New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday, directed the centres in the state of Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka to pay the salaries of doctors and healthcare workers occupied with treatment of coronavirus infected patients.
The Supreme Court told the centre that they cannot be ‘helpless’ in following the directions. The top court directed the Centre to release necessary details of the salaries of doctors and other healthcare workers working in the curcial time of the pandemic.
The bench members, Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah also asked the Centre to clarify the deduction of salaries of the health workers for treating their necessary quarantine period as leave.
The bench told Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor Genral who appeared for the Centre, that they can’t be helpless. The bench also asked SG to take steps if the states aren’t complying with the orders of the Central government.
“If the states are not complying with the directions and orders of the Central government, you are not helpless. You have to ensure that your order is implemented. You have got the power under the Disaster Management Act. You can take steps also,” Mehta was told.
Mehta said that after the directions issued by the court dated June 17, necessary descions and orders were issued in every state concerning to the salaries of the doctors and healthcare workers.
Mehta also said that many states have accordingly complied with the directives, but few like Maharashtra, Punjab, Tripura and Karnataka have not yet paid salaries to the doctors and healthcare workers timely.
The petition was filed by a private doctor Dr. Arushi Jain who raised questions upon the decision of May 15 that 14-day quarantine period was not mandatory for the doctors.
Dr. Jain, in her petition, also alleged that the frontline healthcare workers indulged in treatment of COVID-19 are not being paid salaries in time and their wages were being cut.
Mehta answered upon the allegations and said, “period can’t be treated as leave” and necessary decisions will be taken accordingly. He also said that the Centre will also take immediate and necessary action upon this issue.
Previously, the Centre told the apex court that the circular released on May 15, focused upon the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will also be modified and the clause of non-mandatory quarantine period for the doctors and healthcare workers will be removed.