Goa’s hero doctor, govt spar over time off during Covid-19; court seeks amicable solution
Dr Gomes returned home on July 4 after completing 98 days of uninterrupted duty. He was given a hero’s welcome by the locals near his home on the outskirts of Panaji.Updated: Jul 26, 2020 13:06 IST
The Bombay high court bench in Goa has asked the state government and Dr Edwin Gomes, who pioneered the state’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, to amicably settle the issue the issue of his pending leaves.
The court made the remark while hearing a petition filed by the wife of Dr Gomes where she claimed that he was not being granted leave nor being relieved from duties.
Dr Gomes, who helped set up the state’s dedicated Covid-19 facility at the ESI Hospital in Margao in South Goa and headed the hospital for close to three months, was granted three weeks’ time off but urged to resume after the time elapsed.
“[The parties agree that] it will be in public interest if the Secretary, Health and Dr Edwin Gomes have a meeting by video conference to discuss certain issues relating to Covid-19 situation including the issues raised. We also feel that these matters can be best sorted out at the earliest, so that the focus is not shifted and continues to be on combating the unfortunate situation we all are in, on account of the pandemic,” the bench of Justices M S Sonak and M S Jawalkar said.
“We trust that both Dr Gomes as well as the health cecretary will approach this matter from this perspective and refrain from treating this matter as some adversarial litigation. Taking into consideration the yeoman services rendered by Dr Gomes during this difficult period and the valuable experience he has gained, we are sure that his suggestions will be most valuable to the state administration, which is also engaged very actively in combating this unfortunate situation,” the court said.
Dr Gomes returned home on July 4 after completing 98 days of uninterrupted duty. He was given a hero’s welcome by the locals near his home on the outskirts of Panaji.
A few days later, he tested positive for the novel coronavirus forcing the state to grant him more time off. However, having subsequently recovered, the state has been urging him to rejoin the duty.
His wife, in the petition before the court, claimed that the health minister made a statement that Dr Edwin will be kept for Covid-19 duties until the pandemic is over as he is doing a good job.
“We will appreciate it if the meeting between Dr Gomes and the health secretary is held at the earliest and in any case, within a period of one week from today. We are sure that the initiative for this meeting will be taken by the health secretary and necessary intimation will be given to Dr Gomes and further, all assistance will also be rendered to Dr Gomes to attend this meeting through video conferencing,” the court said.