In a decision that has raised brows, the principal of Government Medical College, Amritsar, has imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each on 75 postgraduate students for not attending a programme on hepatitis at the hospital recently.
Even the three doctors who were doing emergency duty at the time have not been spared. According to the roster, around 20 doctors were on different duties.
Principal Dr Santokh Singh had organised a function on World Hepatitis Day on July 28 from 1pm to 2pm. A circular was issued asking all postgraduate students to attend the function.
Two days ago, the principal issued a list of 75 doctors who had either failed to attend the function or had reached the venue late. These doctors are from across the specialties and have not been given a chance to explain their absence.
A large number of doctors who couldn’t attend the function were doing emergency as well as OPD duty at the time. According to the circular, nobody has been spared.
All 75 doctors have been asked to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 each in two days, despite there being no such rule that empowers government colleges to impose such fines on students. A senior official associated with medical education said such practices are resorted to by private colleges, not government ones.
When contacted, Dr Santokh Singh said it was an act of indiscipline on the part of students. When asked why even the students on emergency duty were not spared, he said, “It was mandatory for everyone, also for those on emergency duty.” When asked as to how the emergency would have functioned without the doctors, he said, “When we had asked them to attend the function, they should have.”
However, medical education and research secretary Husan Lal said patients are the priority, adding, “Imposing fine on doctors doing emergency duty is unacceptable and wrong.” When asked if a college principal is empowered to impose fine on students to discipline them, he said, “I am not sure about the rule and will look into it.”