New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Union Government to pass appropriate order to the states for the payment of salaries and necessary quarantine facilities to the doctors and healthcare professionals, engaged in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
‘The Centre should pass orders to the states for necessary release of salaries, necessary quarantine facilities for doctors and all health care professionals working in this pandemic,” a bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said, while hearing a petition filed by Dr Arushi Jain.
‘Can’t the state High Courts monitor these issues?,’ the SC asked.
To this, Solicitor General KK Venugopal replied that the Central governmment has issued a circular, saying that salaries must be paid to the doctors. The state Chief Secretaries must ensure it. Any violation will attract punishment, he said.
K V Vishwanathan, advocate for the petitioner, however, clarified to the Apex Court that the Centre was unclear in its process. He sought a clear picture as to how the Centre would play the salaries and other necessary quarantine facilities to doctors and health care professionals.
Non-payment of salaries to doctors, healthcare workers should be made a criminal offence, the Centre undertook before the Supreme Court.
The government also agrees to modify its May 15 order, doing away with mandatory quarantine of all healthcare workers. New order will ensure a minimum seven-day period of all healthcare workers in treatment of COVID patients, it added.
The Centre should submit compliance in four weeks, the Apex Court said.
The Centre told the Court that it will issue a direction to all states under the Disaster Management Act to timely pay salaries and remunerations to all doctors and health workers. Any breach would be a criminal offence, it added.