An anti-doctors verdict that will be a lesson to all govt servants

Published: 05:43 PM, 27 Apr, 2020
An anti-doctors verdict that will be a lesson to all govt servants
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Doctors approached the Lahore High Court with the complaint that they have not been provided personal protection equipment (PPE). While knocking at the doors of justice they bypassed all departmental tiers available to them.

The Chief Justice dismissed the petition with costs, and observed that if the departmental authority considers that the conduct of the petitioners/doctors was against the norms of civil service, it will be at liberty to proceed against them.

The decision is supportive of the government measures and amounts to a heavy doze to the doctors.  

Although the court has opened doors for departmental action against the doctors, the government is not likely to proceed against them as such a move could exacerbate the already bad situation created by coronavirus.

While throwing out the doctors’ petition Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan observed that the doctors being frontline fighters against Covid-19 pandemic need to exhibit maturity and patience as any misstatement or overreaction on their part can cause a devastating impact to the society.

“If petitioners being doctors or any other government employees feel that they are being thrown in a duty which they are not bound to do, they have multiple options, including resignation, at their discretion, but would not be allowed to scandalize the government institutions,” the chief justice said in a five-page written order.

It’s a good advice from the head of the provincial judiciary. If they have been thrown in a duty that they are not bound to perform, resignation is also an option for them.

On the other hand, the government report said none of the petitioners had been assigned any coronavirus-related duty and PPE available at the stores of all DHQs were being provided to medical officers and other paramedical staff, if any duty relating to coronavirus was assigned to them.

The order defended the government as it says that even most developed nations have not been able to provide all safety gears to all the persons. Despite all that, the order said, it is matter of fact that in this fight against an unseen enemy, our government within its given resources is already taking all possible steps for safety of all the men in field.

“We must not forget that doctors are also civil servants and like all other employees they also owe a responsibility towards state. If for all good reasons, we keep the doctors on highest pedestal, at the same time we cannot allow all and sundry to play havoc in the society by spreading chaos through unauthentic information or leveling allegations against the state or its institutions,” holds the CJ.

He further notes that the doctors have a chain in their departmental hierarchy right from medical superintendents, at district, divisional and provincial levels to voice their grievances.

Without having recourse to the available channels for redress of their grievances, government servants cannot directly approach this court by filing constitutional petitions, the chief justice remarks declaring that the writ petition by the doctors is not maintainable.

The LHC judgment will certainly discourage those who knock at the doors of courts as a shortcut, without exercising other options available to them.

As a matter of fact, there is a mindset in our society that takes frivolous matters to courts, as a result of which judges’ valuable time is wasted and important matters on the causes list are left over. This adds to the agony of genuine petitioners.

Lawyers are also an important factor behind this situation. Just to charge their fees they don’t give their clients the right advice.

Such lawyers get money but at the same time they have to face a lot of embarrassment in courtrooms when judges reject their petitions.

Categories : Opinion
Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.