Agreeing with the petitioner that hospitals cannot treat the quarantine period with leaves, Solicitor General Mehta told the court that the government would look into the matter and ensure that such things do not take place.
The Apex court on Friday expressed unhappiness over the delay in the disbursement of salaries to the health workers and instructed the Central government to ensure that the salaries of the frontline health workers involved in Covid-19 fight are disbursed on time. Representing the government in the court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that despite the instructions issued by the central government, four states have not complied with the directive and not paid the salaries, according to an Indian Express report.
Mehta said that the state of Maharashtra, Punjab, Tripura and Karnataka are the states which have not paid the salaries of the health workers. Responding to Mehta’s submission the bench told Mehta that the central government is not helpless and has got to ensure that its orders are implemented.
“You are not helpless. You have to see to it that your order is implemented. You have also got powers under the Disaster Management Act. You can take steps also,” Justice M R Shah told Mehta. The issue was being heard by a three-judge bench of the top court namely Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah.
Taking note of one of the petitions filed by the United Resident Doctors Association (URDA) which had complained that some hospitals were treating the quarantine period of health workers at par with leaves and deducting the salary of health workers, the court asked the central government to look into the matter. Agreeing with the petitioner that hospitals cannot treat the quarantine period with leaves, Solicitor General Mehta told the court that the government would look into the matter and ensure that such things do not take place.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Dr Arushi Jain who had objected to the May 15 notification issued by the government according to which the 14 day quarantine was not mandatory for doctors. Solicitor General Mehta told the court that the government will modify its notification and a full quarantine period will be provided to the doctors and other health workers. The SC will now hear the matter on August 10.
Earlier, on June 17 the top court had issued directions to the central government to ask all states and Union Territories to disburse the salaries of health workers. It had also said that the violation of the directive must be treated as an offence under the Disaster Management Act read with Indian Penal Code provisions. The direction had come after a doctor had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court.