichar Kranti Manch International. But Government has not been able till date take corrective measures on ground. Of course the affected parties would try all administrative as well as legal courses / resources available to undo any action that government has so far taken or may take in future, therefore , Government must also advocate firmly and actively against any petitions pending in courts – HC-SC / may come up against any corrective measures that government takes as regards checking ‘private enterprising’ in the name of private practice or tuition by some government servants without losing any time as has been happening the past.
(Daya Sagar is a Sr Journalist and a social activist and responses can be mailed at [email protected])

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