Covid 19 latest: Non payment of salaries to doctors, nurses made a criminal offence
The union government has declared the act of withholding salaries of doctors and nurses engaged in the battle against Covid-19 an offence under the disaster management act (DMA) through an order released on Thursday afternoon.
The order issued by the health ministry follows a Supreme Court order on Wednesday directing the centre to criminalise the non-payment of dues on time to doctors and nurses and sought issuance of guidelines making it mandatory for states to make adequate quarantine and isolation facilities available for medical professionals. The centre had promised to issue the order within a day.
“It is hereby directed that the States and Union Territory Administration should ensure that salaries of doctors and health workers doing Coved-19 related duty shall be released on time,” the order said.
The Supreme Court had issued the order yesterday while hearing a doctor’s petition which alleged that medical professionals were not being paid in several regions and were also not provided with facilities to isolate themselves which was a big risk to their families if they were to get infected.
The petition had also approached the government last week and flagged the problems related to salaries and the safety of medical workers’ families apart from insufficient PPE kits, and long working hours.
The home ministry order released today says state governments were responsible for the implementation of the order, violation of which will invite action against concerned hospitals and/or authorities.
“The Chief Secretary of the States/UTs should ensure compliance of this order by all concerned, violation of which will be treated as an offence under the Disaster Management Act read with the Indian Penal Code, and action taken accordingly against defaulting hospitals/institutions/authorities.”
Section 188 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) prescribes punishment for disobeying orders passed by a public servant.
The Supreme Court had last week asked the centre to take care of corona warriors at the forefront of the country’s containment efforts and likened the present situation with a “war” and medical professionals as “soldiers”, who it said couldn’t be kept unhappy.