The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association today informed the Madras High Court of its decision to call off its over two-week stir demanding restoration of 50 per cent reservation for them in admission to postgraduate medical courses in the state. The TNGDA had yesterday announced withdrawal of the strike after the high court took a serious view of it and hoped they would call it off and return to duty to continue their service.
A vacation bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and V Parthiban had expressed its displeasure and hoped the strike would be called off and doctors would return to duty to continue their service “while hearing a lawyer’s plea, seeking a direction to the TNGDA to roll it back”. It had also directed the association to file an affidavit.
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The government doctors in Tamil Nadu had boycotted work demanding 50 per cent reservation for them in admission to postgraduate medical courses in the state. It had said that if at all they were aggrieved, they could very well resort to the machinery provided under different statutory provisions to redress their grievances.
The issue came to the fore after a single judge had on April 17 ruled that incentive marks to in-service candidates in PG admissions would have to be based on the Medical Council of India (MCI) regulation and not as per state government prospectus. A division bench had on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on appeals challenging the single judge order and arguments are now on before a third judge on the matter.
As per MCI rules, 50 per cent of the medical seats should be allocated to all-India quota while the rest can be retained by the state. Of this, 25 per cent of seats should be for the in-service candidates.
The government had submitted that award of the incentive marks to in-service candidates was being made for the past 35 years to encourage doctors to serve people in remote, hilly and difficult areas and was not violative of the MCI norms. When the matter came up today, the association in its affidavit said they had called off the strike and those who are protesting would be participating only after duty hours.
The bench asked the TNGDA’s counsel if there was any proposal to revive the strike after the judgement (referring to the PG courses admission which has been referred to a third judge). It then questioned the special government pleader about the decision of other doctors’ associations to the strike.
“If they have not withdrawn the strike, what is the action you are going to take?” it asked, to which the SGP said they were sincerely trying to settle the issue amicably. After hearing the arguments, the bench said, “The affidavit filed by the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association is taken on record. They are stating they are striking only after duty hours without affecting the treatment to patients.”
“This court hopes that patient treatment will be taken care of by the doctors without any problem in future.As far as the doctors who are not reporting to duty, it is for the state to take action against them in accordance with law.”