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A doctor can’t shirk Covid duty: Himachal HC

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SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Monday reminded a government doctor, who had challenged the order of his deputation to a makeshift Covid-19 hospital, that in the garb of self-unwillingness to serve, he cannot be permitted to shirk his responsibilities.

“This tendency has to be dealt and curbed with an iron fist,” ruled a division bench comprising Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Chander Bhusan Barowalia, while dismissing a petition filed by Vishal Koundal, who was shifted to a makeshift Covid hospital in Una from Kangra.

In the plea, Koundal had said that he suffered accidental injuries in 2018 and was unable to serve at the place of deputation.

“The petitioner has failed to realise the health workers in overcrowded hospitals, the policemen and other frontline workers who are already beset with overwhelming load of Covid-19 patients and these workers are exhausted from almost an year of restless fighting against the pandemic,” the bench observed.

The court also said that the state is currently fighting the grimmest battle against Covid-19, which is nothing short of a disaster culminating in mass deaths and, therefore, it is imperative that the frontline workers are made to work on a rotation basis or else the health system is likely to collapse with the sudden and drastic surge in Covid-19 cases.

The bench said the petitioner was trying to escape from the duties and responsibilities that have now been assigned to him as there “is no contemporaneous records to show the petitioner is in any manner incapacitated to serve at the transferred station and if the petitioner is fit enough to render his services in Kangra district, why he cannot serve at the Covid makeshift hospital in Una district”.

“A government servant is a holder of a status and that cannot be made depending on his will. Once a person accepts the status as per the rules, he no longer remains a simple individual, but becomes an integral part of governance and at times even the face of the government,” the bench noted.

The court also said that in the garb of self-unwillingness to serve, the petitioner cannot be permitted to shirk his duties and responsibilities and this tendency has to be dealt and curbed with an iron fist.



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